And so I write

I knew what I wanted.

I’ve been a writer since age ten. Initially, I just wanted a career (yes, I was thinking seriously of my future career then) where I could use the old Remington Rand manual typewriter. I loved the way it felt under my fingers, and I savored the letter-arm’s whack against the paper. Even now when I’m feeling completely empty, I type just to hear the clickity-clack of my keyboard.

My parents supported me. My dad is a musician, so they kind of had to by default. “Write,” they told me. “But have a backup.”

That advice has haunted me, still haunts me. It is the thread that floats through my dreams and nightmares. It has brought some of the best things in my life, but also some of the worst. Thanks to two masters degrees, I can now earn gainful ‘backup’ employment as a librarian or college English teacher. I met my husband in grad school, and we have two wonderful children. But grad school brought out the worst of my bipolar, stole my writing for nearly four dull, hideous years, and pushed me into jobs that are not writing.

Before I was five, we used to scrape by on what my Dad sent home from the road, which wasn’t much. After he came off the road and both my parents went to work, our income level reached middle class status. But we were always the scraping-by sort.

Dad job-hopped. His life’s refrain was “I play guitar. I write music. It’s what I do.” I hated those words. And I swore to God I ‘d never be that.

Only I am that.

Exactly that.

Although I have a job, a good one, I am becoming increasingly unemployable. I work online, or I probably would have been fired eons ago. The more contact I have with my employers, the less sure I am what’s going to fly out of my mouth at any given time. I tell the truth, often to my own detriment.

Increasingly, all I can do is write. I’m frantic because I know the odds in this business. But this is what I do. I write. My writing has been deferred deferred deferred until my chest clenches, and my throat closes. Until my face burns and my angry soul rebels, demanding its own time.

And so I write.

Because I know what I want.


remembeRedButtonI’m linking up with this week’s RemembeRed post, Unfulfilled, which asks about an unfulfilled moment in our lives.

I’m also sharing this Awesome with Momma Made it Look Easy


32 thoughts on “And so I write

  1. It is sad to carry that regret and to feel not quite fulfilled. You do write now though… and beautifully. Perhaps we can all still bring our paths a little closer to our original course.

    Thank you for your supportive comment on my husbands’ Disabled Creed. You’re right… I should frame it up, I hadn’t even thought of it. We need to always remember what is important in our lives.

    • Thank you! My path is ultimately (maybe) going where I want now. But it’s taken its toll in blood these last few years, and I’m still only hopeful that it’s going to work out right.

  2. I love this line: “My parents supported me. My dad is a musician, so they kind of had to by default.”
    Ah… the curse of the creatives. I truly think there is some connection between mental illness and creativity. People often choose to forego treatment because they’d rather be uncontrollable and creatively functional than zombified.

    • My mental illness will interfere with my writing in a major way when it gets loose. When I am consumed by the anxiety and fury, I cannot write a thing. I do think it’s a source of inspiration for me, and it makes me see the world in a wholly different way. Perhaps it is even the force that makes me write. But it has to be kept chained at all times. My sister (to whom I was not close) met Hemingway’s end (different method, same result) because no chain was really strong enough for hers.

  3. I am familiar, too, with that feeling in my chest. There is no balancing more difficult for me, a working mom, than the writing and the parenting. So great to find you through the linky.

    • Exactly. I have a very hard time NOT considering my job and my kids distractions from the thing I must be doing. The kids are ultimately enhancements, and I know that. But it is a slog.

  4. Alas, Tom McGrail, the original drummer for Pure Prairie League, commented about Craig Fuller’s choice of work, ” It’s all he can do. ” And so it was for the core writing element of the band. I don’t know. Thank God we’re published. I know so many writers so hungry for recognition on some kind of public level. And yea, it does make a difference when a company, be it record or whatever, will stand behind what you’ve created. And it makes a huge difference when other internationally known writers will stand behind your work-compliment you-perform your work. But I don’t think we have that much on the ants and bees. Some of us were set up from the get-go for certain tasks-and writing and performing music is mine. At one point in my life I thought I could do everything-be great at everything. Writing and performing are taskmasters of the first order however. Whoever set up my initial wiring knew all about borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

  5. Bless you for knowing what you want….keep working.

    Writing is about who and what you are…even those who are not writers should understand that.

    excellent post

    • Thanks, Lance! I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who DO understand. My husband is an astounding support system whose caring and encouragement are a source of strength daily. It sounds like your wife is similar. We will make it by God.

