I’m relatively new to writing, at least in a public forum, so I still freeze up when someone asks me about my blog. It’s scary enough for me to utter the terrifying words “I am a writer”, but when I do finally spit them out it’s awkward. Either I mutter under my breath incoherently or shout abruptly a couple decibels above what would be expected during polite conversation.
Hey, there’s a reason I hide behind a computer.
If I haven’t frightened people off with my uncomfortable announcement, then I am inevitably faced with a slew of questions for which I am entirely unprepared.
How can I explain the feeling of satisfaction and release I get from writing to non-writers? Wait, I’ve got it:
Writing is like sex.
When I find inspiration for my writing, it burns through my body like the darkest temptations; if I don’t see it to fruition then it threatens to consume me. Like a teenager who first discovers their sexuality, there are times when I can think of nothing else. My desires overwhelm and distract me like an itch needing to be scratched. My mind aches for the kind of relief that sex offers our bodies: complete satisfaction.
Like most people, I start the day fresh (well, not literally because my kids only let me shower once every few days) and ready to focus on the tasks lying ahead of me. My mind is foggy, only half present while the rest is clinging desperately to some sweet dream I can no longer remember. Writing is the farthest thing from my mind.
Until one of my kids does or says something hilarious or heartbreakingly profound, and out of nowhere an idea knocks me down like a runaway train. If you’ve ever spent an extended period of time with an ex or someone with whom you share exquisite but unrequited sexual tension, then you’ll understand the feeling of having an idea dancing around seductively in your head, but no chance to pursue it.
At first, I ignore it, hoping it will go away on it’s own, but eventually it starts to irritate me like an itchy tag on a new item of clothing. My mind becomes overstimulated and sensitive the way your skin feels when you get excited: when every hair on your body is standing on end, in anticipation. The longer the day goes on, the more irritable I become. All I can think about is getting my hands on a computer, and the forbidden nature of it makes it seem even more appealing.
My children need attention, activities, and food, and the weight of that responsibility begins to pull me down. I’m uncomfortable in my own skin, and I can’t sit still. The words that are so desperate to escape my mind are pacing anxiously, like caged lions, waiting for their eventual liberation. I snap at the children, the dogs, and my husband; They are the nosey roommates standing between me and my conquest. Didn’t they see the sock on the door?!
By the time the kids go to bed at night, I can think of only one thing. As soon as I am free from their darling little clutches, I race down the stairs to find my laptop. I open it unceremoniously; there is simply no time for foreplay. My fingers ache to start typing. Of course, the battery is dead on the laptop, so I fumble clumsily with the power cord, trying to get it into the wall so I can proceed with the release I so desperately need. I think this is going to be a quickie.
Finally, I am sitting in front of my computer, with the power cords successfully attached, and I am ready to burst. My fingers begin to fly across the keys as though they have minds of their own and I am simply reading their thoughts as they unfold on the page. I am lost in the moment, oblivious to the world around me, as I feverishly expel the thought that has been plaguing me for hours.
The words flow out of my mind like a cascade at first, almost faster than I can type them, but then slowly find a rhythm: an ebb and flow that is pleasing to us both.
When the last word is entered onto the screen, I sit back, only realizing now that my back hasn’t touched the chair since I started writing. I sigh a breath of relief as the weight that has been threatening to pull me down all day is lifted from my chest. Every cell in my body is quiet and at peace. I am weightless for a moment: silent and empty.
For a while I feel nothing: I have no thoughts. The intense and undeniable desire I’ve endured all day is gone. It’s as if I spent every emotion and every inspiration I had in my body has been poured into one piece of writing. I begin to wonder if I’ll ever have another idea for a blog post again, and that is both freeing and unsettling at the same time. Will it ever be that good again?
I go to bed that night wondering and searching for the next idea: my next paramour.
I am a writer, which I guess makes me like a nymphomaniac.
For anyone who has ever asked me why I write, I bet you’re sorry you did now.