Being a writer is so much a part of my identity that my growth as a human depends on my perception of what it means to be one.
Writers are, in many tragedy-loving writerly fantasies, supposed to be the following in order to be good:
Inconsiderate self-absorbed docile fucktards. Life ruiners, narcissists, relationship saboteurs, hopeless romantics, idiots, unorganized, messy, questioning, obsessive, verbose, cryptic, mysterious weirdos sitting in the corner winking to no one while writing on a napkin.
I am a lot of those things above, but not all of them. And I wish to be better than I am at life in a lot of ways. But not all of them. But I can't wink so. Fuck it.
This is related to another post I made about people "wanting to be a singer". If you sing, you are a singer. If you write, you are a writer. There is no become, there is only do. I wish Yoda had said that instead. Fuck. Now people are gonna think I'm dissing Yoda.
I have a word document 100+ pages long of song lyrics. Most of which have never been sung, and will never be. I have 11 full handwritten journals of piddley updates about my life, talking about myself in the third person, self-therapy session narcissitic bull shit that I spit out because I needed someone to talk to and I didn't trust anyone but myself. I have hundreds of pros/cons lists about big and small life choices that would bore anyone but me, and I'm glad that I did them because it helped clear my head, and it helped me learn who I am and why I do the things I do. It is literally the *act of* writing that helps me. It's therapy. It heals me. Re-reading my own journal entries seems on the surface one of those narcissistic* things, but I find it incredibly valuable when you apply some distance. Who better to teach you about life than you and your own mistakes? How much more poignant could a story be than one that you've actually lived through? That is, if you can read what you wrote...
*I've found many people are misguided about what narcissism actually means. Look it up.
A common way of thinking is that creative people have messy handwriting or vice versa or some sort of corelation to make some sort of point to make us with messy handwriting feel better ('post hoc ergo proctor hoc' aka Fallacies 101). There are some articles claiming that ugly handwriting means you are eccentric and creative and that it's okay. I agree that it is okay, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm a creative person and yes, my handwriting sucks, but I truly believe it's because I didn't care enough to make it better. And let's not subtelly spread a rumor that the converse is also true - people with nice handwriting are not creative. Because I can prove you wrong in a second. But some of these articles that "prove" that "being irresponsible" makes you "creative" kind of make me cringe. It's just an excuse for those of us who would rather make shit with our day than suck it up and be more organized to NOT DO THAT which at the end of the day only hurts us because in this day in age you've gotta be an artist AND a business person unless you come from money.
My messy handwriting aside, my messy hair aside, the way I look or choose to dress, etc. is one thing. But a messy life is another thing. And it's charming for awhile. The key words here are "for awhile". Trust me, I've been there, and a big chunk of me is still there.
Before I had my day job back, I pulled all-nighters because I just didn't want to go to bed. Too often. In the end I was less effective. Although, I did have some CRAZY ideas in the morning. When I was shaking and my eyes were twitching and I had an insatiable hunger for breakfast burritos...
If you pull all-nighters too often, you're gonna think adding 3 memes about breakfast burritos to your blog post is a good idea. Case in point. (hey, they all made me laugh. shut up, meg. ok, yeah you're right.)
I think it's a nasty cross for us writer types to bear, and a nasty converse subtextual cross for "non-writers" to bear, that all of these tropes of writer-dome have to be true. You don't have to be messed up in order to be an insightful writer. Well, you don't have to *try to get so messed up that you hurt yourself*. I am a writer AND a contrarian. That means I am creative AND I tend toward choosing things that most people do not. I like to be the person who questions things and I like to do what other people are not doing *on purpose* just to see what it's like. Perhaps this is also connected with risk-taking. It's fun for me. My mother would tell you that all my choices in life are to be the opposite of what she would do just to spite her. I maintain this is not the case, but I do have a tendency toward rebelling against anything common or "nice". Why? I think it's fun. I own that. And maybe people who tend to spend a lot of time doing creative things also have fun doing the 'different' thing for the same reason.
But let's not delude ourselves into thinking that someone like me has any more potential of creating something worthwhile than someone who is not a risk taker or who likes a nice routine including regular trips to the mall and binge-watching House Hunters who is for all intents and purposes a Basic Bitch (which by the way I HATE that term and wish it to die a thousand deaths by the hands of an army of Ugg-wearing Vera-Bradley-bag-toting Sephora managers hurling a steaming hot soy latte at the coiner's eyeballs before retiring to their egyptian cotton king-size bed set and matching decorative pillows and fucking themselves silly with dildos they made themselves out of organic polymers they created themselves while listening to Insane Clown Posse.)
Many interconnected thoughts are on my mind about all this. The whole reason the term Basic Bitch came about was a sort of hipster mentality that it's *not cool* or at worst *not okay* to like mainstream things. That's all well and good if we examine the reason for liking those things and find that it is hurtful to others. So is it? Is it because the Basic Bitch doesn't think her choices through well enough? She isn't as socially concious as the average Change.org petitioner thinks she should be? I have a hard time with both ends of the spectrum. A recent trend in feminism brings up the idea that it is actually a responsibility of a woman who calls herself a feminist to make strong choices that better our sex. Or at least, do not detract from it. I find this very interesting and worthy of comment.
Back to the writer point. I encourage anyone who doesn't write down their thoughts about anything to start doing it. For yourself. Start a journal, buy a nice moleskin and a nice pen and treat yourself to listening to what *YOU* have to say. Because no matter who you are, or how nice or messy your handwriting is, or how Basic you are or think you are, or how weird you are, or what the fuck ever, your thoughts are worth something. If only to your own self 5 years from now when you find that journal and read it again and learn something about your own life.
Back to the tortured writer point. If you're creative and you're kind of a mess, you can organize yourself and still be creative. You won't lose your good ideas, or your ability to *harness* being messy and improvisational or weird as fuck if you take steps to be more organized or healthy. You might even find it helps. Your writer self can be a romantic fucking mess but you, the actual writer, who controls your writer self and everything she does, can take a time out to eat a god damn salad and take a god damn shower and go to god damn sleep. #twosoups