|We've All Felt This Way, Right?|
I’m starting to believe that my creativity has died. That it has vanished into the ether, like my youth and my disposable income. When I was 23 I had the imagination to write whatever I wanted. I wasn’t as good a writer as I am now, in the technical sense – I was full of the energetic impatience of youth. I was cocky, using unnecessarily big words and glib cliches. I’m a better writer now, but bereft; back then, I was full of ideas. They fell of my fingers and onto the screen like the alcohol and drugs that got splashed and swallowed and snorted into my young body. Now it’s difficult for me to even come up with an idea for this fucking blog. I try to find funny, interesting stories about my domestic life to write about – and I know they’re there, because my kids are fucking mental – but there’s only so many blog posts I can write about not getting enough sleep, or trying to be a good parent while depressed. And outside of my domestic life, I have no life. Save work, which I don’t write about much, because I would like to remain unfired.
When I was twenty-three, I didn’t have the time to write. I was a burgeoning alcoholic. My weekends were spent on booze-fueled quest for trashy chicks in trashier nightclubs. My weekdays were spent fueling my weekends. I was young, drunk and full of spunk. My passion for writing was pushed aside as I lived the life of a typical twentysomething with more balls than brains. I guess I assumed my writing would be waiting for me. That it would marinate, and I would come back to it. But that's not quite how it works. As I grew older I became frustrated by my lack of forward momentum. I wrote bit-parts of novels and essays with little or no passion or direction. The people – family and friends – who encouraged and lauded me, stopped asking me about my writing "career", some asked when I would get a real one. It became an embarrassment, a noose around my neck. David the writer, became David who can't find his direction. So I quit.
Slowly my depression grew. I'm not going to tell you that the loss of my dream and the acceleration of my mental illness were in any way analogous, but they certainly complemented one another. Eventually the party started to wind down. When the music stopped and everybody left, I sat at the bar drinking bottom shelf liquor and bemoaning the gaping hole in my life.
I met my wife around the time I decided to wind down the partying lifestyle. I kept drinking; I just did a lot more of it alone. You can strip away the friends, and the music and the flashy lights, but as long as you have the booze, as long as you get the buzz, none of that matters. I hadn't yet realized I was an alcoholic, because I hadn't tried to stop. That's when you know she has you in her clutches: when you try to leave her, but you keep on coming back.
It seemed the more I drank, the less I wrote. The less I wrote, the less I felt like a writer. Until I stopped completely. Of course life moved on, as it always does. My wife and I got married and had kids; we eventually faced my addiction, and I failed and failed and failed at conquering it. I had some dry spells, but I'd gradually ease back into casual drinking, and then one night I'd get fucked up and vomit in the bath tub, and I'd start again on the long path to sobriety.
One day, three or four May's ago, the air tingling with the onset of summer and my wife's trust returning, I asked her could I spend some time alone writing. Our son was 6 months old and we lived in a small apartment where space was an issue. So every Monday morning, for a few months, I took myself down to the public library and wrote for a few hours on end. This was perfect, because I was doing a lot of reading: and discovered some wonderful novels in this time. Anyway, I had the idea of writing a thriller/revenge novel. The idea wasn't blistering, but it was okay, and I figured if I could write it well, it would be unique and interesting. After four weeks, I read over it, and it was shit. Absolute garbage. The pacing was all wrong; it read more like a synopsis than a script. It was cheesy and without of any kind of originality or ingenuity. I was gutted. I sat in shock for about twenty minutes, then I got up returned my books to the lady at the counter, and quit writing. Then I went for a beer.
And that leads me to this blog. Which I started sometime in January. Some two and a half years later. I wasn't writing for popularity, or for traffic, or to promote anything; I was just writing for the sake of it: For myself. Although I have to admit I am absolutely thrilled that I have a small few regular readers who seem to love what I write. I'm grateful for their support. So what's this post all about then? Why do I feel my creativity has left me? The answer is: I don't know.
I'm not quitting writing again, or anything rash like that. I need to return to fiction. I need to start reading again, and writing down the ideas that come to me. I need to work those mental muscles so I can produce ideas I'm proud of, not staring at the screen wondering if I should buy a puppy just so I can write a blog post about him shitting on the floor. So maybe this blog will take a back seat a little. Maybe it'll be the stepping stone back into serious writing – which is what I intended it to be in the first place.
So if I occasionally disappear for a little while, don't panic; I'm not gone anywhere. I've just got some other stuff going on. And maybe I'll even send you all a signed copy of my first novel. After all, guy can dream.