I was lying in bed, all warm and lightly scented from a hot shower a few minutes before, snuggled down in the covers reading the third chapter of Page After Page by Heather Sellers when it hit me that for some -- like me -- writing is a lover. (It was a lovely gift from Spike's leman) Sound strange? Not at all.
I carry a paper journal and pen (new fountain pen and ink) around with me even here in the cottage. I pause movies, conversations, cooking, reading and work when something sparks and idea so I can write it down. When I start writing in my journal about my day it inevitably segues into writing about a story or figuring out motivation or plot or characters as they come to me. I think about writing all the time. I am writing all the time. I sometimes have trouble focusing on work because something will spark an idea about writing. It's just like being truly in love. I can wait to write. I stare off into the distance or go silent during phone conversations because I'm staring off into the distance chasing an idea and forget where I am. It reminds me of a scene in The Hours when Virginia Woolf is muttering to herself and completely disconnected from her sister and the people around her because she's working on her book. An idea has occurred to her and won't be denied. There are other scenes where Virginia Woolf is walking through town and talking to herself, working out a problem with the characters or the time line or the plot. It's what writers do. Writing is a lover, sometimes a demanding lover, and such a love can border on obsession -- if you're looking from the outside.
This is probably one of the things that Spike's leman meant when she talked about the touchy-feely stuff. She's not touchy feely. She's very down to earth.
When you are in love, truly and passionately, you don't have to write down in your daily schedule: Spend quality time with Lover today. You can't not. ...You find yourself not paying bills on time, not showing up for boring things, spacing out during tedious conversations. Why would you go anywhere else? ...People who are madly in love are not busy. They spend inordinate amounts of time in hotel rooms, lolling around naked, happy, content to look at the mole on their lover's neck and think about nothing at all. They get hungry, but they aren't able to plan to eat. They pulse toward food, all thorax, no head, they are fed, they go back to bed. So happy. Not on a schedule. ...There's no choice and no schedule. They are always in love, they are always doing it, they are always in writing. As in love. ...It takes a lot of trust to fall back into pleasure, to know it will always be there.
If writing isn't like that for you, if it doesn't consume your life, poke through the holes in your schedule, pop up in and take over your dreams, find its way like sand into every crevice of your life, then it's a hobby.
It can be frightening being consumed that way and there should be at least some balance -- you can't stay in bed with your writing all the time. Bills do need to be paid and jobs done if you're going to be able to afford the hotel room -- or any room -- for your lover. But in the end, having writing for a lover keeps you active and engaged and learning and growing and alive the same way a truly passionate lover does. And it is worth it.
That is all. Disperse.