Working

I get it, I get it. Writing is not physically hard. Nope. It is a privilege and a luxury. I’ve got my gorgeous messy little office with a view of an appropriately spooky graveyard and the corner store. I’ve got my coffee cup and my glass of water and a pile of books and my computer. I’ve got citation style guides, some poetry books, and the Scandinavian mystery book I’m going to read one of these days.

I’ve never shipped off to Alaska to remove guts from their fish. I have picked blueberries, with friends, and it is surprisingly difficult. But don’t fucking tell me that writing isn’t hard work. If you want a memoir to be good you can’t just tell a story. You’ve got to think and plan and do the hard emotional work of figuring out what the story is.

You have to be honest and meaningful, to go through your life as if someone else lived it, and then go back and live the worst parts of it again and again. As Anna says you’ve got to put your left foot forward and then your right foot for fucking years. You have to keep going when there is no reason or encouragement to keep going.

Thinking, emotional work is hard. It’s hard to say something new and interesting and to say it well. It’s hard to do the research and revising. I don’t want to whine about writing as if it were working in the mines, but neither do I want to portray writing as if I sat on my candy ass all day and whined. That’s what my blog is for.

And here is the article that set me off.

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5 responses to “Working

  1. Soooooooo many things to say here. The first being, I hate that article. It’s not a competition. Or maybe it is, and I’m remiss.

    Here’s to hard work. There are all kinds.

  2. There’s the kind of hard work that makes your body hurt at the end of the day and turns you into a bent and bitter shell by age 60. And then there’s the kind of hard work that makes your brain hurt at the end (and the start and the middle) of the day, and turns you into a misanthropic wretch by age 60.
    Best case scenario is knowing both kinds of pain. Whichever kind you’re suffering through, you can call up some gratitude that you’re not suffering through the other kind too. Scoffing at other people’s struggles shows a pitiful failure of imagination.

    In other words, fuck ’em. Keep going.

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