"Something about the process...I dunno."
I am writing right now because it is Saturday, and on Saturdays I write. I am writing because I am a writer and it is what I do. It is Saturday, I am a writer, and so I write.
I don’t know what to write, or what to say. I keep stopping and starting and hoping something profound decides to fire in my brain, shoot down my arms, and explode through my fingertips onto the page. Writing feels like I’m knee deep in a gunky swamp, and mere minutes after putting all my energy and effort into heading in a direction I realize it is not the direction in which I need to be heading. This way there’s a snake. That way there’s quicksand. Over yonder lies some indiscernible swamp mass. Is it an animal? A plant? A swamp monster? Fuck if I know. Somewhere I’ve lost a Wellie along the way, somewhere a swarm of swamp insects buzzes and hums, and somewhere something is lurking and watching through the vines and trees. It’s not pleasant. It’s not fun right now. It’s not coming along swimmingly. Should I head back and find my lost boot? Should I head toward this dark, overgrown, hissing part of the swamp or that slimy part that smells like living death?
I guess it doesn’t matter so much. What matters is the forward motion, the continued wading through the shit to get to somewhere, anywhere other than the place in which I find myself stuck and sinking. What matters is that I am writing. What appears as a floating swamp turd of a piece of writing now is the fertilizer out of which better, less turd-like pieces of writing will grow. Out of which I will grow. You can grow flowers where shit used to be. You can grow better flowers with the appropriate application of the appropriate type of shit to the soil. (And before you know it you can watch your mixed metaphors grow!)
Not every piece of writing I come up with is going to be profound and laudable. Most won’t be. It’s a struggle. It’s a struggle to struggle in front of people, and it’s a struggle to struggle at something I love in front of people. In front of myself. In front of everyone and no one at all. I want to present the world (and very much myself as well) with beautiful, nurtured, well-tended and fought for pieces of writing, but I don’t want anyone to see me doing it, and, if I’m honest, I don’t always want to even do the work. Obsessed with only the finished product. All the polish, all the editing, all the revision, none of the process. And the process is everything. There is nothing without the process.
That’s what this daily blog is for, I suppose. To practice a process and invite you all into it with me rather than going it alone, wiping the sweat from my brow when you aren’t looking, and adding to the lies that what we love comes easy to us, that love is effortless, and that the end result is the greatest prize and the only worthy offering.
Fuck that. If I keep waiting until I’m a perfect, worthy offering I’m not going to have any life left to give or to live because it’s not an achievable goal. Is this really what I want? To suffer and while away in darkness and isolation? I mean, sometimes, yes. But what I really want is to build the life I’ve always wanted, the life I want. The life I want isn’t some far off projection. The life I want is happening right now because it is the only life I get and it is the ground and grunt work, the fertilizer for what could be.
I’m not going to get out of this swamp if I don’t commit to a direction and get moving. So, friends, I’m gonna hike up my pants, fasten the chinstrap of my bucket hat, ditch my remaining boot, and get to squelching across this turd swamp. Feel free to join. It’s not always gonna be fun, but it’s gonna be something. And whatever that something is, it’s always better to struggle toward it with someone rather than to face the foreboding and treacherous mire alone.
(I would apologize for the heavy use of the word “turd” and other poop imagery in this piece, but actually I wouldn’t because I don’t want to. So, I won’t. Hope you enjoyed turd proliferation.)