Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Confessions of Yet Another Writer

Ancient Dedication to Hygieia, Delphi
Do you know a writer? Perhaps, you're a writer? If so, then I'm sure nothing I say here will be a surprise. For you self-proclaimed non-writers out there, hopefully, at the very least, this will help you understand writers better.

Writers have the best profession on the face of this earth.

1. We have no problem choosing our career since it chooses us. We aren’t plagued by doubts about our chosen profession. Thoughts of other career choices don’t wreak havoc with our thoughts. Why? Because writing chooses us. How many hundreds of writers have said this? They are telling the truth. We aren’t burdened with low job satisfaction. We love to write, and we are compelled to write. No other outlet will suffice.

2. We are allowed to create daily. Furthermore, creativity is encouraged and valued. The more unusual our perspective, the more our efforts are valued. One would think that this would be true of most professions, but it is not. The status quo is not of particular value to readers or writers.

3. Writing is cathartic. This is one of the best kept secrets of our profession. If the word got out, it would probably drive psychotherapists out of business. On an antidepressant or anxiolytic? Try journaling! Notice I didn’t mention anti-psychotics. This is because if you’re on an anti-psychotic, there’s a good chance that you’re already a prolific writer. Which leads to the next and, perhaps, most useful point:

4. Being a writer allows us all kinds of excuses. We have much more squiggle room than most. Because unique perspectives are encouraged, we are able to voice all kinds of opinions in all kinds of ways, ways that would be thoroughly unacceptable through other channels. We can use bad language and slang. We can rip apart people, systems, ideas, and beliefs. We discuss deep dark secrets and express the unthinkable. Freedom of expression is grand!

5. We also have numerous excuses for our behaviors and lifestyle choices. Everyone knows that writers are introverts so I can, for example, disappear for months at a time without anyone taking offense. It’s also common knowledge that we write best at odd times of the day or night. So it’s perfectly acceptable for me to stay up all night, go to sleep at 5am and wake at 12 noon. It also means that I will not be disturbed by my friends or family, who would never think to interrupt me. After all, I might finally be constructing that most perfect sentence. (Doubtful, since it hasn’t happened yet.)

6. I also have a wonderful excuse for my sluggish nature, lack of exercise, and poor food and snack choices. One of the absolute greatest excuses is that of just sitting there and doing nothing at all. Everyone knows that writers need the open space of nothing in order to create. Who else gets to justify doing nothing in our present society? Add to this that I can eat anything I want. If that means cereal and peanut butter for fifteen days straight, so be it! Tack onto this the added benefit of escaping an expensive dinner that would otherwise use up my entire monthly food budget. Oh, and that fifteen pound weight gain? No big deal. Everyone knows that all writers become alcoholics or fat or both. Heck, some of my friends are even trying to comfort me, convinced that I was too thin before. They couldn’t respond more perfectly if I had trained them.

7. One of the best excuses of all—it allows me justification for traveling anywhere, anytime. Need two weeks of uninterrupted time at the family mountain cabin to write? No problem. Writing about Greece? Must go again! Obviously, the previous nineteen trips weren’t enough. And of course, I must be at Delphi to produce superior prose.

Writers have the worst profession on the face of the earth. (Yes, I know. I just said the opposite in the paragraph above. I haven’t lost my faculties yet.)

1. “Writer,” by definition, implies, in many cases, jobless state. Oh, I have a job. I’m a writer. But I, like many other writers, am unpublished and, currently, unpaid. Being jobless, penniless and living off the goodwill of others becomes old really fast!

2. Writers hate to write. Yes, once again, I know this is the opposite of what I wrote above, but it is true. We do hate to write. We love it and we hate it—sort of like many important things and people in our lives. We write because we are compelled to. Have you ever thought about exactly what we are compelled to write and how painful writing about this “what” is? It’s worse than visiting the dentist and the gynecologist in the same day. Really. And we’re not talking a simple dental cleaning and pap smear. No, we’re talking teeth extractions, root canals and endometrial biopsies.

3. We must pay the price of our free use of the English language. This can get us into a heap of trouble (and I’m not talking grammar police), not just with the general public, but with our friends and loved ones. What writer hasn’t had a falling out with a friend or family member after they wrote something “incriminating?” And our warning of “know a writer, become the content” doesn’t go very far when they actually see it in print.

4. We’re reminded on a daily basis of our inadequacies and the miserable nature of our existence. This is one consequence of deep observation, contemplation, and feeling. Fortunately, the flip side is also true; otherwise, we’d all commit suicide, which leads to #5:

5. High rates of addiction, depression and suicide. Fortunately, this is of no consequence to me since my original profession of physician also holds these same high risks.

6. Warped sense of reality. Most writers live in a different reality than those who surround them. Early on, we question which is the true reality. This can get us into an even bigger heap of trouble. If we’re really unfortunate, we may win a room in Boston’s McLean Hospital next to Sylvia Plath. (Yes, I know she is no longer alive. What’s that about 5150? Please put that phone down!)

7. We lose track of styles, fashion, news, the date

8. Even Grecian travel has its problems. See for detailed explanation.

So-yes-I did notice that there are more items in the second list than in the first, but it doesn’t matter, because, if you were paying attention, I have no choice. I must write. Furthermore, there are oodles of repressed writers reading this. You know who you are. It’s time to admit it and join the infamous lot. Suffer the consequences, and enjoy the wonderful benefits.

Happy writing, everyone!

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