I am a writer who hasn’t written in ten days, yet I tell myself that real writers take every possible moment to write, which I haven’t. So, am I a writer? Perhaps I needed this time to put down my pen and walk away from my computer, yet I am most alive when I can write for myself and by myself.
It’s not whether I call myself a writer, but it is how I view my very essence. Writing is my soul’s most comfortable form of expression. It provides clarity when I am confused or have a problem. It is what helps me come to terms with so many issues in my life. It is my savior, a gift from my spirit that recycles back into my very being. Writing becomes my pressure valve for my internal turmoil, removing the build-up of my many interactions and a way to process what has gone wrong and what seems quite fine.
I am not a writer who goes into her home office to create strings of words, coming out hours later for a cup of coffee or one who, midday, takes a shower and changes into day clothes from her night time robe and slippers. I am not a writer who smokes or drinks without caring how her house might look or whether the dog has been fed or the bed made. I worry about all of these little pieces of my life: the neatness of my environment; whether Emma has enough food and water in her bowls; who’s on the end of the ringing phone; the mail coming; the clutter on my desk. They are all welcomed disturbances that ultimately help me focus and then write. I distract myself to let the discomfort of my words settle into a pleasant array of articulated dust that I eventually breathe in.
Along with my assumptions of writers come my lack-of-self-confidence and belief that they must be better than I. They are more deserving because in their total envelopment of their craft to the exclusion of the outside, they can create in a way that I never will be able to. I assume they turn down social visits, lunches, meals of all sorts, time with family, a great television show, an invitation to a good movie. Their families know not to call or bother them during their writing periods. I can be bothered and often times I want to be; quite frankly, I need to be, but I am still a writer.
I have heard that most writers write not only because they want to but also because they have to, and I have to! There are easier activities to complete than sitting down at the computer and crafting sentences or putting my pen to paper. I could dictate, share verbally with another or even talk to myself. But nothing is as satisfying for me as writing. I write my story, my thoughts, the injustices inflicted on me and those I have inflicted on others and then I process them to understand where my perceptions might have taken a U-turn from reality. I process my wrongs about something and write them out to the point that I can be ready to apologize…often to myself first. Or I can see that I have no need to tell another what they did to hurt me, for I have already shared my thoughts with myself and have forgiven them through my writing. This works quite fine and I can move on. My writing is a way to judge myself sweetly, something for which the real world doesn’t always provide or rarely sees.
It wasn’t until I was older, I mean a lot older, did I accept that I have a gift—that I might even be better than just a ‘good’ writer, better than just a pleasant writer. I used to see myself as someone who liked to write but not really someone with as much talent as other writers. But now I own my talent, my extraordinary ability to put my thoughts onto paper, allowing myself to see who I really am—a writer.
Yes, I am a writer because I need to write, I love to write, and I have to write in some form in order to process my world—and your world, too. It might not be for hours at a time and I still need to make myself presentable in the mornings before I take on my craft, but it is my craft and I own it.
So, even a writer needs a break from her craft and even a writer needs to give herself a break. Therefore, I am giving myself a break. A writer is who I am. There, I’ve said it. No, actually, I have written it.