“So you want to be a writer?”

For various reasons, I haven’t been writing lately. I have a new(ish) day job, which I go in to early and sometimes stay late at…and occasionally, it’s going into the weekends. I’m enjoying it. It’s a lot of responsibility, and at 39, I’m beginning to feel like an… adult. I’ve rearranged a number of other things in my life, and that’s making me feel more adult as well (Note: NOT “grownup”). I have been genuinely busy, and when I get home, I’m content to have dinner and do laundry and go to bed. All of this has kept me off Twitter, and the web…and from going to shows recently. And…I’m finding I don’t miss any of those things.

Yet I’m also feeling very cut off.

I’ve signed up for the upcoming Playwrights Circle myself, to work on The Ugly Princess, and I’m entering Marathon/Sprint (from Skirts Afire last year) into the Act One program of APN. It seems odd to me that I feel I need to force myself to make time to write – after all, if I need to do that, maybe I don’t want to. I do want to, however, but I had another scary moment this week…the thought entered my head: “what’s the point?”

My wonderful Take a Bite director Amy had agreed to direct The Ugly Princess at the Edmonton Fringe this year…should we get in, which we didn’t. I (briefly) entertained the idea of doing a BYOV anyway – which I swore I would never do again – because the idea of going a year without a show was galling. But in the end it just didn’t pan out. I think “what’s the point?” snowballed from “not enough audience cares for what you write – no one is interested in doing your shows themselves…if people aren’t interested in what you do… you can’t force them.”

I convinced myself I don’t have time to write just now anyway – which I don’t. But it makes me feel hollow that I don’t. Even if no one watches, even if no one else wants to produce my work…I still have ideas and I still want to write them.

Right before I left for Scotland ten (yikes) years ago, I ran across a book of Charles Bukowski’s poetry, Sifting Through the Madness for the Word the Line the Way. The very first poem was titled: “So you want to be a writer?” It was harsh. And honest. Even though I was leaving the country with only a backpack, I spent $40 on that book and brought it with me for that one poem. The basic idea I got from it was: “will you do it anyway? If no one listens, if you’re never published, if you die with this never being heard, will you write anyway?”

Yes. So, I am still a writer. Just writing that makes me feel a bit less hollow.

2 thoughts on ““So you want to be a writer?”

  1. That question you posed at the end — I know how you feel, or I think I do. I had the same talk with myself. Writing takes a lot of time, and if you care about it, it takes a lot of your heart and head space, too. Is it worth it to you to write even if no one ever reads it? For me the answer was yes. 🙂 It’s probably like asking a dancer if they would still dance even if no one ever saw them perform. I think they would say yes, too.

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