Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Inside a writer’s bedroom, late at night

A book on the side table. Novel. Towel drying in the corner. Clothes piled carelessly…

This stinks.

Dust swirls in untraceable patterns on the floor, pushed around by the breeze the fan cuts through the cold air. It has settled on every surface, almost becoming a living breathing entity with a life of its own.

Wow. That was possibly even worse.

The thing that stinks the most about being a writer isn’t the lack of money, or the apparent subconscious necessity to live in appropriate squalor, or the fact that at parties, you’re the one standing off to a side, sipping a beer by yourself, profiling, drawing character maps, gaining inspifuckingration, when you could instead be using your ceaseless wit to impress one of the more geeky looking girls the jocks aren’t going for (ones that you might actually have a chance with), or the fact that the only reason you’re not is a crippling case of l’esprit d’escalier, or even the realisation that ‘English teacher’ is probably your best bet professionally.

It’s not the fact that you’re going to spend entire nights awake, staring at a blank piece of paper or a blinking cursor, waiting for inspiration to creep up on you and slit your throat like an assassin in the dark, or even the fact that half of everything you read will fill you with the insufferable hope that you can do so much better (I mean, come on! A monkey probably could), and the other half will leave you wondering why you didn’t pay more attention in science class and become a doctor or a fucking scumbag lawyer like everyone else in school, all of whom are going to give you that pathetic smile, that sympathetic simper at the reunion, telling you politely that they thought you’d become a senator or something important while secretly laughing at you in their heads and applauding their own life choices.

It’s not even the raging spirals, when you slip over the edge into alcoholism, hoping you’ll write something sad enough to make Nietzsche cry, or when you start popping pills, snorting powder, shooting up, hoping for a trip that shows you something amazing, some universal truth so powerful, nations of people will look up to you for wisdom and guidance, or that low sinking feeling in your gut every time you’re at a rock concert and you see with blinding clarity that these sixteen year-olds are probably better writers now than you will ever be.

And it’s not the cynics, the haters, the spouses who hope telling you gently that it’s not that good will someday snap you out of this stupor and make you get a real job, one that actually puts money on the table. It’s not the publishers, telling you that it’s just not the kind of story that they’re looking for right now, or that some of the themes are too bold and if you could please tone them down a little, maybe they could do something, or that it’s a great story, it really is, but they just can’t seem to find a way to market it that’ll ensure sales that will cover the cost of actually printing it, or even editors who think they know your ideas, your stories, your characters better than you and tell you what to do, what to write, to the point where you have to look really, really hard to recognize even the slightest part of the text as yours.

No. It’s none of that. The thing that stinks the most about being a writer is that someday, you will write something truly magical, truly special, take one look at it, and tell yourself it’s crap.

Friday, 13 January 2012

The Effects of a Modified Insomnia

I have been plagued, of late, with the affliction of the most irregular sleep patterns I have ever had. Result? I'm up at 7 am, on my porch, cup of chai in hand, watching the colony wake up.

Still, I think I could get used to this.