The author, Donna Tartt, once wrote that sometimes, people fail, no matter how hard they work, no matter that they make all the right moves, and that this is a bitter pill to swallow.
I have been failing as a writer. During the last two months, I’ve been in and out of the hospital five times. I am 52 years on this Earth, and despite my very best efforts, I have been largely unable to sell my literary work.
During the past three or four years, I have decided to quit writing on four occasions, the very most recent one being yesterday. I’m far too thin-skinned, and I cannot find a reliable critique partner (except for Dave, of NC: you know who you are! And occasionally, Dean, of Canada). If I could let go of it, I could spare myself much heartbreak and focus solely on my illustration work…except I can’t.
To paraphrase William Burroughs, “[writing] is a virus from outer space.” For those of us unfortunate enough to be infected, quitting writing is on par with ceasing to breathe. So, I have basically been cursed to suffer, and KEEP suffering…except that, the act of writing, those times when I am so lost in the Realms of Story that I cannot hear the phone ring, are the limited hours that I get to spend time in heaven. Heaven is addictive, much like heroin, and falling in love, again and again….
I still draw (though during the interminable periods of my hospitalizations, I cannot touch the stuff), but I have failed, repeatedly, to exclude writing fiction, so that I must bounce back and forth like a ping pong ball, between visual and literary work. It only feels like a trap because I cannot manage to sell anything, which is an experience diametrically opposed to my writing experiences during the 90s. So I must fail, and keep failing, at something that I consider holy.
But life is tough all over, and I must stop whining about it.