Almost 30 years ago I had a bumper sticker that I pinned on the bulletin board over my desk. It said, “I’d rather be writing my novel.” I never put it on my car, of course, because that would be admitting publicly that I wanted to write a novel. I am still a pretty closeted writer. But today I would pin up a different bumper sticker. It would say, “I’d rather be finished writing my novel.”
That desk was tiny and white and adorned with three periwinkle shells lined up smaller to larger, a Mont Blanc pen given to me by an ex-girlfriend, a black leather journal, a bottle of sparkly fairy dust with a handmade tag that said. “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.”
I was in love with the idea of being a writer. I was clueless.
Today I have a baby MacBook Air. My desk is the dining room table surrounded by bills, papers, chargers, coffee cups, books, and backpacks. Or it’s in the basement in a semi-finished room that holds more books, boxes of stuff that came off of the dining room table, Aunt Lottie’s cedar chest, a mountain of wrapping paper and gift bags, an ancient filing cabinet, an overwhelmed shredder, and spider webs. Or it’s at Panera Bread or Starbucks. Sometimes it’s even my bed, pillows holding me and the Mac in a precarious balance.
It takes me an hour to write five sentences and I then I hate them. Or I finish a chapter and feel like I’ve won the lottery. Or I set aside time to write and clean out the fridge instead. Or I search and search for the right word and finally find it. Or I don’t.
The bloom is off the rose.
But still, what a rose.
Maybe my bumper sticker should read, “I’d rather be writing my novel because what choice do I have?”
What about you? Is writing a choice or were you born this way?