  6. My parents were farmers and I kept expecting them to advise their musician daughter to have a backup. They never did. And now I am part musicianm part writer, and all mom. So I guess it worked out.

    • Your parents are AWESOME. To know what it is to struggle and yet have the courage to tell your kid ‘follow your heart’ must be the single hardest thing a mother or father can say.

  7. Loved the strength in your post and writing style! It’s evident you’ve been a writer for a long time. The corners of my mouth turned up by your parents’ having to support your dream “by default”. We all need to keep the dream going!

  8. I enjoyed writing on the school paper in high school and wanted to be a journalist, Life happened and I fell into banking, marriage and family. It has only been the since 2008 that I have been blogging and the last year that I have been thinking about writing. I now have the time to do it, and if I take it farther than blogs, I do not know, but I know I like the writing.

    • And nothing wrong with blogging if that’s where the writing takes you! I love my blog, and it helps me make my strange little memoirs meaningful for people-besides-my-family! Not to mention, look at the people (Heather Armstrong at dooce, Jen and Jon at Cakewrecks) who have turned their blogs into writing careers!

    • Yes – it’s very much an identity thing. I felt so alien when I couldn’t write. When that well was just … empty. It wasn’t writer’s block, because that implies a hurdle to get over. It was just nothing to write. I wanted things to write. And nothing ever took root. All my ideas unearthed quickly like weeds fighting a tiller.

      When I started Zoloft, the first clue for me that it was working was the grain of a story that wouldn’t leave me alone.

  9. Really great post. I could relate to the following

    Although I have a job, a good one, I am becoming increasingly unemployable. I work online, or I probably would have been fired eons ago. The more contact I have with my employers, the less sure I am what’s going to fly out of my mouth at any given time. I tell the truth, often to my own detriment.

    • I have no capacity for just shutting the hell up. If there’s a problem, I HAVE to be DEALING with it. Which really makes me a stone around any employer’s neck in the long run. Because most companies function on apathy.

  10. This is a great post. I don’t identify as much with the writer aspirations as you or others on the link-up, but I can identify with the relief of getting my thoughts out. I compose stuff all the time in my head, might as well write it down. It makes me feel better, like scratching an itch.

    I’m totally with you on “The more contact I have with my employers, the less sure I am what’s going to fly out of my mouth at any given time. I tell the truth, often to my own detriment.” Thank goodness my boss and I agree on most things. But I really have to watch my mouth around others.

  11. I totally understand the terror involved with the idea of being dependent on writing success — it scares the crap out of me also. I think there’s a value to knowing what you want in life, though. It goes a long way toward dealing with the bumps on the way.

    • That’s very true. I’ve also got to explore how writing can make me money in the age of the internet. I can’t “monetize” my blog while it’s on, but if I were to go over to .org and host myself, I could host ads. I haven’t decided whether or not doing so would be useful at this level of followers etc.

  12. I just think it’s so wonderful that you’ve known from such an early age what you REALLY want to do, you know? It was never that way for me and I think I’m just now finding it. I’m happy to have but still.

    And yes, like Shell said, Keep at it!! 🙂

    • In college, my profs would encourage me not to lock myself into a career track until I was sure of it. And I’d just look at them and smile and nod, because they couldn’t understand that writing wasn’t a choice.

  13. Every moment you are away from your writing, you are building future content…whether it is speaking or not.

    Movingly stated.

    I found you at Momma Made It Look Easy.

    • I would say that most of the time that I’m away from my writing, I’m building future content. But there are jobs that seem like they would enhance writing that actually detract from it. Ones that suck away creative energy and force it to go somewhere else. It’s those things that make me frustrated. Thanks so much for visiting, and thank you for such a kind comment!

For the love of Mike, TALK to me! (Concrit welcome on fiction)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s