You selfish bastard.
Do you not want to spend time with your loved ones?
Do you want to leave the house in disarray, dishes unwashed, clothes not ready for tomorrow, nothing cooked for dinner? Is it too much to drive the kids to their friend’s house or park, so they can get out in the daylight? Don’t they deserve a little free time too?
You selfish bastard. Sure, go write your stupid story and don’t take anybody else’s life into account. Enjoy your stingy time.
This is the disembodied voice I hear sometimes when I decide to go write. I write at the local Starbucks. I would write at home, but there are people who need questions immediately answered while I am in mid-sentence. Questions like: Do I have any clean underwear, I’m getting in the shower? Can I ride the bus home tomorrow with K. and then get them to take me home after we go to church, mom said to ask you, no she’s on the phone right now, she has to know right now, hold on K., so can I or not, they’ll take me home? Have you seen the receipt for that – oh, sorry, I forgot you were writing, I was just looking for that receipt from when we bought that fan, I’ll let you write, did you talk to S.? HEY! HEY! Can you get me a towel, I forgot to get one, no I think they’re in the dryer, or should be anyway? etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc…
These auditory hallucinations are the scourge of writers everywhere. The voice is legion. It will tell you whatever you want to hear. It will tell you to take the easy way out, which is to not write at all. So how do you get rid of these pesky nags? You can’t. Sorry, no magical panacea here. You have to be selfish. Think Ebenezer Scrooge without the change of heart. You don’t have to stand up for yourself, you have to stand up to yourself.
Part of the reason that you have to be so cold-hearted is that the better part of that guilt ridden, accusatory voice is you. Not the little angel that sits on your left shoulder, Animal House style, telling you to do the right thing. It’s the one on the other shoulder, the one that whispers themes like justification, procrastination, guilt, and fear into your hapless ears. Maybe Animal House isn’t the right analogy. I always rooted for the Devil.
The point is that part of the voice may be right, you may be selfish, but you don’t have to carry the excessive emotional baggage that comes with that realization. If all you want to do is write, then write. Writing is a solitary adventure. So you have to make time for yourself. Selfish is good. Stop what you are doing and say it with me – Sel – fish is Gooooooood!
If you listen to the whispering prat, you’re going to sit at home and do nothing anyway. Then later, curse yourself for not writing. I know this because Tyler knows this.
So the next time your loved one walks into your room while you’re packing the laptop and mumbles something about spending quality time with you, cut them off in mid-sentence, scream at them for not understanding your creative side, and then, only after they express their confusion in tears, do you scream at them, “I’M GOING TO WRITE SOME FUCKING POETRY AND I’LL BE HOME WHEN I DAMN WELL PLEASE!”
Just remember, you’re really screaming at yourself, at that voice, and not them. And if they don’t understand what happened, you can always explain this later.
“I was yelling at the voices in my head, who are legion, and want me to find people’s underwear.”