“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
Lately I’ve been visited by old friends I had buried deep. They like the quiet moments to step in, sit down by my side and think out loud. Unlike at the beginning when I pushed myself to write and they had a contest for who was the loudest critic, they’ve been very civil and sensible. Don’t you think you’ve used that word too much? Is it really necessary to be that graphic in this scene? Aren’t you being bland? Wow, that’s some condescending sentence right there. You’ll never get it to the point where other writers have taken it. I’m not sure this story is worth telling compared to all the other stories.
They’re uncomfortable to have around, but sometimes I catch them having fun. The more I work, the more they visit. They seem to be at their happiest when they make a special appearance, an old memory or fear that I’ve twisted almost beyond recognition to serve some purpose in advancing a plot, or make one up. It’s funny that they don’t criticise then. Until I consider seriously that eyes besides my own will ever look at it. Isn’t it better left for dead? Then again, why look for wolves outside to tear it apart, when I have plenty inside?
Is it true that practice makes it easier to coexist with them? Age has to some extent allowed me to get back on the horse in spite of them, but age also works its own agenda. There’s something to be said about the naïve belief that we’re great, or better than, when we’re young and want to eat the world in a single bite.
But I’ve left the sentence midway, and they’re waiting. Better not hold back with giving everyone a chance, they ask as they sip coffee.