Today I started thinking, which in itself is a relatively benign thing to do, unless of course you are a woman with a tendency to overthink. Thanks to my own informal research I’ve found that that is most of us. I thought about how maybe I’m not writing enough, a guilty, lingering sort of thought that crept up my spine like a particularly persistent weed. That thought led to another, am I writing less because I haven’t got enough time to do it, or because I’m getting stupider? Is stupider even a word? I don’t know because I’m obviously getting stupider. A stupid person with not enough time to work on being less stupid.
Then I thought, perhaps I should make more time for writing and less time for watching repeats of Girl Code, which is almost definitely a major contributor to the stupid problem. But then when would I actually relax? Surely even the greatest writers have some down time. Their minds cannot be a constant whir of synonyms and sibilance and so forth or they’d go mad and end all of their stories with the protagonist waking up and realizing the entire plot was a dream and other such shite. But what if they do do that? I wouldn’t know because great writers probably don’t watch Girl Code.
In fact they probably don’t even have a television. Great writers tend to think that popular television is puss. And while I’m in almost complete agreement, I watch it anyway. Should I get rid of the television? I thought, until realizing the television is not even mine because I’m poor. Great writers often tend to start out poor, so perhaps I’ve already taken the first step.
Then I thought, perhaps I should read more. Great writers also tend to read, but that leaves less time for writing. Perhaps they sacrifice other parts of their day, bathing perhaps. I imagine great writers to be disheveled. They take their fortnightly bath with a cigarette and a well-worn Dickens. They have a yellow spot on the ceiling from the smoke and Marlene Dietrich echoing down the hallway. This means in order to really become a great writer I shall have to take up smoking, baths and Dickens, all of which I think are a bit rubbish, Dickens in particular. The smoking would also be tricky because by the time I’ve bought a years’ worth of cigarettes I won’t have enough money for a bath. I imagine smoking in the shower is neither glamorous nor particularly successful.
But what does it matter if I don’t have the right look? We know writers by the way of a tiny thumbnail and a line dedicating the book ‘To Larissa’ even though we’ll never know whether Larissa is a former flame, a grandmother or a cat.
Maybe I need to get a cat, they seem like a writers animal. Happy to lounge all day while you tearfully destroy Page 1 for the 23rd time, indifferent. They don’t need you but you need them, that is the stuff of great writing. Torment, pain, longing. I’m allergic to cats though, so maybe I’ll just have to write something another day.