Last night, as I often do, I took a walk. Late, when everyone else was inside their homes, in their beds, I aimlessly roamed my neighborhood with music in my ears and wanderlust in my heart and that’s when, after almost 30 years, it finally hit me: The decision to be a writer (not to be confused with the desire to write) is a form of insanity.
You see, the desire to write, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, it can oftentimes be a very good thing, a form of therapy, cathartic release, emotional transformation. But the moment that I decided to be a writer, to devote my life to putting thoughts into words and stringing those words together for others to consume and critique, I had done the psychological equivalent of volunteering to be placed in a padded room. I consented to be bound in the strait jacket of my own mind, knowing that when that door locked behind me, I’d be forced to rummage around in my head, drag my creativity to the surface, harass my imagination for stimulation, lest I go crazy. Because to be a writer is to live in your own head first, last and foremost. To muse, ponder, think and then ruminate some more.
I knew this, and I made the choice anyway. I went from being a person who writes, one who occasionally traveled to the wasteland where unknown authors and unread novels go to die, to one who immigrated there, desperately seeking water in the desert of artistic struggle, knowing that I had chosen to be comforted by the very words that would always be a barrier between myself and the rest of the world. I chose to immerse myself daily in a struggle that might very well be as pointless as non-alcoholic beer, but perhaps, if I stomp out the juice with enough vigor and persistence, and wait with confidence and determination, one day I shall have wine.