Lost Confessions: Shiny

Everyone has it. We all have that one thing that makes us feel alive, some activity we are just great at doing. We have a natural talent for that one thing and we know, while we are in it, this is what we were born for.

With me, it is writing. I have a talent for writing a story, for telling a story. I just know how to make people understand a character or a setting.

When I am doing it, when I am writing, I feel different. The days after I have written a piece, or while I am writing a piece, are just better days. I feel lighter, like the world’s muck is not bearing down on me. I feel like I have a purpose in life, like I am doing what I was put here to do. I know what my priorities are and I know how to see to my responsibilities. The world lines up for me and things that were hard decisions become easier. No one can just sit down and write a story. A good story takes a few days of writing to accomplish. And in those days of crafting, my sex drive is up, my mood is up, the bipolar thing ebbs and I feel like a man.

You know with my wife, it is yoga. She is supposed to be doing it full time. She is meant to be an instructor. Time does not permit that life for her, but it is what she is meant for. She says that when she is doing yoga she feels “shiny,” her soul can breathe, and she feels in harmony with the world around her.

I like the term “shiny” to describe the way it feels to be writing. It makes me feel shiny and I would not doubt that the world sees a better man standing here when I am deep in the creation of a story.

But I am not writing. It is not coming. I won’t call it anything as dramatic as “writer’s block” because I don’t believe in writer’s block. It is a term that is used as a cop out. Writing is work, and you have to work at it to make it happen. But it is not coming. I just am not sitting down to do it. More and more excuses are gathering on my desk, and the reasons seem to be getting sounder. The fact I am a writer is fading and I don’t know how to get back to that basic place in myself. I feel lost.

It is really stupid if you think about it, but the excuses seem plausible. The thing is, when I am writing, the world bends around it. The time is always there to write, my family cooperates with my work schedule, and the stars align to make it happen. It is as if the universe is saying to me, “I will give you the resources. I will give you the time. I will give you the inspiration. I will give you the place to write, because I want to hear what you have to say.”

But I am simply not doing it.

Today I was talking to my brother RK. He had read one of my short stories and he was telling me how much he enjoyed it. I told him about another one, a rough draft I have to finish called “The Apprentice’s War.” I told him about a scene in it, and I got high. I actually got a little woozy talking about it. It began to make me feel alive again just talking about my work, and I was happy. I hadn’t realized how unhappy I had been, but then at that moment I felt right again. I felt shiny.

Now it has left me and I am back to not writing. I don’t know why I am not writing right now. But I’m not. And before I go to bed, I will sit here in the dark around my computer and do other things when I could be breathing life back into my world, when I could be bettering my life by doing the one thing I ache to do.

What is wrong with me?

—Shade, 2009

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