On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gloria Steinem is quoted as saying, “I hate writing. I love having written.” While I do indeed enjoy having written, lolling in the magical world of “Ain’t I Grand,” I have to take umbrage with her thought. I love writing. I love putting pen to page (or fingers to computer keys) and seeing my thoughts appear, miraculously tangible. Then I love the revision, the constant striving to make my work better, brighter, more praiseworthy. I love rearranging clauses and phrases, checking a thesaurus and feeling my own vocabulary grow as the just-right word is found.

But I believe sometimes that the best part about writing is the anticipation of the act. I love twisting ideas around in my mind even before I start the actual writing. Sometimes I spends days, weeks, months just imagining the piece. There’s a pure joy in possibilities; just ask anyone who plays the lottery.

I think the world turns on anticipation: first dates, when you wonder if this will be the great passion of your life; a new job, filled with the possibility of fulfillment; a new home, which might provide a safe harbor filled with love, laugh, and comfort; a new government administration, full of promise for peace. That anticipation is often so much better than hard, icy reality: the guy/girl is a psycho; the work is the same ol’ same ol’; the roof leaks and the toilets don’t flush; the promises are the same old lies.

If I never sell a novel, if I never win the Pulitzer or the Nobel or the Newberry, if I never again see my words in print, I will at least have those nebulous motes of anticipation, when anything is possible. We all need that in our lives, for the dates that go wrong, the homes that fall apart, the jobs that bore, and the governments that fail us. We can anticipate the next one will be better. Forget Gloria Steinem. Quote me instead Scarlett O’Hara: “Tomorrow is another day.”