Dying – or just verklempt – you still have to write

(If you’re new to my blog, you might want to read my launch post: Gotta launch.)

dog leaning head over looking bored
You can still hold a pen.
One of the things you have to know if you’re living the writerly life, is that you write even when you feel like you’re dying. Not to be too extreme. In fact there are demigods among us who say that’s when it’s most important that you write.

I’m devoted: I write with a migraine. Okay, let that poor skinny cat out of the bag: I’m a compulsive writer. So I’ve got a leg up on some of you. Being compelled to write helps. But it does not secure any decent writing nor does it guarantee products. The sometimes side effect is that I write when I should be editing, revising, publishing or posting. So there’s that.

Sudden lurch of the story…
Last week I broke the lock on a story I’ve been harboring for three or four years. I was traveling from the Sierras back to the Pacific on that hideous invention we call “80.” I hate this road. I hate the road itself, and especially its sprawl of consumerism, the big-box stores, fast food chains and boring developments. I hate its straightness and its predictable gridlock.

The whole thing exhausts me. Our usual stop in Davis can perk me up a bit, if I ignore how much road is left before I can smell the salty fog. This time, I dropped into a rabbit hole of dark chocolate and caramel¬† — made into a frozen drink no less! — something I never and should never even consider.

But there I was, on a mildly glowing Sunday in late March, twisting my body chemistry into a kind of neon DNA, and just watching with awe as the pent-up story escaped onto paper. The story is still growing, this is good. Right now it looks like a paper doll with the wrong size arms and the head on backwards, but I’ll fix that.

So you just keep the pen moving.
The thing is, I do write even when I think I’m dying. Hell, I wrote all of the book¬† “Open Here” (later published as “Little Shifts), in a state of life-limbo during cancer treatment. (Granted I was also high on Ativan, so maybe that doesn’t count.)

This morning, though, I have a Class 2 migraine and here I am writing to you. I’m even going to kick the ball right through to my blog. See?

Writing ain’t pretty, my friends. Surely that’s not why we do it.

Keep on being yourself, only more so. Then you can go out and play.

dog with stick in mouth

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2 Responses to Dying – or just verklempt – you still have to write

  1. Kim Nelson says:

    Ah, Suzanna.
    Today, you are the muse. I tend to “not write” when the weather is perfect and the garden beckons. I relish every weed picked, every seed planted, every pot watered, every hummingbird observed. On a beautiful day, if my eyes scan above the screen of my laptop, the sights compel and I’m back outdoors, chasing each butterfly of an idea that flits through my gardener’s mind. So I don’t write.
    We’ve had several consecutive ideal days here in Tucson, right on the heels of a week away from home. I have not written. My fingers itch, my mind composes, but the words are not playing on the paper. Until you. Until now. You’ve “mused” me, so I’ll carry the laptop to the cabana, open those files and get down to it.
    I thank you.

  2. Suzanna Stinnett says:

    You created a whole world of images right there in your comment. I’m so glad to be a-Muse-ing, and look forward to more of your good work.

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