Mary Morris from the 2paragraphs Writers Interviews: What Do You Like Least About Being A Writer?
In the morning I wake up, make coffee. I know that I should float down to my office and start my writing day. Instead I look outside. I see people dressed in clothes, briefcases in hand, children in tow. They are going somewhere. They march with a sense of purpose on their way to jobs, school, lessons, the gym, to meet lovers on trysts, to volunteer, to see a friend. It’s like they’re all going to a party and nobody invited me. I’m in my sweats, bed unmade, maybe I’ve brushed my hair. Maybe not. I have nowhere to go. Life is passing me by. That time between waking and writing, it’s my own private hell. Can I do this? Do I have the strength? And what exactly is the point? It’s as if someone asks you to climb the same mountain every morning. How about I don’t do that today?
I have my distractions. I go for a swim; I buy cottage cheese. I check my daughter’s Facebook posts, and then “like” them. And that drip in the bathroom that’s been going on for weeks; a plumber must be called. Soon I am frittering away that precious time when my dreams are still present and the demands of the day haven’t really begun. Do I really have to shop for dinner at eight a.m.? Can’t an email wait until the afternoon? Of course there are many difficult things about being a writer like waiting for someone to buy your next book. Waiting for the reviews to start rolling in. But that’s all part of the game we signed up for. I know those rules. But this other thing. This deep existential sense of dread. Like swimming I have to drag myself to my desk. I can’t bear to jump in. And then I do. And once I am in, I am gone. There’s nowhere I’d rather be. As any writer will attest, once I start writing, that’s paradise to me.
--Mary Morris has written 13 books, including most recently The River Queen: A Memoir. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize in Literature by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
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