Wanted: Drug that Cures Writing

Wanting leads to trouble and any number of unfortunate things. But as much as I read about the grief brought on by desire and about acceptance and inner peace and all those very grand things, I still have to admit that I want. More to the point–I want to be a published author. That’s it. Not a bestselling author, mind, but published all the same.

Damn my silly soul, but I want to be a good mother, wife, friend, and teacher–and still be a writer. I don’t want a fancy car or a big house or a name brand anything or a hip cool gadget. One of many problems with wanting to be a writer is how selfish it seems. All those other things that would be great to be good at, are encouraged and approved of. Expected. Who says they want to be a bad mother? See? You have to want to be good at these things.

But writer? Artist? Nobody has to be good at these things. If you don’t have time or energy to write, well, really, who cares? You won’t scar your child, frustrate your husband, disappoint your friend, or baffle your students by not writing. The world doesn’t need another self-obsessed, unbalanced writer. There are a hundred more important things than making up stuff and expecting to be paid for it. Honestly, plenty of people would either be relieved or not even notice if you gave up and threw away all those words you’ve already bothered to put on page.

So, why want to be a writer at all? What is the reward for all the effort and all that you take away from family and friends? A book on a shelf? The frustration of it burns right through me as imaginary people struggle to get out–imaginary people escaping my brain, rushing through my heart, hurtling down my arms and trying to squeeze themselves out through my fingertips as if striking letters on the keypad is the only way out. Out now. But it’s crowded in these fingertips and not every character can get out. They want out but wanting is, well, not an ideal state of mind.

The proof of that is the inanity of this post.

But if they had a pill that blocked the wanting-to-be-a-writer chemical flowing in my brain, would I take it? Would you?

5 thoughts on “Wanted: Drug that Cures Writing

  1. Oh, Marta, there seems to be something in the air today. I wrote about writer insanity, a related topic.

    I struggle with the idea that writing fiction is really a useless exercise, if one views it from above. So is reading fiction. If you boil it down to its essence, however, one can see how very basic a need it is for some people. Like food. No one would expect you to deny yourself food. So maybe those people don’t know writing is like food. You can forgive them for their ignorance and continue to feed yourself.

  2. I’m not an overly ambitious sort, either. I just want to get published. I’ve been published years ago, but nothing for over 20 years. And never a novel. But I want. To. Be. Published. Some day.

    It’s okay to want. Wants are dreams with clothes on.

  3. We are so alike in this respect. There were times in the past I probably would have taken the pill, but not now. I’m more comfortable with being selfish.

  4. Art — including the art of writing — connects us (and others) to something larger than ourselves — God, the universe, something. Nope wouldn’t take that pill if I could — and don’t think writing is useless or selfish at all.

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