There are few things that get me nibbling my nails more frantically than contemplating the monetary barriers to becoming a writer.
The very act of trading hours of my life for bits of paper is odious. And yet, in our society, there simply does not seem to be any other alternative, unless you have a wealthy spouse, inherit money, win the lottery or have parents who can support you until you make enough money from your writing, all of which I don’t have or are highly unlikely to ever have.
When I contemplate the sheer pointlessness of ever having a crack at this writing thing, and my hatred for jobs which are necessary for funding said writing thing, I’m fairly consistent in my reactions.
a) I throw insults at the world.
This crops up the most often. An endless spiel comes whirling out of my mouth, in which I denounce everything under the sun, from the capitalist system we live in, the inherent selfishness of human beings, the coldness and indifference of the universe, the lack of appreciation for art, etc. etc. This also takes the longest time, and leaves me quite spent and still fuming. I tend to go through these periods every couple of weeks.
b) I throw insults at myself.
I turn inward. I berate myself for being a good-for-nothing nobody who has the gall to not want to work while the rest of society slaves away like good little children. I tear down my own dreams like I’m stripping the clothes of my Cinderella-like alter-ego, clawing and scratching at her face, screaming, “YOU’RE DELUSIONAL. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE IT. SHUT UP AND GET IN LINE LIKE A GOOD WORKER. YOU WILL BE THE BETTER FOR IT. STOP TRYING TO CLUTCH AT THE MIST.” This often leads to reading over my previous writing, bemoaning my obvious lack of skill and potential, feeling like I’ve been under the influence of a delusion and convincing myself that I’ve finally woken up from the fairy’s spell. I will never make it. I’m a deluded, little fool. Then I just sort of collapse and stop living for a few days, contemplating disturbing suicidal thoughts that I never have the courage to act upon, which just annoys me even more. The agony of this reaction is incredible – I feel like I’m sitting in a chair with a spoon and scraping out my innards in clots of blood and flesh and veins.
c) I sit in a dark, wet puddle of weepiness.
That is as fun as it sounds. Seeped in the incontinence of my own soul, I contemplate the bleak vistas of a life of poverty and homelessness and pain, take a big gulp and think, well, this is just the way it is, I’ll just have to get job that’ll sap my energy and write in my spare time. Then I think about jobs that sap my energy, which, if they do not involve writing and involve lots of talking, are all of them, because I am an antisocial creature and can only deal with people in teeny-tiny doses before I want to thwack a book over my head. Also, I only truly feel alive when I am alone with a book and characters and my own writing. Also, I need silence like I need love. Also, wasting my life, watching and waiting for the hour hand to move the way I do in school, doing that for the rest of my life…the thought makes me want to stab myself in the throat with a fork. I apologise for the violent, visceral imagery in this post.
d) I sleep. Unfortunately, I also have a habit of eventually waking up. Oversleeping also has a tendency to waste precious time.
And when I procrastinate, I want to die, because it feels like all the negative, whispering little voices, like a band of nebulous demons sniggering and clustering about my head, are right. After all, if writing what my heart truly points to, if it is all I want to do during this flimsy, short existence, and I’m avoiding doing it…well, I’m the biggest failure of all, aren’t I?
And I think I’ve convinced myself I have some shot at this as a defense mechanism. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that, and the more I read of my amateur scribblings, the more I am convinced of this theory.
I guess this entire post is me trying to convey my own pain and agony, the equivalent of cracking open my head and showing you the fractured skull and gore, which, the more I think about it, is probably quite dull for you to read, unless you’re dealing with the same thing yourself.
And I even wrote a post writing about how to chase the dark clouds away! Let’s add being a hypocrite to the list. It’s a selfish post, and I’m trying not to let that make me feel worse. Nope. Not succeeding.
I guess. I guess it just hurts, and I feel like telling someone it hurts, even if it is the internet. I’m not fishing for buckets of pity – I swear from the depths of my heart I’m not, though it could seem like I am. I just think human beings tend to feel better when our pain is recognized, even a little bit.
It’s just. You have all these dreams, you know? And they’re cupped in your palms like dewdrops, and you spend days, months, years, cradling them away from the sun’s harsh rays like some overprotective water god, until one day you open your fingers and you find they’ve evaporated long ago, and the world is a nothing, you are a nothing, life is a nothing. It’s a little hard, that’s all. I know there are harder things, but this is pretty hard.
Anyway. Excuse me while I publish this post and go weep. And write. And weep at my writing after I’ve written it, since I tend to put a brake on the waterworks when I’m writing, as that can blur the page and make the creation of art a pain rather than a joy. I sincerely, sincerely hope every single one of you are a thousand times more content than I am. Like, sometimes, when the entire universe bends down and sneers in my face with its black-hole mouth and galaxy eyes, I just think of other happy people doing what they love for a living, dancing in sunshine, transfixed by fireflies, peering into the faces of their newborn child, holding their first book in their hands, and I am comforted by the thought that contentment can exist. Maybe it just won’t for me. And the frightening thing is I’m not sure it ever will.