I wasn't supposed to be doing this this year. I was supposed to be concentrating on school and finishing projects and writing papers. For the next three years, my life, outside of anything I might do to earn a living or keep my household going, is to be devoted to only one thing -- school. No unscheduled fun. No unstructured creativity. No pleasure art of any kind. Period. Everyone has let me know nine ways from Sunday what my responsibilities are where school is concerned, and that writing 50,000 words of fiction that might not lead anywhere is a foolish waste of time.
I get that. I get that it's frivolous to even consider reading a book for enjoyment or writing anything that doesn't garner a grade of some kind, or isn't at least written on a syllabus somewhere.
But when I told thriller novelist J.T. Ellison that I was busy, that I had school and a life and how on Earth could I possibly fit NaNoWriMo into my schedule, her response was a little different.
"One hour a day," she tweeted to me. "You can find one hour a day."
Here's the thing. I'm a writer. It's what I do. More to the point, it's what I am. I'm not allowed to act or sing anymore, unless I'm willing to do it inside the boundaries of what someone else thinks I am. I'm not working, and I've done all I can do to look for work. I've sent out the little messages in the bottles, and now must await their return.
So, while I wait, I will write. I will write about Hindu Traditions. I will write about Greek Mythology. I will write about Dream Interpretation. And then I will write what I want to write, because I want to write it.
I've included an excerpt below, which comes from the middle of the 3,714 words I've written in two days. Count your lucky stars -- my cousin, Brian, made the mistake of asking to read it, so I sent him the entire beginning, in all it's unedited glory. Bless him.
It’s the hoping that makes it the worst. Hoping that maybe you were wrong, that you misinterpreted, that maybe he will or has changed his mind. That maybe he’ll see what he’s walked away from so cavalierly, as if all the times your body was stretched along his, skin to skin, limbs wrapped around each other, never mattered a damn.
If not for hope, you’d be sad and grief-stricken and broken, but you’d know to stop listening for the phone. You’d not to stop running to check e-mail. You’d know not to want to continue in a friendship with someone that you don’t want as a friend nearly as much as you want them as a lover, though you’ll take them as a friend because, when you’ve lost a love, you need all the friends you can get, right?
That’s what hope does for you. It makes you dream for the impossible. It makes you wait for a promise full of hot air and good intentions. Until suddenly, you wake up one morning and find yourself telling your best friend that you’re wasting the best years of your life being a stalker, when you could be off being stalked.
Hope is sick. Worse, hope makes you sick.
I blame Ancient Greece.