I could come up with all kinds of nice things to say about what writing means to me, but they wouldn't be true. Of course, this is a bad day, a day that I have to get some editing done. I feel like I'm ripping out my heart in a way that never happens when I'm doing a first draft. So keep that in mind.
For yours truly, writing means...
- an escape from life's jerks. I spent any number of hours in school writing poetry that was about something completely different than anything I was experiencing. Or poetry that let me feel sorry for myself. Or poetry that let me stop feeling sorry for myself, until I was ready to feel sorry for myself again.
- an addiction. If I don't write something (or if I just do editing for a while), I get depressed. It's worse if I'm writing something, and it stinks. Really, really stinks. If I don't write something good, I'm a failure. I beat myself up about it.
- something to fiddle with. Life isn't perfect, and you can't control it. You shoot yourself in the foot when you try too hard. You can piss around with a piece of writing for the rest of your life, trying to perfect it. Failing, but trying. Beating your head against the wall can feel good. I swear.
- a way to say something unacceptable. If you can't say it in real life, dress it up in characters and call it fiction. Everything from sex to old resentments you just refuse to put to bed. Pretty it up enough, and people will agree with you, whether you're right or not. Justification! Yes!
- a way to feel good about yourself when nothing else works. On those days when I feel like the world's worst mom, friend, or lover, on those days when you just look at yourself in the mirror and feel just about ready to spit in your own eye, at least you can say, "Hey, at least I'm a writer."
- the world's most luxuriant, blissfully ecstatic way to show off my mad skillz at finessing the words and pushing the buttons. One of those "if you have to ask" things, I guess. Usually, I'm the magician's apprentice. But sometimes I'm the magician.