I am turning into a crazy person.
The reason I know this is because of what happened recently when my friend from work was telling me about the story about how he raked the leaves in his yard, bagged them up, and took them to the dump.
A sane person would have nodded politely and waited for the mundane narrative to be over. I on the other hand reacted like this:
“How could you send those precious leaves to the dump?” I asked horror. “How could you let nature’s bounty go to waste like that!?”
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that I have a garden. Having a garden means that I’m constantly on the lookout for vegetable materials to use for mulch. I save kitchen scraps. I rake up my mown grass and keep it in a pile. And of course, I keep my eyes peeled for bags of leaves sitting on the side of the road.
Owning a garden has given me something of a different perspective on things than non-gardeners have. Where they see trash, I see mulch. Sweet, beautiful mulch.
Writing is a bit like that too. It puts you on a different level from non-writers. It’s not necessarily a better level. Just different.
When I try to talk to non-writers about writing I often feel like I’m not really getting through to them. They’re often interested in what I’m saying, but they have no way to connect with it on a comparable level.
Often they’ll bring up their cousin who self-published a book and sold like a hundred copies. Everyone I talk to about writing has a cousin who self published a book. I’m beginning to suspect it’s actually always the same guy, and that somehow he’s manipulating some weird loophole in the space-time cousintinuum. [Error. Error. Error. Pun Failure. Complete Prose Breakdown. Error. Error. Error.]
When normal people get sick, they think, “I sure I hope I can stop puking soon.”
When writers get sick they’re sitting there with their head over the toilet bowl thinking, “It would be totally radical to write a story about a guy who gets sick and pukes up a human finger, and he doesn’t remember how it got there.”
We see the world through a different lens: the lens of story. It gives life some pretty radical hues. Sometimes it can even fool us into seeing narratives where none exist. But we love it anyway.
So here’s to you, fellow writers. I’m honored and extremely thankful to have this small connection with all of you. Chances are I’d still do my writing even if I completely alone in this endeavor, but having all of you here to cheer and encourage me makes every day just a little better.
And, for what it’s worth, I’m thankful for all of you non-writers out there too. Yep, I can see you lurking in the shadows back there. You may not always be on the same wavelength as us writin’ weirdos but that doesn’t mean you’re not every bit as awesome. Oh, and the next time you see your cousin, tell him to keep on truckin’ with his writing; he’ll make it to the big-time someday.