As a wanna-be writer, I am not sure there is anything more frustrating for me than seeing ideas that I have come to life in print via somebody else’s pen (or rather, keyboard). For a while after having Grace I seriously debated whether or not to continue writing. After all, I have a successful career, a home to rehabilitate, family, friends, a daughter whose energy knows no limits…why write? I decided to continue when I realized that I am always writing in my head – plays, half-crafted essays, the occasional novel (but never, ever a short story – go figure). At this point in my life I write because I haveto, because I’m doing it anyway, and because my overall happiness is not tied up in making a living as a writer – it is tied up in writing for the sake of it.
I have lists and lists of ideas for essays, blog posts and plays – writing these ideas down is the only way for me to purge my overactive brain and have any measure of peace throughout the day. It is particularly upsetting to me when I see one of these ideas in print, penned by someone else and, let’s face it – written much more beautifully than I ever could. Okay, okay, perhaps that’s a bit of false modesty – but writing is a craft and I do not have time to perfect and hone the craft as I would like to so my writing simply isn’t where I would like it to be.
A couple of weeks ago, for instance, New York Times critic Mike Hale wrote this fantastic piece about “Bunheads,” beautifully making the point that I had tried and failed to make here that “Bunheads,” more than any other show, exempliflies what performance means in the lives of its characters. His piece ran just a day or so after mine did and it was totally like that time I wrote a whole piece on the Pioneer Woman only to have the New Yorker do an in-depth profile on her a few months later.
I love creative nonfiction writing because it allows writers to explore all sorts of quirky subject matter. I do not long for a different kind of life, but if I did it would most certainly be one flexible and self-sufficient enough to allow for this kind of a writing life. (Or broadway acting, of course). Since that is not the kind of life I have, and instead am quietly, slowly, oh-so-slowly working on a play and a few essays, here are some writing ideas I either want to write or think other people will be writing in the near future (they aren’t always one in the same).
An in-depth profile on Glennon Melton – the author of Momastery.com – I have a love/hate relationship with this blog but the balance almost always comes out on the love side. I’ll definitely be reading her book at some point. In certain instances her blog posts have arrived at just the right moment for me, acting much in the way a prayer or piece of scripture would. I wouldn’t want to write this profile myself – I would have some biases going in, but I expect to see a pretty significant profile of her within the year. While we are talking about bloggers, however, I would love to personally write a profile on the author of –
The Queen of Spain – a blog authored by Erin West, a writer and activist whose life was put on pause when she was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of lupus. I find the chronicling of her life with lupus to be raw, honest and even painful to read at times – and incredibly important work.
I’d love to write a piece exploring the creation of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s History (ies) of Rap…why these segments appeal, how they go about creating and rehearsing them, how the original idea came out in the first place…
And then of course there is the television show Duck Dynasty, which I only just learned about from my college roommate but, as it turns out, everyone I know is actually watching. I’m interested in watching a couple of episodes to see if I get the appeal but regardless, since this is something it turns out even Ian is aware of and watches, how did I miss this? Why do people like it? And do the Duck Dynesty people know the McIlhenny’s of Tobasco fame, and do they all hang out on an island together?
And does anybody else want to sit in on a day in the life of Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer?
Oh, I could go on and on. There is so much in the world to write about and so little time to tackle it all – and the items I list above are just the most superfluous things – not representative at all of the time I spend thinking about God, the existence of black holes, and North Korea. I guess I’m just lucky to have a way to express myself in my downtime. I’ve said it before and I’ll say again, I desperately hope Grace finds an art form to love just for the sake of it – theater or music or ballet or pottery or whatnot. It’s so wonderful to have a way to help make sense of the world, even if you aren’t very good at it, all of the time, and it fits in only around the edges of your life.