Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Professional

My writing comes in the most inconvenient of spurts.

Ideas that seem amazing and wonderful only happen when I’m in the dentist’s chair, on the subway without a pencil, in the middle of a conversation with a higher up who is very carefully dictating the dos and don’ts of summer share etiquette (do bring wine, don’t bring red).

When I make it to a computer or the edge of a cocktail napkin, it stumbles out completely wrong. Once astute is now trite, ridiculous, middle school, even. Fragments on old notebooks boast, “power struggles of the culturally defeat, hipster schisms, the sound of one-headed napping.” What was I thinking? Why can’t I think it just a little bit better now?

It comes so easily and it leaves so easily. So much for the next great American beach read. I go back to wondering if my childhood teddy bear, Rosie, comes alive while I’m at work and judges me. (All conclusions point to yes.)

I’m looking at a half-blank page, tweaking something off the cuff so that it can become precise and meaningful, something that could theoretically fit into a publication and ready myself for waves of rejection and nausea, in that order. I wish I had picked something else, something that could be measured with a yardstick. Something that’s either right (write?) or wrong, with less left up to interpretation, opinion and circumstance. The tide and solstice. Interesting characters based on interesting people and my finicky moods.

Some days I’m sort of on—a low way to be sure, but the highest way for me—most I simply am not. And while practicing may make me good, I wonder if I hold the talent to ever become great. That’s the worst part. Some people are blessed, some are not, and it takes our entire lives to find out into which category we fall.

Julius Erving’s quote by way of Halberstam comes to mind. “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”

In the meantime, should inspiration strike, I’ve got a notepad ready…


Anonymous said...


PeeJ said...

I am SO with you on that "I've never got a pencil and paper when I've just had the best idea EVER for a story" thing. Oh yes, I am I am I am!


JamiDru said...

ah my week exactly.
You are inspiring though, so ya know......

Simple but so familiar:
"In the meantime, should inspiration strike, I’ve got a notepad ready…"

AmourArmor said...

Write because you have something to say, because there's something other people need to know...and the rest will follow.

And remember, most people aren't "great" until after they're dead.