I am reading Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird. I'm less than halfway through, but this book has already replaced Stephen King's On Writing as my favorite book about writing. Not that On Writing isn't good. It's excellent. Bird By Bird just happens to be written especially for ME. Or, at least, it seems that way.
Like every other blogger you know I entertain hopes of writing a novel one day. I have a thumb drive full of what I call "starts". Things I started writing until a month later when I discovered I hated all the characters, or it wasn't the story I wanted it to be, or I kept writing the first three pages over and over and over, or I realized I didn't have the life experience necessary, or, and I am not making this up, I couldn't figure out what to name my main character.
I am terrified I will one day misplace this thumb drive or it will melt in a fire or a thief will make off with the storage box of loose papers and receipts and cards and notes where I keep it and I will lose them all. On the other hand, I am terrified of ever reading them again. They are THAT BAD.
But this is why Bird By Bird was written for me. I love Anne Lamott, by the way, and think her book Operating Instructions should be passed out at baby showers, and I swear she has taken all my writing neuroses and patted them down into paper and made me understand that everyone wants to burn their first draft. That it's okay. That you probably SHOULD. But only after you've written the second draft.
I didn't tell you that a few months ago, while I was sprawled on my bed waiting for the stomach flu to use up its 24 hours, I came up with my next "start". I don't know what it was about losing seven pounds in one day, but it just sort of came to me. I've been thinking about it ever since. I haven't written anything, of course. It's much easier to read books about writing than to actually write.
Today I was telling someone that I'm afraid of resenting Phillip if and when he goes to grad school. Because he'll be doing this new and exciting thing and I will be home feeding children who don't want to be fed. (Seriously. These two cannot possibly be MINE.) We started talking about what else is out there. My little online world, obviously. My devotion to the internet runs deep. Certain family or churchy pursuits. But I have to say I don't envy Phillip's career or his hours away from our house or his hopeful upcoming opportunity to write heaps of papers. Those aren't things I want to do. If there is anything Else, it's probably something I will write.
(How nice for me, huh? The luxury of choosing Art over Paycheck. Sometimes I think I could just retitle this blog First World Problems.)
I know a million people think they have a novel in them. All of them write better than I do. For SURE all of them have more drive in their pinky fingers than I do in my entire being. I rather like whiling my afternoons away in the front yard, blowing bubbles and digging in the new sandbox. Spending naptime on the treadmill thinking about My Book and then going upstairs not to write, but to eat lunch in front of brain-rotting television (au revoir LC!) and maybe think some more about My Book. I really do have to name my main character. I am not a likely author, is what I'm saying. Bird By Bird is convicting me, but I still have to write.
Anyway. I am sitting here using Phillip's laptop while he cleans up the entire kitchen, a pile of unstuffed cloth diapers in front of me. There's always an excuse not to start writing, and this time it's 1) wanting to post something for Tuesday and 2) twelve stretched out BumGenius one size pocket diapers.