I get sidetracked. I build a webpage. The font isn’t exactly the right color. I buy software that I can’t use, and the vendor won’t refund it. I download photos in the wrong format, and can’t convert them. There is always the promise, with electronics, of improving something — don’t like the font? Use a different one. Don’t want to open your own emails? Set a rule. Every optimization introduces a proliferation of possibilities– fonts with shadows, integrating the shadowy fonts with your notification system, integrating the whole notification system with your printed calendar, printing the calendar on t-shirts, sending the printed t-shirts to various groups of friends, that you can tag, according to how well you know them and how many t-shirts you want them to have.

I watched a movie about drummers last night. All these gifted, amazing drummers. Some of them looked like trolls from a Tolkien novel. One was strikingly handsome, with polished white teeth and a long ponytail, a single frown line between his eyebrows, which made him look serious, even though his eyes were kind. One was tiny, with a short neck, short arms and a barrel chest. They sat together, like messengers from a world of crystals and magic, telling the interviewer why they drum– to find joy, to go back to the arms of their mother, because drumming is the beating heart, the core of life. The only difference between them and anybody else is that they drum. They drum so hard blood comes from their hands. They drum four hours, take a short break and drum some more. The message came through loud and clear: we are what we repeatedly do. Stay away from the internet. Try not to waste this precious time.

Yesterday was hard. I almost gave up. I hung on.
Why does that truth feel so dangerous to reveal? Shouldn’t we know that about each other? That some days are hard? How can we step into the world, knowing that we have uttered those words?

A long time ago I thought there would be a moment when I felt like a writer. Not unlike the moment when I would feel like a parent, or an adult, or, in a slightly different category, clear. I had very noisy voices in my head back then, luckily more punishing than they feel at the moment, voices that said, “if you were a real writer, you wouldn’t have so much trouble getting to the table.” Or: “Real writers don’t avoid the task of writing.” “Real writers don’t wonder what to write about.” Once, in the middle of that decades long rant, I finally admitted l don’t feel like a writer at all. I find it incredibly difficult to come up with ideas, my writing habits are bad, and my self-esteem is often in the toilet. If I had to take the “Are You a REAL Writer?” quiz I would flunk instantly. Wanting to be a writer and not having any actual ideas is like wanting to be a nurse because you like the hat. But I’m still trying. In the end, if proof is required, perhaps that’s enough.

My internal editor is a mean drunk. Catch her on a good day and she can be pretty helpful– a sharp mind, high standards. On a good day, she pushes my writing to a better place. But when she’s on a bender, she can destroy me, for no reason. Impatient with everything, incapable of hope. Punishing tiny missteps. Indifferent to signs of life. She hurls insults: why are you still writing? Why even bother to try? I’m thinking of bringing her to a twelve-step meeting. Teach her to take deep breaths, and be a little bit nicer to both of us.