Writing for me is like releasing poison, or toxins. Not to say my words are poison, but rather if I keep them inside me I am at risk of getting an infection or developing a cancer. I have to let them out.
Also, let’s just begin with the fact that I love to write. Sure, I’m not always up to the task. I’d rather talk, watch a movie, read, cross stitch, pet the cat. But I love doing it. I don’t complain about writer’s block. I could always write about something. It’s just a matter of getting myself to do it. But really, once I’m going, I’m going. I may not be thinking, “This is a masterpiece!” as I do it. I might not want anyone to see it, for the sheer crap quality it sometimes has. But I like to do it.
But to me, writing is like exercise, or a good heart to heart with a friend, or maybe even a hot make out session. I feel better when I do it. I know how to do it. There are other things that are good for me, but I don’t know how to do them in a way that makes me feel better. Reading the Bible, for example. Talk about a confusing, terrifying, mysterious book to read. Where to start? What does it all mean? People say read the Bible like it’s as easy as reading the newspaper. And I struggle to read the newspaper. And I’m a journalist.
I’m not saying writing is my savior. I have a Savior with a capital “S.” But writing is certainly a way to keep me sane—relatively.
My friend Chris told me yesterday she lives in her head and she needs to get out of it. I told her I was available to meet with her to get out of my head immediately. She laughed, and I let her, because I had a feeling she understood. Other people could laugh and think that I was making a joke. That’s another important piece: reading other writing of writers who get it. Writers who, like me, live in their heads, think too much, overanalyze. Writers who say crazy things that don’t sound too crazy to me.
I don’t understand why some of us seem to have more thoughts than others, the way my body seems to produce way more mucus than others do. I see people who are the same age as me, live somewhat similar lives, have the same number of hours and days to think as I do. And from what I understand none of us have the capability of turning our brains off. Yet so many people seem to float through their days, thinking of course, struggling with things, yes, but not driving themselves mad with thoughts, thoughts, thoughts!
So I appreciate writers who get at the nitty gritty, who talk about calling their friends for mentorship, to be talked down. A novel doesn’t usually do that. Fictions are plot. Nonfiction is thought. I’m more of a thinker than a doer. I’ve discovered in adulthood that doing is important to keeping the thinking in check, but even so I will always lean more toward the thinking.
I can enjoy a bubble gum romance movie plot, yes. In fact I’ve been watching way too many chick flicks lately. But those chick flicks have to have realistic, thoughtful dialogue, or one killer line, or humor. When Harry Met Sally—I don’t even care about the romance, honestly. But the humor. The truth. The ridiculous look at us ridiculous people. Gets me every time.
So all this to say that I’ve gotta write. Don’t let the fluid build up inside me to the point that it becomes poison and has to be lanced. Rather gently release the pressure of a newly formed blister with a needle. Can’t feel the needle go through the dead skin, but I know the difference of walking on a foot whose blister has been deflated versus that which is full and painful and pressing. I ward off the lance when I go for the needle first.