the circular runner

the cure for lonely writing time…

In humor, life, writing on February 22, 2012 at 11:32 am


There is no cure. DEAL.

OK, let me be a little nicer about it.  There is a lot of stuff written about how difficult it is to fill the page with words. I’m not a drinker, but sometimes I wish I was when I’m starting something new. That’s when I just want to have an out-of-body experience while my body taps away a first draft.  That first draft can sometimes be fun, but most times, it’s not great and I’m going to have to edit the bejeezus out of it, which I don’t mind.  I just hate getting the words out the first time.  Of course, if I were drinking, my first draft would suck it worser, so there’s that to consider.

Still, even harder than writing a first draft of anything is just putting my butt (and keeping my butt) in the seat while I tap away at my keyboard.  For a long time, I was writing at my house in the backroom. But recently, we got a washer and dryer from my folks, which means that my backroom has become a back corner. I don’t mind. I’ve noticed I write best when facing a wall. I also have noticed that I like to write in narrow spaces, in which I can feel the walls on either side of me.  Is it from my grad school days when I used to spend hours procrastinating in a tiny carrell?  Maybe. But I think it might be more primordial.  As in, during my time of insecurity before the plain whiteness of my screen, I need a continuous hug or something. Not to make light of people with Autism, but I’ve heard there are these things you can sleep in that wrap around you and make you feel like you’re getting a hug the whole night long.  Maybe I should write with one of those on. Of course, I don’t think you can use your hands when you’re being embraced.

The back corner in my house is not bad, but even the walls only have so much power over me.  If I don’t get right to the work in the morning, I start looking for things to clean.  Dishes, clothes, back corners of the pantry, the toilet even. You name it.  I don’t think that’s primordial, though. I think it’s just sad.

Talking about sadness, the reason for my struggle when starting to write, I contend, is loneliness. Not to sound overly dramatic, but writing is kind of like death. You don’t know what’s waiting for you, and you have to face it alone.  No one is going to get you out of it. You have to find a way to cope.  So, the last couple months, my solution has been to write in coffee houses, which for some reason, focuses me.  It might be the caffeine, too.  But really, it’s the people.  Don’t get me wrong. I don’t talk to anyone except for the nice woman who makes my coffee. I don’t come here for that kind of community. I come here to work. I’m on an analogy-run here, but coffeehouses are kind of like the original non-virtual Facebook. The place is full of people you recognize who put up announcements about this or that event who are all in their own world and want to stay that way.

There are a few disadvantages to this set-up–of course there are. First, there’s the cost. I try to be cheap. A double espresso costs about 2 bucks, which is not bad, though sometimes I give in and get a vegan cookie (not because I’m vegan but because I live in San Francisco, vegan capital of Gaia.)  If I were smarter about money, I’d get an espresso maker and do it at home, and then, I wouldn’t be tempted to eat vegan hockey pucks. (If I were really smart about money, I wouldn’t spend so much time writing.)  I figure six months’ worth of espressos would be about the same as a decent machine, and if I include the vegan delights, I’d probably break even in three. BUT then I’d be back at my little back corner hugging the walls or cleaning the lint off them.

There’s also calorie intake to consider. Espresso with a couple sacks of sugar isn’t bad, but the vegan goodness wears on you.  I’ve written a lot these last couple months, but I’ve gained five pounds, so I’m going to start running more.  (Vegan baked goods = less guilt, more gut.)

Lastly, there is the problem of hours and caffeine. I have to write in the morning because of my schedule, but sometimes things don’t work out and I can only get my words out at night. Espresso late at night = bad sleep and crazy dreams, which then screws my next day of writing.

OK, so as you can see, my solution to the loneliness required by writing is problematic.  (I’m not mentioning yuppie moms and dads with their SUV baby carriages and/or African sling things.  Why do all these white women dig their slings so much?)  If you have some ideas, I’d love to hear them.  What do you all do when you need to write? Let’s start a therapy session right here. It won’t keep you up, or make you gain weight, or give you the need to scream at a yuppie mom trying to get in touch with her Wisdom.


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