Monday, April 4, 2011

Why I (Want to) Write

If I were at peace with my life, I wouldn't be compelled to write. I've always loved writing--I have vivid memories of the luminous black-and-white book of drawings that sparked stories in my 5th-grade fiction workshop--but I'm also a person who dearly loves her free time and (as my husband will tell you) does not like being told what to do. The idea of forcing myself to sit down and write every day intimidates the heck out of me. Even today, just Day 2, I felt the will slowly slipping away as I charged through my day.

It went a little something like this. Wake up (after a full night's sleep--hallelujah! Have I mentioned I'm a raging insomniac?) Ride the bike while watching "The Biggest Loser." Feel inspired by the soaring military music and today's contestant's boxing-induced realization that, yes, even he, is worthy of love. Drive to work, taking in 30 minutes' worth of the stubborn-grey, "it's no longer winter but it still a'int spring" landscape every Minnesotan knows. (It's April 4, for crying out loud. What would it harm to let us see a patch of grass?) Put in 8 hours at the job I've always said is the most rewarding and the most dysfunctional one I've ever had. (I ought to know. I've been there 9 years.) Come home, barely pull together a plate of (unfortunately flavorless) lentil tacos. Spend 3 hours working on something I resent and don't want to talk about right now. Then, finally, at 10:00 p.m., decide whether to a) start the blog or b) turn on some Housewives. (Hey, I'm not proud of it.)

Initially, I went with Option B but only made it 8 minutes before turning it off and starting to write. Okay, I admit it, I actually only managed to pause the TV--somehow comforted by the frozen presence of the frilly, purple-bloused possibility of escapism just in front of my face. Even so, there's a reason I want to do this instead--the harder, more disciplined, inescapably riskier thing. Until this weekend I'd never heard of Tuli Kupferberg, but I very much want to believe what she (he?) had to say. I wasn't messing around when I selected Tuli's quote to anchor this blog.

"When patterns are broken," Tuli evidently said, "new worlds emerge." If I try this experiment, can it really happen to me? I think so, and that's why I'm here, still writing, even on Day 2.

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