*Checks date of last post*
June 9, 2016. Yikes, it's been almost two months. What happened? I used to do this all the time. Well, not all the time, but at least once a week. Hell, at one point I used to do this every Sunday. Life happened. Laziness happened. Fatigue happened. Self-doubt happened. Excuses happened. Too many of them to count and enough to feel shame and embarrassed over.
So why is now any different? Well, for starters I am alone. Not forever alone or anything dramatic like that, but temporarily a bachelor. For the next seven days, my wife has the kids (plus one exchange student) on a road trip and I am left home alone to work. The first evening was eventful, having eaten a dinner of ramen noodles and a chocolate milkshake. Hey, I walked the 2.5km to the store and back to get the shake so cut me some slack. I then watched the Blue Jays win in fine fashion over the reigning World Series Champions.
Today I rolled out of bed whenever and sat in front of the TV to watch the Olympics. I did manage to make a respectable omelet for brunch and even managed to shower and get dressed before 2pm. Realizing that I needed to get off my ass and do some walking (gotta get my 10,000 steps!) I decided that I'd do something different. With my mobile data plan in the shitter this month, I didn't feel like paying premium overage charges to catch Pokémon. So, I put on my running shoes and I grabbed a book. I am currently reading Stephen King's On Writing.
I walked out the door with my cheap giveaway sunglasses, and King's book, and I started walking. I was in the section of the book titled "C.V." It's where King walks us through how he got to where he was; as a person and as a writer. If the subtitle to the book is "A memoir of the craft," then this section of the book is the memoir of the man. As I am reading I get this feeling, this sense of awe and inspiration mixed with panic and self-doubt, that's hard to describe. It consisted of two simultaneous and conflicting thoughts.
The first one came as I decided to stop along this quiet multi-purpose path. I was about halfway through my walk and I sat down on a park bench donated in the memory of someone long since departed. The thought went like this: I am not worthy of calling myself a writer because I have not suffered enough. Which I think is total bullshit, but in that moment it did cross my mind. Some truly great writers have suffered and there are definitely schools of thought out there that would assert that the greatness came from the suffering. King suffered. He had two kids, a shitty apartment in an asshole - sorry, armpit - of a town, a low paying job, and no telephone. He then sold the paperback rights to Carrie and, poof! It was like winning the lottery.
I mean, King has lived through some serious shit, man, but from an early age he wanted to be a writer and throughout all the tumultuous times he experienced he kept at it. Even when he thought there was no hope of ever "making it" he kept at it. Then, in the same heartbeat the first thought came, so did the second. King isn't a writer because he suffered. King is a writer because he writes.
Stephen King is a writer because he writes.
By the time I got home inspiration struck and I needed to put this down on "paper". I am a writer. Sure, I have a job that pays me a nice salary and gives me twenty days of paid vacation every year. Sure, I'm also a bevy of other things: a husband, father, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. All these come with familial and social commitments as well. Sure, I'm middle aged and in desperate need of at least 10,000 steps a day to avoid catastrophic health problems. But... BUT... when I'm not fulfilling any of those obligations I do the only thing that I've ever felt compelled to do: I write.
It's not always a lot. It's not always shared. It's not always submitted for publication. It's almost always not done for money. But I do it. I write. And it doesn't matter which way you look at it. Whether you say, "I write, therefore I am a writer," or, "I am a writer, therefore I write," it does not matter. There is no chicken and egg in this scenario. There is only breakfast.