Portrait of a 'Writer'

vintage typewriter and a blank...
vintage typewriter and a blank...

I'm the worst kind of writer.

I'm the kind of writer who rarely writes, but retains the title. I'm prone to tiresome amounts of alliteration -- even now, I'm resisting the urge to be alliterative, and not doing a very good job of it. My writing often sounds like writing, in a bad way.

But this is what I want to do. Writing is what I've based my whole life on. I knew I wanted to write when I was very young. I used to sit on the floor by my bookshelf and paw through books before I could actually read them. I used to dream of writing them myself. I think it was an aspiration borne out of indolence, however oxymoronic that may sound. I've always loved the idea of putting words on a page for a living. It seemed so simple! All I had to do was choose the right ones.

The more I learn about writing, the more daunting it becomes, but I'm still learning. I'm currently working my way through my first year of grad school. Maybe an MFA will make me a real, true-blue writer. All I'll have to do is sit through a couple of classes, right? Sounds easy enough. A graduate degree will mean I deserve the title, that I've earned it. I'm buying my way in, with my parents' money. I can't imagine where I'd be without them. They tell me that right now, my job is to be the best student I can be.

When I'm writing well, it doesn't feel like work. It feels effortless, as if I'm a living lightning rod conducting this inexplicable creative electricity through me and channeling it onto the page. Oftentimes I reread the words that I've just written and they sound like someone else's. (Now is one of those times.) Maybe that's not just my mind playing tricks on me -- maybe the words were never mine to begin with.

Every time I write, I find myself forced to confront parts of myself that I'd rather run away from. At the moment, I want to run away from my own egotism, considering the way I'm going on and on about me. Focus on others to find true happiness, they say. Let's give that a shot.

Other writers often dazzle and discourage me. The endless things they know about the world and its inhabitants make me feel hopelessly inadequate. I struggle to grasp my own comfortable little life, while these people are out seeing, and feeling, and most of all, understanding. How am I supposed to tell the truth the way they do? Life is wasted on the living, but not on them.

If I could master the world the way other writers do, I wouldn't want to write. I'd just want to live.

As it stands, I'd rather write so I can create a world of my own. I'm trying to become a better kind of writer because I need to be able to turn a blank page into a life.

So you tell me. It's up to you. Can I?