Tuesday, October 17, 2006
"Excuses and Explanations"
By Leslie Larsen
You've asked me to write so many times. Encouraged, cajoled and all but provided me with a pen. The problem is that, when I look in the mirror, I don't see what you see. Not a writer, certainly not that. A wannabe perhaps, scrawling bad poetry and ideas for books on the back of envelopes. Or perhaps a never was. Someone who knows that to be it you must do it. Definition by act, not unlike polygamy or murder. And I've read the books and listened to the advice: write something every day. But I don't and I'm not sure I even can. I'm more of a compulsive writer, like the person who fights getting sick, even though she knows it's inevitable, finally purging the thoughts that have been churning in her mind onto paper. So different from the person who knows not to fight the inevitable and just gets it over with, aided by a finger or syrup of ipecac.
I think the truth is, in many ways, I'm just a coward. It's not that I'm not a writer but if I allow the inevitable need to express myself or even facilitate it instead of fight it, what then? What if I find out that I'm no good? In a way it's easier to cling to a figment identity than risk losing the one skill I truly value and – in others – envy. So instead I look at the blog you set up, scan the weekly alt rag for contests and give you tepid excuses for not submitting. And I surreptitiously hang on the fringes of groups of people, afraid that if I try to gain full entry I'll find out that I just can't come up with the price of admission; I don't know the exchange rate for the coin of the realm.
Writer Leslie Larsen lives in Albany, New York with her cat Gilligan, the inspiration for much bad poetry. She keeps her passport up to date because, hey, you never know...