“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical, don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” -Franz Kafka
“At the evident risk of seeming ridiculous, I want to begin by saying that I have tried for much of my life to write as if I’m composing my sentences to be read posthumously. I hope this isn’t too melodramatic or self-centered a way of saying that I attempt to write as if I did not care what reviewers said, what peers thought, or what prevailing opinions may be.” -Christopher Hitchens
Jeffery Euginedes paraphrased these guys when he was giving his talk about his writing process at the National Book Festival this past Saturday. And though my first thought was, “And now Christopher Hitchens is dead”, my second was “Oh my God. That’s me.”
I’m currently in the midst of writing a story that I’m hoping to turn into something more. At least, that’s my mental plan. I have been trapped on the same paragraph for a month. I open up the document often enough…I stare at it for a few minutes and then take to the internet to find out whether I’m using the latest and greatest word processor.
I’m already aware that I’m my own worst enemy. I’m a lazy perfectionist— I like things to be done to a certain level, in a certain way and boy am I ever glad that I’m smart/talented enough to not have to work so hard to get it done. But more than that, there’s fear holding me back. I’m afraid of writing something that all of my friends and family would read and hate, a la Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl: Season 5, Episode 4. (Don’t judge me.) I’m afraid that my parents will be embarrassed by the sex or that my friends won’t appreciate their reinterpretations or that even worse— maybe hurt by them. I want to be secure in the knowledge that while I am among the living, I am doing the people I know proud. But perhaps pretending that I’m writing like I’m already dead will give me the freedom to do what I need to do to really live.