This is my 365th post. If you’ll remember, a few years ago I made a pact to post on this blog every day for a year. If I had kept that pact, I would have reached my 365th post long before now. But I’m still here, and I’m proud as anything of that. In honor of this special occasion, I thought I’d let someone else talk about writing and its strife. Although I admit I haven’t experienced a number of the extremes he mentions, I’m glad to think that if I work harder–if I truly work to hone my craft–I can join the ranks of him, and of all the other talented names on my bookshelf. If not their ranks, then hopefully I can at least share in some of their noble sufferings.
“Damn the Writers”
By Owen Egerton
Spare a blessing for the writers.
We have traded in the bars and bullfights for university jobs and Netflix. We sink into credit card debt awaiting publication, then find the advance won’t cover the monthly interest. Oh Lord, the books that took us years and blood have the shelf life of warm goat milk. In desperation, we write zombie erotica ebooks under false names, outselling our life’s work 10 to 1. Our friends and family flip through our drafts, shake their heads, and return to their game of Candy Crush Saga.
In the midst of all this, may we be writers.
May we grieve and sin and celebrate all in the same swallow.
May we seize morning light and squeeze it into ink and toner.
Grant us coffee and honesty and laptops that do not connect to the internet.
Teach us to be chefs, plucking herbs from sidewalk cracks and mushrooms from basement floors. And if we fail to provide nourishment for the hungry, may we at least offer the aroma of cooking.
We are starving, God. Every last one of us.
May we persevere remembering Emily Dickinson, John Kennedy Toole, and Henry David Thoreau. That said, God, we’d like the timing to be a little kinder in our case.
Deliver us, oh Lord, from the temptation to once again check our Amazon ranking or Google our own name.
May we write books worthy of being banned, outrageous enough to be burned.
May we offend.
May we be open to the wisdom of our colleagues and not a give a fuck if the workshop likes it.
May we visit the hearts of pedophiles and tour bus conductors and volunteers working suicide hotlines.
May we sneak into the funerals of strangers.
May we run mad so we may write for the mad. May we face brokenness so we can give voice to the broken.
A little happiness would be nice as well.
May we remember that how we live is essential to how we write. And refuse to live small.
Stoned or sober, may we piss in the pools of wealthy neighbors, eat in bars with health code violations, and steal bibles from homeless shelters.
May we make love loudly, even when alone.
May we embarrass, embarrass, embarrass ourselves.
May we be lost. May we pen maps so others might become lost as well.
May our greatest risk not be our words but our lives. And may our lives spill words like molten rock.
Damn the writers, God. Then bless us with the words to describe it.
If I sound ridiculous it is because I am ridiculous. This is my religion. This is my faith.
God, cast your gaze upon us. See us in the kitchens, closets, coffee houses. Sitting and scribbling, typing, staring off between words. We raise our souls like a sloshing glass of grain alcohol. We toast one another. We smash the glass and light a match.
Forgive our clichés. Heal our poor grammar. And thank you, dear God, for Spell Check.
Oh Lord, hear our prayer.