Why do I write? What's the point? Really--what's the point? I'm actually asking.
It's a passion that has begun to consume me more and more--the desire to write, to paint scenes, emotions with words. Fiction remains the hardest medium for me. Personal essays (like some of the things I write on this blog) and, more recently, somewhat decent poetry are not as painful to produce. And I'm working on several short stories that may have potential.
Tonight I was confronted with a terrifying reality: my father, who has extensive experience with writing and publishing, read some of my recent work. He pronounced it surprisingly good. I asked him: what next? Write a novel, he said. I blanched. I can barely complete a short story--a novel is not going to happen anytime in the near future.
So I asked more insistently: how can I get my poems or short fiction published? He reluctantly imparted that, well, there is really very little to be done with such work. Other than The New Yorker and college literary journals, he said. there are very few venues for short stories and poetry.
The New Yorker is almost impossible to get into. Stern doesn't have a literary journal (another sore subject--don't even make me go into it, thinking about it makes me ill). And so I hit--smack--against a sinister, disillusionary wall. There is nowhere to go. All I can do is sit here.
So I ask again: why bother writing? Writing gives me pleasure, true, but I do not want my writing to be a nice hobby, something to occupy spare hours, documents to gather dust buried in computer folders, ever unseen. I want to reach out, I want to share. I want my writing to live.
I feel sick. My dreams trampled, spattered across the floor. My inspiration flees, whimpering, to hide in a cobwebbed corner. I churn out melodramatic metaphors with reckless abandon. I don't even care how badly written this post is. I'm flailing.
There was a time when writing mattered, when dreams were attainable, when I felt safe in the knowledge that if I could produce decent work, it would eventually serve its purpose. I learned to believe this at a time in my life when many doors were opening. Subsequently, things changed, some of the doors began to swing closed, yet I held on tenaciously to the optimistic beliefs that a hopeful time had fostered, trying to stay true to the ideals I had learned.
But now I feel crushed. It was folly, foolishness, unforgivable naivete to believe that all I had to do was write. And now--I feel as though I dare not write, I dare not waste more precious hours in grueling, ecstatic labor only to produce work that will die unfulfilled.
Tonight, I am not a writer. Tonight, I am only a girl without a plan, without marketable skills, without a purpose. I have a headache. I quit.