|Cat photo stolen from Gretchen's Facebook page. Hi, Gretchen!|
Monday, May 21, 2012
I’m buried neck deep in deadlines, and the voices in my head are screaming at me that I’ll shrivel up and die if I don’t produce a perfect novel, stat.
Every single person I know is having some kind of personal or professional crisis—moving, having a baby, too much work, not enough work, bad boyfriend, worse ex-boyfriend, no boyfriend at all, you name it—and a truly shocking number of them seem to think I can somehow solve those problems.
The floor needs mopping, the potted garden needs watering, the whole house needs vacuuming, and God only knows what the cat needs.
My stories are too commercial, too literary, too high, too low, too silly, too serious, and always, always, always too weird.
I don’t write for the voices in my head, or the crazy people in my life, or the garden, or the cat. I try to write for the market, but I know I’m not going to finish anything I don’t genuinely love, so I’m not writing for the anonymous authors of rejection notices. I write for me; I sing the words I can’t say, I spin stories from the truths I can’t speak, and I build castles in the air so I can fool the world into building a few castles on earth. Sometimes I write for you; I write to make you laugh, and cry, and think. I write for my heart.
The floor will get mopped. The garden will get watered. Hands will be held and psychotic inner voices will be shouted into submission. The cat will be shooed off, because it's not actually my cat, just a demented neighborhood tabby that likes to yowl at me and can usually be persuaded to yowl elsewhere. And while I do all those things, there will be a quiet, reasonable part of me saying: Screw it.
Some things matter. Some things don’t. I’m working on learning how to tell them apart. The things that need to get done are not necessarily the things you’re meant to do. Do both kinds of things and never, ever confuse the two.
And when the inner voices get too loud, and the doors are slamming, and that bloody cat’s on the roof again, the reasonable part will laugh and mutter screw it. Because some things matter.
And the other things? Screw it.