You have no idea. I have the week off, and no major plans. C and I are staying with his parents on Long Island, so we thought about revisiting our engagement site (our one year “engageaversary” is Sunday … but I think that doesn’t really count if you get married in under 1 year!), but with NYC such a mess from the storm, we elected to skip it and save a city trip for a warmer day, and the ice skating for the pond in Washington Park. We did go to the vineyards, but aside from the general holiday celebrations, we haven’t done much of anything at all. My mother got me a Kindle for Christmas, so I’m already on book number 3. I haven’t read this many books in such a short amount of time in … well, a long time. It’s quite lovely.
But I had plans to do a lot of writing. Except that didn’t happen. And there are reasons it didn’t happen, aside from just general laziness (though I won’t lie, that factored in), but upon reflection, they’re not good reasons.
I don’t think I would ever “make it” as a professional writer. Professional blogger? Maybe, though that career is in its infancy, and I would have to do it “on the side” before doing it full time … and though I’m sure I could make time for that, I just don’t have the discipline … hence, why, I would be no good as a professional writer. I also often feel as if I have things to say, but that no one will find them worthwhile enough for more than just a silly blog. Which, actually, is fine by me – I have no real desire to write fiction, and I did not have a troubled, tortured life so as to need the catharsis of an interesting memoir.
I’ve always enjoyed personal essaying, and I know I have at least a few stories that are interesting. One day, I’ll compile them, but not today.
I think, though, it’s more about a thick skin. I don’t have a thick enough skin to do this full time. I’m not talking about reader criticism or editor criticism; that doesn’t bother me. I’m talking about situations like this. Kristi’s column is a great example of what most writers – amateur or otherwise – have gone through at least once, possibly more, with varying degrees of severity. People who are not writers may see Kristi’s actions as passive-aggressive, filled with malice. However, I see it differently.
Writing, for writers, is catharsis before it is anything else. We hone our storytelling skills by spilling our guts to journals. Soon, we find, we actually have a knack for this, and we move on to other forums. We put our pain to paper, and we hope that something good can come from it. However, sometimes, someone is hurt in the process.
Kristi’s friend John needed to hear what Kristi had to say. Since his name isn’t really “John,” no one actually knows who it is, except for those close to the situation, and, let’s be honest, they were going to know about it anyway. But he probably should have heard it from her first, rather than seeing it in print. And he got understandably angry, because most people don’t think like writers do.
Anyway, I don’t know if I can handle that. I don’t know if I can button my lips tightly enough to make everyone around me happy. In Kristi’s case, perhaps it was for the best; the friendship had gone toxic long before, and wasn’t going to die unless someone killed it. It needed a catalyst. That’s not always the case. I’d like to think that something like this could only kill a friendship if it was already very sick, but even if that is true, it doesn’t mean that it was terminal.
As writers, we try to show all sides of the story. We don’t necessarily want the reader to empathize with us, if that’s not their natural inclination. We want them to have all of the information and then make a decision themselves. However, we cannot change that our own experiences tinge our writing. It’s not necessarily difficult to see the story from another viewpoint, but it is not the most apparent course, either. And maybe that’s it? It’s one thing to see it in a letter or hear it from the person’s mouth, but seeing it in print perhaps is more difficult, even if no one can trace it back to you. You’re looking at yourself through another person’s eyes, and if the view is unfavorable, even if it is isolated, that is a shock to the system.
Anyway, I’m just not sure I can hack it.