Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Why and How of a Dusty House

By Nichole Giles

Every once in a while, I find myself wondering why I try so hard. Why do I kill myself to find writing time when whatever I’m working on may never get published? Why do I neglect my house, and my kids, and my yard, and my dogs to sit in front of a computer visiting with fictional characters and flitting around in a fantasy world?

Why do I stare outside at the sun and ignore it so I can stay inside and finish a few more pages?

Whenever I find myself asking these questions, the same answer inevitably follows. I love writing. Really, truly love it. Writing is part of who I am, part of my heart, enough that it has become my chosen life path. (Yes, life path.) This is not just the attempt of a mommy whose kids are all in school and who now wants to find a career to fill the gaps. This is something that has lived inside me for years—in my heart, but also in my very soul. And because this is a life path, rather than a possible career, it is not possible to quit.

I can’t quit being a mother (though the desire has occasionally cropped up when my kids are a bit tough to take). I can’t quit being a woman (nope, never had that particular desire—I’m a girl, through and through). I can’t just quit loving the important people in my life (even when they hurt me or make me angry or sad). How could I ever quit writing?

This is my life. I couldn’t stop the flow of voices and stories and descriptions from spinning inside my head anymore than I could stop the pumping of my own heart. So, I suppose it’s a redundant question to wonder why I write. I write because I have to. Because there is no other thing for me to do—even though I look around me right this minute and see dirty laundry, dust, a sink-full of dishes, dust, sticky kitchen floors, dust, icky bathrooms, and…did I mention dust? So I think a more appropriate question for me to ask myself might be more along the lines of: how could I ever stop writing? Words by themselves are such beautiful things, and when bunched together by a true craftsman—someone who uses them well—they can move mountains. Wait, that’s a total cliché. Let me rephrase that…they can part a body of water. No, that’s not right either. Um, how about, words can stir the soul of the cynic whose heart is carved from onyx, breaking through the hard exterior to find the heat, the soft flowing lava within. Yes. That’s better.

Lava has so many properties, it works because…oops. Are you still here? Sorry. The voices distracted me again. Anyway, happy writing!


Jaime Theler said...

Hear Hear! Well said, Nichole. Unfortunately today is the day to go tackle the weeds infesting my yard because I've completely ignored all yard work for waay too long.

Krista Darrach said...

I only tapped into my writing lifepath a year ago. I've been ignoring it for years.
I agree completely. For me it's force like nothing else. It's a drive that propels me to become supernatural - staying up all hours of the night (when it feels like moments).
I love the quote I heard at a Writers Conference - "If you're here you've got the disease of writing. You can't get rid of it, so stop trying. Embrace it!"
I love that - I'm embracing it!
Thanks for the post.

Nichole Giles said...

Oh Jamie, I hear you for sure! Ironically, today was my weed-tackling day as well. My poor flowerbed was almost converted into a grassy knoll.

Krista, you're so right. I've long since given up the idea of quitting. "I write, therefore, I am." He he. (I wish I could remember who said that so I could give proper credit!)

Good luck, ladies.


LexiconLuvr said...

I feel this same way often. I once admitted that so much of what I write is writ with the vapors of my soul because it's what I am and what I do. I can't be anything else.
Keep going, Nichole. You'll make it. =]