What I don’t like about being a writer is that I will judge your heart. I will! I can’t help myself! I know I’ve been told by pretty much everyone that I’m not supposed to judge others. I’m not supposed to read people’s hearts or second-guess their intentions. All that “he who casts the first stone” business. But I’m a writer! My business is character! I peddle in character motivation! How am I supposed to hear you talking about all your stuff—your crazy weekend with that guy, your mother-in-law’s party, your totally inane thoughts on healthcare—and not think something, not put two-and-two together, not draw some kind of conclusion? Yeah, okay. Apparently, I’m supposed to draw a line between real and fictional people. Let me just admit it, then. I can’t. I try. But I’m watching you. I’m judging you. I’m sorry. If it makes you feel any better, it’s for art. I’ll only put it in a book. But I’ll change your name.
What I don’t like about being a writer is that I’ll put myself in danger, because story means so much to me and I’m a romantic—a little too smitten with Hemingway who liked to live what he wrote, apparently believing that writers must write what they know (assuming we only know from experience). So, yeah, with the potential for story hovering above me like some kind of new age aura (can you see it?), I’ve overlooked my own orthodoxy and opted for danger, for whim. I’ve done small risky things like hitchhiking or eating weird foods, to big risky things like marrying some guy after a few weeks of something resembling a relationship. Though my children have changed the nature of my danger, I still find myself enchanted by complex characters and unexpected plot twists. I especially love redemptive ends. And redemptive ends begin with damnation. I am a believer in redemptive ends and the writer in me will risk quite a bit for such an end. There have been close calls. I will bet on the story. I like this about being a writer—or being the kind of writer I am—but I also don’t like it at all.