Writing is supposed to be this solitary thing, and while the act of writing certainly is, I think it's easy for people to underestimate the importance friends are to a writer's writing process.
I've been on a streak lately, tearing up the laptop with page after page of holy-shit-worthy prose. I mean, I go back and read what I've written and want to do the touchdown dance. It just flat out kicks ass, and there's no other way to put it. I say this in a completely detached and impersonal way, because when I write, as I've said before, it's a very out-of-body, woo-woo-inducing experience. I frequently have a reaction like "Did I actually write that?" when I go back and re-read my work, because it's too good to have come out of my under-developed little brain. You now how you write a paper that is so well-argued that it just screams at you THIS IS AN A+! Or you go take an exam, and walk out knowing you nailed it. That is the way I feel about this book. Even if it never gets published, it's the type of writing I've always wanted to do--and that makes it feel like a success to me.
But I say this knowing that I am not responsible for this sudden burst of happy-writing mojo. My friends can take the credit for most of it.
A couple of weeks ago, on the way home from Salem, we stopped by my friend Miranda's house--who lives on the outskirts of Boston. She is one of the coolest, most entirely with-it, creatively inspiring people I know. Her house looks like a modern art museum--and she'll casually point to a Guggenheim-worthy painting on the wall. "My mom did that one.... That's my grandfather's.... This one's mine..." Her writing, too, is splendid, and I'm pretty sure she's musically talented as well. In other words, she's legitimate. The real thing. An Artist. What I want to be, and have wanted to be for 33 years.
I've been having a (mostly silent) pity party lately because I really thought I'd be more successful by now. Granted, one has to apply the pads of one's fingers to the keys of one's laptop (to paraphrase) and actually write something for that to occur, and what with my chaotic life in recent years, I haven't done that quite enough. And I was full of shoulda coulda wouldas and excuses, and getting pissier about it by the day. Every time I saw the little tag on my blog "This is what happens when a mom of two tries to write a novel" the word tries would stick in my craw. Was my blog going to end up like some absurdist theater piece where there was a whole lot of talking, but then absolutely nothing happens in the end? Now don't get me wrong--I love absurdist theater. I identify very strongly with absurdist theater. I even like to write absurdist theater. But it was time to get off the merry-go-round.
I was sitting talking to Miranda, complaining (like always) about how hard it was to produce anything ever--and she's sitting there, clucking sympathetically at me, and makes all those nice friend-supporting gestures, but I notice that her eyes are starting to glaze a little. And I hear her (in my head) screaming what I would scream to myself, if I were sitting across the table from me, "Oh just shut up and quit writing then. If it's such an ordeal. Spare us all the soul-sucking drama and take up a new hobby."
And since I have a great deal of respect for Miranda, and want to be
It always good to have friends who are much cooler than you to help you aspire to greatness. But it's also good to have the other kind of friend, too--the friend that makes you feel perfectly cool already. I can't begin to tell you how much something as seemingy insignificant as a blog comment means to me. Obviously blogs are a window into my inner world, and some are more intimate than others, but there are a lot of things I don't write about on here because, honestly, who wants their pathetic whining preserved for posterity in cyberspace? So on days when I'm internally whining, but externally blogging about something else, and I get a comment about how much someone enjoys my blog, or thought something I said was funny, for me, it's the equivalent of carwheels and waving pompoms.
So for those of you cheering me on- Thanks! You inspire me more than you'll ever know.