Coming to the realization that I don't have to write might help me recover from a little malady known as "self-loathing." Yes, writers tend to be people of both bravado and timidness, a confusing mix to say the least. I know that I simultaneously feel as though I am the smartest and dumbest person in the room. What room? Any room at any given time. This roller coaster personality is in itself exhausting. How to handle the climbs and dips and loops without getting nauseous is anyone's guess. At least the metal bar around my lap is secure. I wouldn't want to end up stuck on the tracks.
So if I can rationally tell myself that I don't have to write, that it's not in my current job description, that I don't have a gun pointed to my temple while sitting in front of a typewriter (which has no ribbon), then why do I still secretly feel as if I do? A part of me thinks it's just the ego grasping onto some kind of meaning or purpose so I do not fall into an existential black hole of despair. Another part of me is more romantic and probably delusional and believes that to be a writer is my destiny.
But I already am a writer. Just by writing. You can be a writer, too, right? I guess anyone can. No, not anyone. Some people are typists. Anyway, just because I am not on some book tour across the Midwest stuck in a dismal Barnes and Noble signing copies of my bestselling teen apocalyptic novel does not mean I'm not a writer. It just means I'm not a wealthy writer. But I've never wanted to be that. Well, sure, wealthy would be awesome. And bestselling would be awesome. And a book tour would be better than sitting in a dark room grading math homework for almost minimum wage. But still. I'm not terribly competitive and I don't write to get rich and famous. I write... Well, I'm not exactly sure why I write. Yes, to chase away the existential demons. Yes, to feel as though I have a purpose. But there has to be something more. Right?
I believe I write to connect. It's not that I even have a story in mind that I wish to tell when I begin to write. I just want to make other people, myself included, less lonely. I don't mind if we are alone; alone is different than lonely. Alone can build muscle and offer healing space. Lonely is the grey leftover snow in January. Lonely doesn't melt right away, it just lingers. I want my writing to reach out across the distances we put between ourselves and everyone and everything else. I want my words to place a hand on a shoulder and offer reassurance. We don't have to go through this -- all of this -- estranged. We don't have to be homeless anymore.
I am finally at home while I am creating. And it is my wish to compose a home out of my words for those outside. Come in and get warm.