The Writing Wringer

Found a rant in my drafts. Thought it would be appropriate since my blog’s been a little quiet lately.

I call myself a writer. But in privacy. I call myself a writer but I am afraid to say it out loud. I want to give an elaborate explanation to the world that the act of arranging words into sentences – often ambiguous, seldom meaningful – is a craft. I am a writer and saying that should be simple. It’s not something I get paid for. It’s not something I’m forced to do. It’s not a full time job. It’s not a part of some religion. It’s nothing but who I am. I write, therefore I am, right?

I find that all of my writing is ingrained in a deep sense of grief, inexplicable and a continuous sorrowful feeling, tragedy and insurmountable sadness. I don’t know how to be any other way. Having had my share of depression, having had my troubles with leaving my room for days, having had all of those things you don’t talk about once they’re in the past. I still feel like sorrow lingers long after the reasons for it are reconciled with. It lurks in the corners of the smile you fake when you get asked if you’re doing okay on a completely disorienting day. It scrambles and settles inside the pockets of a jacket you wore too much but couldn’t get rid of. It reappears in the late hours of a party when you’re too tired to keep up with people and all you wish for is to leave, to have simply not been there to begin with. But that’s something for everyone every once in a while and that doesn’t make me a writer.

The stories I love most and even the books I cherish to an obsessive level are all rooted in layers of tragedy and loss. I feel like grief is so goddamn beautiful and to find words fit to describe it is an art that few possess. But for some reason, every person between 20-35 years of age in the 21st century who has access to a keyboard and knows how to type is a writer. Being a writer is the simplest thing in the world from what I’m seeing. Nothing says it better than the words “Writer” in your Instagram bio. Followed by a link to your Tumblr. Tell me it gets any easier than that and I will cry.

So I shy away from the part where I ought to be describing myself as a writer because maybe I’m not. Maybe I have urges to pen down stuff and maybe it’s my safe place and maybe as Didion once wrote that I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking about and what I fear. I battle these thoughts and I feel that self-esteem as a writer is more difficult to attain than I hoped. I envy the people who confidently dish out the part where they freelance and are able to pay monthly rent for luxurious apartments and buy extra-large coffees with bagels and other side dishes every morning. I never question my writing. But I often question the label and what it entails. I don’t know how to separate one from the other. Is there a point where you suddenly go from not being a writer to being one? For the life of me, ever since I started reading I’ve wanted to write. Ever since I realized I could write sentences I wanted longer sentences and perfect sentences and I wanted many of them, lined up one after the other. Because when I sit down to write and when I talk about my blog with someone, it’s just so much easier saying I am my writing and honestly I couldn’t elaborate even if I wanted about there being any distinction between the two.

 

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15 responses

  1. “The stories I love most and even the books I cherish to an obsessive level are all rooted in layers of tragedy and loss. I feel like grief is so goddamn beautiful and to find words fit to describe it is an art that few possess.” This really resonated with me – many of the books I love best have layers and layers of sadness in them. I completely agree with you re: being able to write grief. For me, when it’s written well it can be more beautiful than the most joyful moments in a book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you feel that way. I’m almost termed morbid by some because of my queer tastes in melancholia. Which are some of these books for you, pray tell?

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      1. Of course now I’m struggling to think of any! There is this one book I read years ago that’s always stuck with me. It’s called Bereft by Chris Womersley. I can’t think of the exact wording, but there’s a line in which a mother talks about losing a child, the grief that comes with it, and the fact that there is no word for a parent who has lost a child. Not like we have the word ‘orphan’ for children who lose their parents. I’d never thought of that before.

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  2. Sure, a writer is one who writes, and most of us say we write because we have to. One shouldn’t pay much mind to what others think of our vocation, but one gains status among them by being recognizably published somehow and/or earning a living: the more money you have, the more writerly you become in their eyes. But the opinion of those around you matters not. Nobody knew Emily Dickinson was a writer and a poet until she heard a fly buzz….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate those words so. I have motivation to write all the time but these petty things mess with me and sometimes make me question everything including myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not that I’m some expert, but I encourage you to build the fires of your literary passions so high that the petty opinions of your society fade into nonsense mumbles in the shadows. The quality of your writing and the steady frequency your blog seem to indicate you are much more empowered than you let on.

        Furthermore, real writing (by which I mean writing that pours out of the writer who is compelled as opposed to, say, the hackeneyed phrases of a journalist driven by an editor’s whims) has an inextricable linkage with pain and suffering. It’s ironic, but we write our best when the writing (not the subject, but the process of setting down the words) is agonizing. Thus you read things like: “writing is easy: just open a vein” (variously attributed to dozens of writers).

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  3. Anyone can write but I feel the distinguishing feature is the way you craft your sentences and get your meaning across. IMO you’re really good at that and I can totally see you taking your writing to the next level. Clearly, a lot of people enjoy reading your blog so keep at it!

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    1. Thank you so. I feel like writing is another thing that’s simply gone mainstream now and distinguishing and carving a niche for your words and your relationship with creativity is so important. I just sometimes feel like I’m not measuring up to the title.

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  4. i write whatever i want to write even if it means i might get beat up

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  5. Reblogged this on excusemybluntness and commented:

    When the words don’t fit my mouth, I turn to this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] when someone’s happy you can see it; when they are sad, they try to hide it. I was chatting with a fellow blogger recently about sadness in writing, and I mentioned that often the most grief stricken moments in […]

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  7. I have had many similar thoughts. Where is the line between amateur writer and writer? Who decides this? Is it defined by passion level or if you are paid or published?
    Fantastic rant!

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    1. At the end of the day, I guess you have to make the choice. Put your words out there for an audience or reserve them for yourself to read in absolute privacy.
      I always think of Joan Didion’s words,”Writing is a hostile act.” it somehow makes me understand better why I feel so conflicted about this…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pain is an Inspiration for writing. Want better way to get the feelings onto a page? What better way to describe the pain and betrayal, by making a character suffer as one does through life? To Inflict a hurt on someone who doesn’t exist except between the pages to let out some of our own, to convey to others that this is how we feel, how we cope, who we are. I’m not a professional. But I am passionate. And my pen shall be my sword, to cut down my foes as they stand and lay my demons to rest.

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