They say writing is a lonely business and I suppose perforce it is. The same could be said about reading. It is you, the book and your thoughts, and what you read often makes you wonder, takes you in different directions all at once. Recently, I read that you must write with the door shut and re-write with the door open, (On Writing by Stephen King). I take it he means it literally, but I also see it figuratively.
When you write, you go into your own little world and create what you see and what you hear. You imagine all sorts of things, things that may or may not be real. For that moment, they are all too real for you.
But when you re-write, you are forced to stand back and take an objective view of what you have subjectively spilt onto the page. You must stand back and take a scalpel to unnecessary words, get those paragraphs into shape, make what you write sound plausible. More plausible than life itself.
I truly believe that works with writing, but does it work with writers too? As tough as self-editing can be, it’s much easier to chuck needless words than it is to chuck needless feelings. Can you be ruthless and excise your worries with nary a backward thought? Can it ever be as simple as hitting delete?
I find myself faced with that dilemma. My child has joined the homeless. Couch surfing she calls it. Armed with a fresh-from-the-press journalism degree, she is looking for her niche. A job she has, but not in her field and not one that will pay all the bills.
She agonized for weeks over her decision, stay or go. I wanted her to come home and she made arrangements to do so, but only as a fallback. In the end, she proved too reasonable, too logical, too goal-oriented. Coming home meant straying too far from her target, a job in The Big Apple.
I realize that her staying in the area makes more sense than coming back all the way across the country. But when the door shuts on logic, I still see her as my little girl and imagine all sorts of things, both real and unreal. And it fills me with dread.
I know I must force open the door to reason and see her as she is, a woman grown. One that fills me with pride and admiration knowing she has the drive and the determination to not give up her dream, to work and strive for it, and maybe even go hungry for it.
Her not going hungry is the one thing I have control over and I won’t allow that to happen, as I am thrust into this new adventure with her. Deep in the night, the door will slam shut on me and I will be surrounded with fearful scenarios that rob me of my sleep. But I know that in the morning, I will make myself kick it open wide. Both for her and for me.
For we all know that stress is an opportunist and I refuse to open my door to it. It is not welcome and I will unhesitatingly perform a daily stress-ectomy while I chill and give my Wandering Waldo time.
In the meantime, I will write myself a note: Couch surfing ain’t so bad.