...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Oh the responsibility
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I’m being smartass but there are times when I wonder “oh my god, I haven’t written anything in DAYS what am I gonna do?” and over on David Montgomery’s, he’s been articulating some of the same woes.

I started doing this mostly because my friend Elaine told me to. Yeah, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. But seriously, when a friend whose a writer says “you ought to write” – even if she means POSTCARDS or RECIPES – it means something. I mean, doesn’t it? Hearing “you ought to write” has always gotten me hot, what can I say? It’s truly a compliment of a huge order; that someone out there likes how you do something and thinks you should keep doing it.

I haven’t heard it too often, but I’ve heard it a few times and from people whose writing I admire, so it carries extra weight when they say it, in part because they know what they’re saying. They know how hard it is to write – whatever it is, fiction, essays, reviews, um, recipes, postcards (hey, don’t’ laugh, you don’t have a lot of space and you want to be entertaining and witty, right?) – so well, you try it.

And then there are the days of guilt when you think, like any cartoonist must think, or anyone who writes say a syndicated column – oh god, I’ve run out. I’m out of ideas. That was it. How pathetic. And you vamp. Or you fake it. Not that this is the same pressure, but well, you know what I’m saying, right?

And then, as Tom Paxton tends to say, you think about retiring but noooooooo. In his case, because he opens the newspaper one morning and there’s a story, say, about how the postal service has plans to continue mail service after they drop The Bomb (“There'll be no one left to read it, but the mail will go through,
 What a wonderful change that will be.”) (“The Mail Will Go Through” or how Nancy Reagan had a gun but it was only one of those little lady-like guns (“I’ve got a little bitty gun on the table, right by my little bitty bed, though its’ really very cute, how you hold the thing to shoot, is too much for my little bitty head”) (A Little Bitty Gun” by Tom Paxton) and well, you’re a topical singer-songwriter, you can’t quit.

So it’s not like I feel that obligation, but every so often, when it’s day after day of the same ol’ same ol’ and I doubt anyone wants to hear just how crappy my hip is today, or how many pills I took or whine, whine, whine, I do cheat a bit. But come on, aren’t you a better person for knowing when National Caramel Month is?

So, well. Filler. But I still think some of the best things in the New Yorker were those little fillers. The tattered one I saved where a retraction/correction noted that someone named Astor was “not a socialist, but a socialite” followed me around for YEARS as one of the world’s most disappointing moments. I thought we’d won!

And there’s Harley, who writes and has a family and shares her blog with 3 other writers. Yeah, like they’re gonna run out of stuff to say. Or Bill Crider who’s got so many interests and knows tons about all aspects of pop culture, and SJ who travels and writes and has “haiku Sundays” or Laura who just has to think about her childhood and dozens of folks chime in with posts (say “skate key” – probably too young) and Keith – poor Keith nothing going on in HIS life, no kids, no film at a film festival, no life in New York, nothing to say. And I have no idea where most of these folks get the energy to find the links they post and even put the damn things in. Never mind the things they actually write.

So argh, I’ve had very little to say so far in October. I’m vamping and I don’t know why. But some days, there’s just so little to say – or I suspect that I have a lot to SAY but it’s not exactly that interesting. Oh, that one’s bad, especially. And I think “I’m doomed, doooooomed” because my brain won’t let me get past go today or I’m leaving slime trails all over the house because it’s “Andi is a slug day” (those come more frequently in the darker, colder months) (did I tell you about the slugs who were coming into the HOUSE lately?). But then I suspect I’ll open the paper, or a book, or I’ll see something and I’ll smell the smell of burning insulation as my brain fires up. Or I’ll cheat – as you’ll see next week when I post something that I wrote exactly a year before, and no one ever saw because I had no place to post it. Until Elaine said “you oughta write, maybe you should start a blog”. And I so, on beyond zebra, appreciate that you come and read.

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