The first book officially half done. The others, so heavily researched, stagnant. Sometimes, I do not write for months. Or years. I should be more serious. I need to get more serious. Somehow, it matters so little that it matters the most.
I read an article the other day; maybe it was online at The Atlantic. 'You can't write for yourself' it said.
I am ten years old. I hide the paper, folded in half and folded in half again, in between the pages of a book. There are several on the table that sits by my bed.
I know I should hide it. I have used the word hell a lot because that is what I have written about. I have been in trouble for swearing before.
Grade Two. I am walking home from school, behind two older boys. I do this as often as I can. When we get passed the crossing guard, I yell things at them: You're dickheads. Go fuck yourself. Take a flying leap off a galloping goose. They always laugh at me and I laugh with them. They secretly think I'm a cool little kid. They sometimes hurl insults back at me, but they are lackluster, lame. I tell them how much they suck. And one day, when they say, 'Shut-up', and I don't, I soon realise they were warning me. As they turn their block, across the road, I see my mother.
I take it out whenever I can. Early morning, late at night, when I get home from school before my mother, when she is watching baseball. I read the words, covering one page, front and back. I have put words to paper before. But this is different. I. Wrote This. One evening, sent to bed in daylight and into the night, the light from the kitchen beaming a muted ray across the foot of my bed, until I was exhausted. And it is awesome! It is great! I will be famous someday.
I forget my mother checks my books sometimes. Seeing what needs to go back to the library. Maybe herself with nothing to read, she takes one of mine.
Maybe it scared her. Maybe it scared my grandmother more. At least, they acted that way. My Aunt Sue. My Grandfather. All of them there.
Where did you get this?
Who gave it to you?
Did you get it out of a book?
What kind of people are you hanging out with?
I wrote it.
I wrote it.
I wrote it.
No, you didn't.
Fittingly, my family decided to burn it. My grandmother sparking up her lighter, encrusted in its jeweled-sheath.
-Fuck you. I hate you. We don't even go to church. Unspoken thoughts, sliding through my brain. Angry sliding across my face, heated tears and snot. -I will hate you forever.
I mourned my loss for days. My pen quieted for a while, but I never lost it. They didn't stop me. And I didn't hate them forever. Over the years, I had my words ruined at the hands of others again. Ruined their pages myself. Lost them in moves, or in bags, on a table somewhere, to a leaky basement. I have given my words away. For top school marks, for love, for fun. No, my family could not stop the flow of other things they did not want to understand. They couldn't stop me. And it was a battle they gave up. And truthfully, my words going up in flames probably did more to spur me on. -They don’t believe I wrote it! They think I copied it from a book! It was awesome! It was great! I will be famous someday.
John Irving has been quoted as saying, 'Why shouldn't it take years?" And I believe it. I just go-along. A few taps here, a few taps there. When there are no words, I say, That's okay. See you again soon. And I mean it. It doesn't matter when the words come because they always do. And when they do, whether it is the timed 30 minute, write and edit exercise, otherwise known as a blog post, or the words to a good, ole country love song, or those 4 pesky stories my mind refuses to erase, I have what I like to call Best Fun. Because it’s all about me, baby. What I can create. I have penned perfect sentences. I will pen more. Me. Not you. Maybe you’ll read them. Maybe you won’t. But I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read anything about yourself, that you’re actually wondering what I can create (ME!) for you. So, yes, I write for myself. And to be perfectly honest, I don't think of you at all.