Saturday, February 28, 2009
As I found myself facing another late night/early morning attempting to do this thing I so love to do, I also noticed my mind wandering to the inevitable questions which have hounded me since making the decision to devote less time to writing for others and more time writing original pieces of my own. There I sat, coughing and shivering, not daring to take my temperature for fear of the implications (and realities) inherent in that single, foreboding number, focusing on the increasingly bleary letters on my screen and asking myself,
"Are you out of your freakin' mind!?!?!?!?!"
It was not an easy decision, as a single mother of three, to refocus my attentions and efforts towards my lifelong dreams of becoming a "full time" writer, especially as there is a decided lack of support from family and a sense of overall incredulity among many of my friends. One does not, in the midst of a major illness (g6pd-induced MDS) not to mention putting three children through school (a son at Dartmouth and two daughters at Phillips Exeter Academy) merrily make up her mind to make such a sudden, life-altering decision. After all, it is not as though my ex-husband contributes financially to the children's upbringing in any way; moreover, my family--such as it is--in not the warmest, most supportive group in the world! Any sane person would have probably considered doing what I am doing, laughed uproariously, then gone on to saner, more realistic pursuits--such as rewriting from staggeringly brilliant notes the next staggering dissertation for the next, great scientific mind!
(You all realize that if one of my clients read this particular line, I would be so completely screwed, of course!)
Then, I remembered my childhood and those rare, wondrous moments when the concept, the vastness of writing in order to create, astonish, explore, and comprehend first unfolded before me. Learning that I could pluck specific aspects of life from the mundane ritual of human ritual and capture the grace and beauty, the magnificence and simplicity of human experience on a regular sheet of paper with a regular, stubby little pencil proved simply intoxicating! I--plain little Chance--could reform and reshape those realities into anything I chose to make them be with the power to learn from them...as well as urging others to learn from them as well. I could give life to what would have otherwise perished in those thin, insubstantial tendrils of faded memory. To capture, to preserve, to analyze, describe, and explore: these powers had been granted to me; and I could not help but use them whenever and wherever I could.
More compelling was the notion that there were other people out there--faceless, nameless entities, many of whom I would never know--who were awakening to the same marvelous revelation! To think that I could be a part of them and them a part of me left me flabbergasted.
Now--many,many years later--I find myself rediscovering the awe and mystery of writing, those aspects of creating into which so completely enticed me as a young girl. And, recalling those early days, when after I first revealed to my father my desire to write as an "occupation" I was subjected to a scathingly condescending three-hour lecture which left me curled in a tight ball on the burnt-orange plush of the sectional couch in our living room (filled with images of doom, gloom, and begging my bread on the streets of the naked city), I know with a still, placid, comforting certainty that--other than a mother and a decent human being--there is nothing in this world I would rather be...
Than a writer.