I can’t beg my brain for one more line of letters, another half-baked metaphor that’s never as good in person as it sounded in my head.
I don’t want to be so fucking angry all the time.
Everything around my writing feels like a struggle.
In The Adderall Diaries, Stephen Elliot talks about how he had writers block for two years after his dad starting trolling the Internet, leaving comments and reviews claiming that Elliot was a liar. That he lied about his childhood. That what he wrote wasn’t true.
My task at hand is trying to turn my first draft into something worth reading. I catch myself adding story lines and plot twists that bear a striking resemblance to my own hang-ups. (“If I can fix them on the page, maybe I can fix myself.”)
I keep thinking of Ms. Rukeyser’s quote. “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”
I’m going to share a big block of copy here from an essay titled, “On Autobiographical Fiction,” by Jonathan Franzen because as soon as I read it I cried. (Not that me crying is something out of the ordinary.)
But what I’ve learned is that there’s potential value, not only for your writing but also for your relationships, in taking autobiographical risks: that you may, in fact, be doing your brother or your mother or your best friend a favor by giving them the opportunity to rise to the occasion of being written about–by trusting them to love the whole you, including the writer part. What turns out to matter most is that you write as truthfully as possible. If you really love the person whose material you’re writing about, the writing has to reflect that love. There’s still always a risk that the person won’t be able to see the love, and that your relationship may suffer, but you’ve done what all writers finally reach the point of having to do, which is to be loyal to themselves.
(Farther Away, p. 140)
And there it is, “…be loyal to themselves.”
I’ve been disloyal and distant. I’ve run from the page at every chance I get. I changed my fucking name. I stop short. My ideas get shut down before they can move from thought to action. I’m stuck on the page because I’m stuck in real life.
Earlier in Franzen’s essay, he comments on, “…the idea of becoming the person who can write the book you need to write.”
Dear lord, I think to myself, is all this anger masking the fear that I’m never going to become the person who can write the book I need to write?
OR…maybe this “book I need to write” is its own mask. A half-baked metaphor for whatever it is I want to become.