What’s Important 10: Not So Desperate Times, Not So Desperate Measures

I’m upset that I’m not more upset.

I don’t write as much as I used to. It bugs me and it’s mostly logistical because, you know, busy life and all that. And when I do write it’s stupid shit like blogging or writing about comics. I have been editing a YA book for MONTHS now.

I miss writing literary fiction. I actually miss short stories.

But the other day I had a realization about writing: it’s no longer essential.

People talk about the arts in what seems like hyperbolic terms, but it’s not: the arts save lives. I don’t know that I would say that writing saved mine, but it certainly allowed me to live. It’s where I’ve tried to make sense of the world around me, tried to make sense of the distortions in my head. It’s where I’ve set up shop and lived when life was its hardest.

It was sometimes all I had.

But it’s not anymore. My life is so full I honestly have a hard time believing it’s real.

In the past, writing meant the difference between losing my shit and holding on. Writing meant keeping my head above water. It meant giving me some semblance of control.

Writing meant that something good could come out of me.

But at some point I realized that something good can come out of me all the damn time and writing stopped being so special.

That’s not to say that I don’t still love it/hate it or that I’m not still drawn to it. And that’s certainly not to say that it’s not still important to my mental/emotional/spiritual well being. It is and it always will be.

But it’s not alone anymore. It’s not fighting a seemingly hopeless battle on its own.

It’s no longer life support.

It doesn’t have to be.

My need to write has changed and I can tell that it has changed my writing.

That’s hard for me to reconcile.

I look back on the things that I wrote in the past and it feels like someone else wrote it.

I won’t lie: I miss it. The fact that I don’t write the way that I used to makes me feel like I’ve failed in some way. Maybe I have. Maybe I’ve let a piece of myself down. Maybe I’m neglecting a part of myself that needs tending to even if it’s not as obvious as it once was.

But maybe I am tending to that part just in other ways. Perhaps this blog does that, or my ongoing autobiographical/journal type thing that I’ve been writing for years now.

I suppose my concern comes down to my emotional side, although just writing that I feel how wrong I am. It feels like maybe it comes down to my ego.

My writing is what allowed me to have an emotional side, but that’s not true anymore. I don’t need it as an outlet, not in the way that I used to. I’m still writing to be creative and I’m still writing to exercise my brain, but I’m not writing to vent.

I’m no longer exorcising demons.

That should be a good thing, right?

But I focus on all the potential I thought I had and the fact that it is seemingly going to waste. I remember that rush that came from rereading something and realizing that it was actually pretty good.

I even miss the rejection letters.

And I miss the fire.

I think maybe the fire is what made my writing special and that maybe it’s gone now or, at the very least, it’s not as hot, not as all encompassing. It no longer engulfs all that I am.

I still have things I want to write. I still have story ideas written on scraps of paper all over this office. I just don’t know if I will ever get to them because I don’t have the drive that I once did.

The hardest part about all of this isn’t that it’s happening, but that I’m not more upset about it. Because I should be, right? I used to be special. I used to bare my soul. I used to cry when I wrote. I could even make other people cry, too.

I was an artist.

And maybe that’s not me anymore. Maybe I don’t have that fire anymore, at least not for all the soul bearing and heart ache.

When Nicole and I first started dating I told her that I worried about being in a happy relationship because I was concerned what being happy would do to my writing. I won’t lie; being with Nicole changed my writing. There was a very clear shift in my work.

But I adjusted. I adapted. I think I was able to find my voice even when I was no longer miserable.

Finding my voice again as a parent seems to be harder because being a parent is more consuming than being a boyfriend/husband. It requires a greater time commitment, it requires a greater emotional commitment.

So this is me, now, trying to figure out how to deal with this. In part I’ve accepted it because it’s easy to accept: I have distractions. But that’s probably not the way to get over something.

Maybe it’s time to try something new.

I’m just not sure what that is yet.