I used to be good at things, you know. I used to succeed without involving much effort and have time leftover to write and I was always reading and socializing and I worked hard and made money. I used to be able to do this, and now I’m afraid that I’m not doing any of it right. Maybe I just need to admit to myself that I’m afraid. I’m scared. I’m worried. I’m afraid.
I’m not giving enough time to my writing, when that’s really the most important thing. It’s always been the most important thing, ever since I was in second grade and I wrote my first poem, and was praised — it all fell upon me like glittering snow: you’re gifted you have a talent that’s amazing I don’t know how you do it and on and on until I was something of a star to some people, but now — I’m unfulfilled potential. I’m sitting on this novel inside of me, and instead of letting it out, word by word, until it’s finished, I’m smothering it. My enthusiasm, my excitement of the idea of it is smothering, too, and maybe I’m not ever meant to write a novel. Maybe I don’t have the thing that keeps you writing, the grit, the goddamned grit that makes you succeed in your ventures when it’s just you and a computer. What don’t you do then? What’s keeping you?
And I have pieces to write, pieces I believe in that I pitched to places that matter, place where I will be read all in the hope of becoming something. A literary agent from a high profile company contacted me based on one of those pieces, and now? I’m just someone else with a WordPress account and some deadlines to meet. The website that published the article that got the agent’s attention won’t take any more of my ideas. They won’t even answer my emails. That’s also the only piece I’ve ever been paid for — digressions. I have more work to be done, more words to write, things to say that could be good — no, enough of being modest, they could be fantastic — if I only set aside the time. I only seem to get work done on the second floor of a coffee shop and then I can write for about five hours, but it’s a cold walk, so cold that I sit at home and wait on the ideas and turn in pieces that could have been brilliant. What good is publication if your work is mediocre? Or even if it’s merely good? There are so many people who are good, and to succeed you have to be amazing — you have to be shining above your peers so that your light drowns everyone else out.
And I could. I believe I could, without vanity, without any inflation of my ego, but there are other things, other preoccupations and projects — there is my darling magazine that brings hope to so many writers like me. It gives them a place to write the prose that isn’t candy but warm, hearty bread that nourishes people, that feeds those that make it and those that eat it, but my bakery is getting busier all the time. My inbox is never empty and the drafts keep pouring in and I love it — I asked for it and hoped for it — but I’m getting to the point where I’ll soon need help. And no one will love it like I do, no one can look at a piece of writing and see what it needs like I can, or pick out a talented writer from one piece in a veritable sea of pieces, and know that they fit here, on the island of misfit talent. Where do I get the time?
And what if, what if I’m not cut out for podcasting? I’ve grown a little recording of two girls talking into being plucked from the ether by one of the largest networks in the country, and I listen to the other shows — my peers, comrades in arms — and I don’t know what I’m doing there. I can’t speak intelligently or humorously at length, and I come to recordings too prepared, with quotes from newspapers that I read verbatim and, though I’ve quit stuttering, I now pause when I lose my place in a sentence, building suspense out of which is meant to come insight, but instead, I simply finish a normal thought, and I wonder why anyone is listening. I wish there were feedback coming in, but instead it’s silence and I don’t know where to go from here.
I’m lost, and some of it is my brain chemistry convincing me of certain failure when really things are progressing normally, and some of it is being 26 and wanting to achieve something amidst my quarter-life-crisis, and some of it is jealousy — absolute jealousy of those who are more successful, more talented, more glorified, just more than me —
— and I’m failing my husband who has held me up all this time. He needs a partner and I’m so trapped in my head by disease and self-interested delusion that I forget to look through the bars and see. This is not a one-woman-show. He is not something I climb on top of to stay afloat. He is my sanity, and sometimes he is the one to take away the knives, and to hold me through the tears, and provide the support I want and criticisms I need, but he is my husband, and I am afraid that I am doing a very poor job of being his wife.
I am lost, and I’m tired of looking for the way. Would I even know if I found it? For now I will sit where I am and wait for something to come, whether it be a deus ex machina or simply a coherent thought, but if you need me, I will be here. Sitting — waiting for something to come.