|by Erica German
The light from a window nearby unveils little in the way of furniture, yet indicates the lack of dusting that has been done in recent months. This same light falls short of the dark corner that was chosen for the telling of a story. In front of a typewriter sits, plunked, a grassy mess of hair on a head that balances on hunched shoulders. Half of a lit cigarette hangs loosely from the writer’s raisin-like lips, smoke billowing from the ashy tip. He reaches for his glass of scotch with a boney hand. When was the last time this writer had a good meal?
Does this description begin to match a general notion you have about writers? Do they all have to be starving nut jobs that never comb their hair, that cling more tightly to their vices than a baby does to its mother when surrounded by strangers? I think of myself as a writer, not yet published but still, a writer. And though, I can say nothing in favor of cigarettes since I have no personal experience with this vice, as one of those “nut jobs”, I must admit that creative juices do flow more freely after a couple glasses of red wine. Also, in my defense, I feel I must add that I am not starving and I comb my hair at least once a day.
I do not imagine a fortune awaits the writer me, so I am going to school to become a nurse. But, I will continue to write because writing is to my soul, what breathing air is to my physical body, life sustaining. I will write between classes, while waiting for my children at appointments, on lazy weekends, and in my journal in the evenings, as I teeter on the edge of my bed. I will write about what I see with my eyes, as well as that which is invented by the fabulous brain that hides within the me that is seen. Writing keeps me from getting bored or lazy. Writing makes me laugh and cry and appreciate others who cared enough to tell me their stories. What does it mean to be a writer? For me, it means to be connected. It is engaging in all that life has to offer and finding words to express some measure of that life.