24 Days of Grateful [Day 18]
The purpose of this blog series was to force myself to ride the waves of NaNoWriMo, so to speak. I wanted to make sure I stayed in the habit of daily writing and creating and thinking, and I think these posts have done that for me (and no, it is not over yet! Straight on through to Christmas).
But I didn’t except to be so restless still. I think of my novel constantly, and every day I want to open it up and attack it, slowly but purposefully, immersing myself again in the impossible world I created. I think of my characters and the things they need. I think of events I forgot to include, or events that I can remove, necessary only to my process. Of lines that need some work that my mind regurgitates, so many words I have memorized because I stumbled over them, still in love with them despite their flaws.
It is a weird thing, then, to be an author. To be sucked into and obsessed by this object, this thing that isn’t really an object, this thing that is real on paper but hovers in air and does nothing but beg for attention. Authors of novels create monsters, pull them from beneath their childhood beds and into the dusty light, a desperate attempt to understand them in blinding clarity. But once they are out, the monsters need your blood. They aren’t swept behind boxes of Beanie Babies anymore. Suddenly, you have an entity that floats forever in your brain and around your body, and you must feed it. To write a novel is to marry something that doesn’t come with a promise of happiness and roses, instead with a guarantee of aching wounds and panic upon separation. Divorce, then, is impossible. But roses are possible.
It talks to you.
It follows you.
It is a part of you.
It is out of your control.
I have always been firmly convinced that in order to fall into the category of a good at one’s art, one must be a little insane. These past couple of weeks, as my head spins and I ache to return to the story I didn’t know I needed to write, I am a little hopeful that someday, in twenty or thirty or forty years, I might be able to call myself “good.”
I’m a decent writer, that I will admit. But this novel…this is something bigger. It will likely never see a press, but that isn’t why it was written. I wrote it to find myself.
What I have found, then, is that I am insane. I have opened up to something I never did before and it has captured me in a catch-22 of “I love you” and “I hate you”, “I need you” and “I don’t want you.” No one else has read a sentence of what I wrote. Kind family members and friends have offered to read it, and I have warned of what they will encounter: the inner workings of an amateur splayed out on white pages. I want it to be perfect but I know that is impossible. I have adopted something that is wild — it is scarier because the crazy came from no where but my mind. Now that I opened the weird box that is my brain, I am shocked at what lives there. Is this passion, or is it a step further down a twisted road where only drug-addled or book-addled people venture? Is it good to be this obsessed? I would wager it isn’t healthy.
But then, no one has ever claimed that writers are healthy people.
I am grateful for the obsession, for the weirdness of myself. This quality allows me access a place that is beyond the every day, to float above the mundane and insert myself into logic-lacking escapes. It lets me be every single one of the characters I wrote, yet I am none of them at all. But they are all of me. It is a weird thing to create a world from nothing but scraps of dreams and things you don’t have. You build it, and then you want to live it.
But you can’t, so you go insane.