Friday, December 26, 2008

Remembering why I write

The papers sit on the table as I lift my cup of tea. I have two more pages to print out: a title page and the last page marked with those two famous words, “The End.” I should feel excited. Yet the emptiness of the room has dulled my sense of satisfaction. No blaring trumpets proclaim the victory after I had put my thoughts through many weeks of mental anguish to create this manuscript. No tickertape parade will pass by my window to regal in a task well done. No prize will come in the mail for me to rip off the pretty paper and find movie tickets along with restaurant reservations for a festive celebration.

I take a sip of tea and look over at the phone. It does not ring. Why should it? I have very few people in my address book who would mutter a simple congratulation. I have very few places to drive to so I can show off my writing to everyone. I have very few relatives nearby who would want to see what I have created, especially after the hidden remarks I have heard from them when they discovered I was writing a story.

“What’s got into her fool head to do something like this? She can’t possibly be serious. This isn’t for real. She won’t get anything done. Michelle isn’t even typing on the computer. She is pretending to have it on. She is just playing computer games. She isn’t writing anything. What? The printer is on? No, she is wasting ink on something else. Michelle might have four pages done and is just printing them out over and over again. Editing? She is only reading, and how long does it take someone to read the same four pages in a stack of 200 papers? It’s nothing. She should stop the act.”

I place my cup down. Wouldn’t it be interesting to tell everyone about the happy news? Imagine the shock on their faces when I tell them. Imagine them . . .

Doing what? Would they apologize for not having faith in me? Would I hear their grumbles that all their assumptions were wrong? Is this the reason I wrote the story? Did my sole motivation dealt with wanting to drop the bundle of papers in their laps and say, “See what I can do! This doesn’t look like a computer game to me. This doesn’t look like the same four pages printed out 350 times. Only reading? Of course I had to READ the story. That is the purpose of creating one. Besides, I had to make sure the plot was solid. I had to make sure to edit and revise to the best of my abilities. You claimed it was nothing. That sure looks like a whole bunch of something in your lap. As for the act . . .”

I would be putting on an act. Gloating about all of this will be an act, and a very poor act for no one’s benefit. It will not change their minds about my writing. All this will do is give a boost to my ego by trying to make these people feel bad. Besides, they will simply find something else to demean me about, or worse. They will want to read the story with their minds already made up that it is horrible, because this will justify their previous remarks of believing that my writing is a worthless endeavor.

And this is not the reason I write. This is not the purpose of a story. They are meant to entertain. Stories make the reader enjoy the experience of turning the pages and sinking themselves into these fantasy worlds. Writing is supposed to make people happy, and I should be happy that I could finish a story. I should be happy that I can lift up each page many times and enjoy what I have written. I had to prove my writing abilities to only one person: Me.

I place my cup down and pick up the papers. I hug my story close, place a smile on my face, and murmur. “You have done a good job, Michelle. You have done a good job.”
Although I had finished the manuscript back in October, it took me a little time to calm my emotions to write this. I guess we all need time to understand ourselves.


  1. Success speaks for itself. CONGRATULATIONS, writer woman, surly or not. :0)

    And may many acceptances and clips be piled up in the New Year. Write on!

  2. That's great. I could really identify with this post. I'm sorry you don't have support, but look what you did anyway! YOU WROTE A BOOK. Not half of one, not the first few chapters. You pushed to the end.

    That is no small feat. Congrats and job well done.

  3. Angie: The day before yesterday I had a dream that my name was on a long list with other people, and there was a date of release and a book title. An omen?

    I am writing on, although I did stop to go through some old stuff, writings and poems I wrote in high school. I have half a mind to make an upcoming blog post about it. Some of the stuff is hilarious - the whole teen angst thing!

    Natalie: Thanks. Not only that, but this is my FOURTH story. So people should expect that I can get to the end of one. But still, the same old cynical remarks.

    It's weird how society is less inclined to support people who are in the arts (musicians, painters, and writers) as they would for others like doctors, lawyers, and scientists. We have this talent, and some people scoff at it. Strange...

  4. I had to prove my writing abilities to only one person: Me.

    We are... all of us... our own worst critics, n'est ce pas?

    Congrats, Michelle, even if it IS after the fact. Writing is hard... and you rose to the challenge. Good On Ya.

  5. grats, hon... always the rewrites that take the most time :D

  6. Well, here's a big, big round of congratulations to you for having completed this task! Don't worry about family and their lack of voicing confidence in your work. Remember, everyone's tastes differ and if they don't like or appreciate your hard work, someone else will and odds are there will be many more of that category who WILL appreciate your writing!
    See, now you're already off to a great start for the New Year aren't you?

  7. You are an artist and an artist's mind works in a different way than most people's. There is a sensitivity there which is lost on others.
    I loved reading this post and I especially find the last few lines extremely poignant.
    Congratulations Michelle, and in the spirit of the Holidays I wish you all the recognition you so rightly deserve.;)

  8. Congratulations! Obviously, someone cares.

    I found your blog through Angie's and I'll be back!

  9. Buck: Thank you. I had to vent. I knew it was the day after Christmas so I should still be jolly. But I had to vent.

    Laughingwolf: True. Even now I am still second-guessing myself about adding another chapter into the story. Arrgh!

    Jeni: I'm not worried about it anymore. I guess once I got this post out of the way, it cleared my mind to focus on what I believe in and not what other people expect of me through their own misguided beliefs.

    Protege: I think everyone can relate to this post. They might be trying to accomplish something in their own lives and it seems the whole world is closing in on them. Sometimes we got to step back and tell ourselves that we have done a good job. It does wonders for the self-esteem.

    Expat: Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!

  10. toot tooo tooo toooooo!

    *well. thought i had to try. trumpet noise, don't ya know.*

  11. Chris: You gave me my parade noise! Thanks!

  12. Well I was pretty sure I heard trumpets and wouldn't you know, it was Chris. I did have to trudge through the ticker tape though and I'll tip my next glass of something potent in recognition of your great success. I'm happy for you, Michelle, and I'm glad you have that sense of accomplishment. Wishing you much success with getting it accepted.

  13. Hilary: Your humor is the best! Thanks!


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