In the novel The Bell Jar by one of my literary heroes, Sylvia Plath, she has this one scene in the book where the main character is sitting posing for a picture. Ester is in New York at her internship and it is near the end of it. The magazine wants to take a picture of the girls that would showcase why they are working at the magazine. For instance if a girl is there to work on putting outfits together, the photographer would take a picture of her in action picking out an outfit. Ester is there as a writer, so the photographer thinks he should have her sitting on a couch with a rose in her hand to portray her as deep in a poetic thought. Well, Ester tells us that while she is sitting on the couch, she fells like she wants to cry. She can’t explain why she fells the tears coming; they just are coming. She fells angry and annoyed and on the verge of just hollering. While she is in these thoughts, the photographer looks over his lens at her and asks her to show him how happy it makes her to write a poem. In a nutshell, that is also how I see writing.
I hate when people think it is romantic or indulgent to be a writer. People think that it has to be wonderful to sit in a café and just type away on a computer while you are sipping some crazy mixture of coffee and milk. But here’s the deal…writing isn’t pretty at all. Well, maybe I should clarify that a bit more. I have never found writing to be pretty at all. Sure, I love the idea that writing is so sweet and innocent. But for me, it isn’t like that at all.
In the movie, Capote, Truman is talking to his partner and he tells him how he needs to go to Spain and work on his novel. His partner asks why he can’t just stay and write in New York and when Truman tells him he just can’t, his partner just says okay. When I first watched that part I was taken aback. I was thinking, how crazy and cool that is to just up and go to Spain and write. Then, well, let’s just say I fully understood why Truman just needed to get away and why he couldn’t just stay in New York. He isn’t being a spoiled self-indulgent priss who just wants to travel. He needs to remove himself from every distraction to focus on the book at hand.
For me, writing can be like a bloodletting. It’s painful and it happens in a huge rush. It spills on the screen and you want to try and get some paper towels or something, but there are just too many words and images. I have stayed awake for three days straight because a novel I was writing wouldn’t let me sleep. My characters never do what I want them to do. Just recently, I had this whole short story planed out. I knew the beginning, middle, and for once I even had an ending. As I started writing it, my main character shot me ”the finger” and did what he wanted to do.
Writing is not romantic. Although it does demand much of one’s attention as a lover may do; however, writing seems more like a spoiled only child. It wants every toy in the store. It wants a grilled cheese sandwich with Kraft Deli American cheese and no crust and then it changes its mind after I have made the grilled cheese to wanting ham and cheese toasted on rye bread with a pickle. But I do as it asks because I have to do it. I love my child and it is my fault really that I have spoiled it so much. But I can’t help it, writing is just so adorable and it is a big part of me. Writing is my creation and after all, it is an only child.