It’s late and I just feel like writing. A funny thing happens when you end up doing the thing you love for a living. Most of the time you don’t love it. You tolerate it because you know that without it you’d have to find another way to make a living. So tonight it’s just old school writing from that place of pure love. Like when you meet your baby for the first time or you dust off a sleeve of Oreo cookies double stuffed.
It’s kinda funny when I start to think that someone may read it because I immediately start to feel self-conscious. Like, what’s in it for them? A writer’s worst nightmare is to be self-indulgent. I read stuff all the time where people take you on a long road and mid-way through you’re praying that there will be a payoff. But nah, someone was just blowing off steam, getting some things off their chest, just talking sh*t. Sometimes all you wanna do is talk. To yourself. To someone else. It don’t matter. It feels like company. I used to talk on the phone for hours on end with friends before I got married and had kids. Now those times are few and far between. Most nights I’m writing for money, totally stressing myself out, hoping that I’m capturing the essence of something that I hope exist. Sometimes it takes me days to catch it, maybe even a week, but when you’re on the clock time moves and you have to move with it.
Tonight, I’m thinking about Sherman Oaks, California, and how I used to live just a stone’s throw away from a swimming pool in a courtyard and the best thing about that place was nights when I used to look out at the water, then up above the top of the apartments into the sky, dreaming about nights like this when I would be far away from there. I used to wonder if I was crazy because my dream life and the one I was living was so drastically different. I was reminded of it the other day when I was venting about some writing deadlines to one of my Cali friends. She said, “I remember when you weren’t busy at all.” Which was code word for, “Just a few years ago you weren’t doing jack so stop your complaining!” She was right. The bulk of my life was spent taking care of my two kids, trying my best to be a good wife, and dreaming of nights like this when I would be free. Free to write. Free to make a living from it. But then I moved back East, and I got what I wanted and it put me in chains. And this is the first time I’m writing freely in longer than I can remember. I look at somebody like Kanye and I wonder if he still has fun. It doesn’t look like it. Most of the time he looks miserable. I wonder if his biggest wish is to rap like no one will ever see it, tucked away in some dark little room where he can really let loose and be free. When I think about the great James Baldwin, did he write because he loved it or was it for survival? It’s interesting because when I think about my life and the times in which it felt like it was slipping away from me it was writing that always brought it back.
Perhaps it’s not about whether we love what we do for a living, but maybe it’s judging what that love is supposed to feel like on a day-to-day basis. Do we love our mate the same everyday or even our kids? With any relationship there’s gonna be ups and downs, so maybe it’s about finding ways to make it exciting again so that we can remember why we fell in love with it in the first place.
Tonight, I’m writing from a place of pure love, foot loose and fancy free. Was there a destination? A payoff? I think so.