We Tell Ourselves the Truth

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10 September 2009

It’s easy to get absorbed in writerly solitude, and for that solitude to tip over into isolation.  Beware, beware — the mind begins to turn on you.

So it’s been good to sit with a few friends recently — writers, too — to share, to encourage, and, yes, also, to vent.

One friend recently shared with me that the writing process has become a bit “joyless” for her — because of so much time spent in front of the screen.  The good fortune of being able to write full-time for a while (having earned a grant — hoorah) has an unexpected downside.  She’s decided to attempt to write her next novel draft in longhand.  I can’t wait to hear how it’s going.

At lunch today with another friend, we remind one another that the impossibility of the writing life — its unpredictability, instability, relentless introversion, pressure on the ego in a particular way, strain on relationships — is much of why we pursued it in the first place.  If it was easy, knowable, contained, typical, it would lack that sense of urgent unattainability that fuels us.  It’s a mountain, not a hill; a marathon, not a 10k; and we chose it.  Yes, yes, we tell ourselves.  Now, we remember.

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