going on and on
When I was a teenager, I would stay out late and come home all keyed up. My brain would be on fire from too much coffee and too many hours sitting with friends trying to figure out the meaning of life. (I was emo before emo was cool. Or maybe after. Whichever.)
I would come home, grab a snack, go upstairs and boot up my dad’s IBM clone. I’d stick in my giant floppy disk and I would write. I would go crazy, sometimes. Pages and pages about my feelings and the world and the boys I just met and my friends and what college would be like and blah blah blah blah blah. I would write essays and plays and stream of consciousness and poetry. I would save it all to my floppy and then go to my room. Once there, I’d often grab a spiral notebook and keep writing.
When I got to college I had the luxury (?) of a long-distance boyfriend, so I was able to agonize over long, tortured letters. Pages and pages of baring my soul. I didn’t need a journal, I didn’t need floppy disks, because my boyfriend was my journal. Then when we finally moved in together, I agonized over my spiral notebooks and my Goodwill typewriter. I borrowed a friend’s computer for my papers, but it felt so foreign to me. I hated it. (Both the keyboard, and the structure of the papers.)
After college, in my first real job, I wrote advertising copy. Most of it was written longhand in legal notepads, then typed on my iMac (a blue one). My deadlines were short and weird, so I had a lot of time to myself – and my own office. This meant I filled even more legal notepads with stories and ideas for stories and the first twenty pages of plays and novels. I wrote anything and everything that came to mind. I brought the notepads home, ripped out the pages, and saved them in giant three ring binders.
Then, life started happening. I got married. I got pregnant. I quit my job. I got a new job. I got pregnant again. Etc. Suddenly, I didn’t have access to a quiet corner office and as many legal notepads as I could get my hands on. I still wrote for a living, but by the time I made it home at night, I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a computer.
I stopped writing.
Until one day I started again. As spontaneously as I had stopped, I started again. I realized that the emails I sent everyday, the haiku I made up for friends, they could be the same as the notepads and the letters and the typewriters.
Suddenly, I had written a book. Two books. Three books. I had been blogging for five years. Tweeting. Writing annoying statuses on Facebook.
And then I realized something else. Even being surrounded by writing like this, I haven’t written in a long time. I haven’t sat down with a pen and paper and just gone stream of consciousness crazy like I used to do every night. I have somehow stopped writing because of my writing.
It’s something I’d like to get back to. I miss it. It’s funny, because, when you think of chasing three kids, stumbling through life, keeping things in order – it makes sense that there wouldn’t be a lot of time for writing. But the real reason, I think, is because writing for me has been shortened to headlines, quips. Sometimes there are real stories, but it seems like in the freedom to write anything, anytime, I’ve lost the freedom to be completely free with my words. There is always an audience now. Not a bad thing, but it also doesn’t need to be a 100% of the time thing.
Maybe a trip to the office supply store is in order. Maybe I need some coffee and floppy disks.