Writing + Addiction

I’m sitting in the Beanhaus with two of my favorite writer-type people, Shannon and Megan, both former students of mine although in very different ways.

Shannon has been in several classes with me; Megan was part of a writing group, and before she went to graduate school, we did an independent study together. Both are exceptional writers: Shannon was the lead writer on the Linus project and Megan, well, she has written and published short stories galore.

It’s been a good writing week in that respect. I’ve sat down with other writers — last night in Louisville with Krista — and banged on the keyboard for hours at a time. Words have come. Some have even not sucked.

Today, though, the trough is empty. I’ve not written one thing in the 3 hours I’ve been here. And that’s okay, I think. Megan said something during one of our breaks: That’s my process and have to be okay with it. Because that’s my process.

We were discussing the dark magic that is writing. The depression that comes after the writing high. The emptiness. It’s strangely compelling to hear others talk about the same phenomenon, in similar terms. It makes my lows seem…okay.

That takes some of the power away from the dark portion of the dark magic. And it reinforces the (emerging) belief I have in the power of my friends. Somehow hearing her talk about finding a way to cope with the process of writing makes that burning, Jack Daniels drinking desire feel more distant.

Something that exists within me, but not something that is fighting to get out. It’s a calm darkness, which I guess really only makes sense to those folks who have some addiction that — at least for a moment — is quelled. The calm darkness is, despite the ominous sound, a happy place.

Which I guess says lots of things about my life, my friends, the people who choose to spent time with me, the power of other people. Far too much to articulate here. Far too much, probably, to articulate.

Being a bit narcissistic, though, the one thing I can say is this: what I’m most learning is that writing makes me happy. Writers make me happy. Being around people who are writing brings me a sense of calmness. Happiness. Easiness.

And being okay with my process, knowing that my friends have their struggles with the process and experiencing all of that in one physical space is starting to make more sense to me as a lifestyle. A lifestyle that is, for many, seemingly isolated. But for me it’s just the opposite. It’s liberating.