Obvious? Yes. Meaningless? Possibly.
For years now I’ve said I want to be a writer and here I am not being one. There’s always been excuses, some valid (carpal tunnel making it impossible to physically write for more than 10 minutes at a time), and some not so valid (being terrified to start writing anything for fear that I would be unable to string together two sentences that even I’d be interested in reading). (Okay, on second thought, that one is valid too, at least it’s something that I have to believe every writer has come up against from time to time.)
And so I’ve written bits and pieces here and there, but haven’t finished an entire piece for probably about a year now. I have an unfinished novel sitting on my desk staring at me, making my anxiety over it grow with each passing day. It’s about 12,000-15,000 words, I can’t remember, maybe more, as I’ve been afraid to open it for quite some time. If I do then it’ll be all that I can think about, but I won’t have the time or physical ability to get down on paper everything that comes into my head, which makes my heart sink. (And so where is this post going…)
I’ve spent the last two years in Florida (a place I swore I’d never return to after one fateful new year’s eve) living with my parents in order to help take care of my father who was stricken with cancer. It has been a time full of indescribable moments of joy when the cancer was said to be gone completely and horrible lows when it returned with a vengeance, ravaged his body, and took his life about six weeks ago. My sister came to visit with her dog. The image of my father sitting in a wheelchair in his hospice room, bony hand shaking as he tried to pet the dog is burned into my mind, haunting my waking and sleeping hours. Watching him deteriorate in this fashion was the kick in the ass necessary to make me say, “I need to write, it doesn’t matter what I have to do in order to make that happen, I need to write.” I have a handful of friends left, fewer family members I’m close to, and all but given up hope on a romantic relationship that would be anything less of a complete disaster. The only thing left that I believe in is writing, scratching out each word slowing and painfully if need be in order to give life to characters, to build worlds.
Words are it for me, they’re all that’s left.
And so at the beginning of June I’m going to only work part time and, for the first time in my adult life, be able to write. I won’t have much money, but as long as I have food and shelter, what else really matters? A pen and paper. A story. That’s it.
In order to write, a writer must…write.