By Joan Dayton.
Setting down words that queue up to form a coherent sentence, then repeating the process until an actual paragraph is formed, often consumes hours on end. (Pun intended.)
Creating a marvel of profundity meant to be reprinted and quoted, only to have some well-connected hack, who by some fluke has the title of editor, tamper with, or actually reject this literary jewel, makes me wonder if the writing gods are getting even for some past transgression. In my centuries ago past, was I a monk who took liberties with the quill and set civilization on some irreversible course?
What makes me leap up at three a.m. to jot down a snippet of witty dialogue or a clever twist of plot which I fear will become only a hazy recollection of disconnectedness by seven a.m.? Why do I write and rewrite? Why does it matter if it’s an instead of the? The sun will still rise tomorrow.
The same little spiral notebook that contains my grocery list also has disjointed phrases which occur to me as I cruise the aisles. Do I unconsciously expect the words to somehow absorb vitality by cohabiting with the written organic arugula? Why do I put myself through this? Because I have to; it’s not a matter of choice. It’s my addiction.
On occasion there are tangible rewards. Sometimes, somewhere there is an editor who sees merit in my submission and rewards me with a check that gets cashed. Checking myself in the mirror, I decide I look pretty good. That’s because now I can afford to wear better jeans.
JOAN DAYTON writes romance and mystery stories, but she wishes she could write like Dave Barry.