I took a creative writing hiatus for about twelve years. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened. There was college and work, then lots more work, then grad school and lots of parties, then moving to a new city and lots more parties…. I journaled often, but creative writing just wasn’t on my mind. Then came the day when I popped open that box I’d had in my closet for years, and I pulled out a big green binder with stickers all over it. Inside was a story I’d written as a teenager. I remember spending a summer trip to my grandparent’s cabin typing the story on their word processor (my parents only had a typewriter, and I made too many mistakes for that) and then printing it out on their dot matrix printer. As I perused those pages, some of their corners slightly yellowed from years of neglect at the bottom of a dark, probably moist, box, I had tears in my eyes. My heart pounded and blood surged through my veins. And then, I knew. Without any ounce of doubt. I had to start writing again.
Something had been missing all those years. The desire to write, to create, to pen the stories in my head, had lain dormant, but I’d known it was there, if only on a subconscious level. It’s been seven years since I opened that box, and my quest has only grown more intense. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, delving into these stories of mine, studying the craft, filling page after page. Even on the days when I want to throw what I’ve written across the room, I still love every minute of it.
But it comes at a price. Part of me longs for a zen-like existence. To live in the moment, to quietly ponder the world, to have down time where I do nothing more than lie in the grass and look at the sky. Or watch a movie without analyzing the dialogue and the story line. Or to go out without being nagged by the ideas circling in my mind and having to pull out my pen and mini notebook so I can jot them down.
Sometimes, I envy my non-writer friends. The way they can come home from a work day and shut it all off, compartmentalize. There’s no compartmentalizing when you’re a writer. There’s no shutting it all off. It never stops. Occasionally, I find myself missing the days before I “rediscovered” writing, when I would come home from work and was Done, with a capital “D”.
But really, the trade off isn’t worth it. Now that I’ve opened the floodgates, I’d be crazy to try to slam them shut. And miserable, too. There’s no going back. I’m a writer, and that’s all there is to it. This is how it is. A writer’s mind never sleeps.