There’s freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing that you won’t be able to save or rescue your daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you’ve reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin, because when you’re still in the state of trying to fix the unfixable, everything bad is engaged: the chatter of your mind, the tension of your physiology, all the trunks and wheel-ons you carry from the past. It’s exhausting, crazy-making.
For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous.
In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write
really, really shitty first drafts.
But as Rumi said, “Through love all pain will turn to medicine,
Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.
You want to avoid at all costs drawing your characters on those that already exist in other works of fiction. You must learn about people from people, not from what you read. Your reading should confirm what you’ve observed in the world.
I smiled back at her. I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.
Being a writer is part of a noble tradition, as is being a musician – the last egalitarian and open associations. No matter what happens in terms of fame and fortune, dedication to writing is a marching-step forward from where you were before, when you didn’t care about reaching out to the world, when you weren’t hoping to contribute, when you were just standing there doing some job into which you had fallen.
There are few experiences as depressing as that anxious barren state known as writer’s block, where you sit staring at your blank page like a cadaver, feeling your mind congeal, feeling you talent run down your leg and into your sock.
I tell you, families are definitely the training ground for forgiveness.
I pray not to be such a whiny, self-obsessed baby, and give thanks that I am not quite as bad as I used to be (talk about miracles). Then something comes up, and I overreact and blame and sulk, and it feels like I haven’t made any progress at all. But it turns out I’m less of a brat than before, and I hit the reset button much sooner, shake it off, and get my sense if humor back.