Lying on a puce polyester couch, worn notebook propped on thigh, a gnawed nub of a pencil in hand. Just Another Day or maybe The Heart of the Matter floating through the air, perhaps the T.V. is sputtering an only occasionally heard word of Bay Watch or Chicago Hope. Wide windows, silvery sun, cobalt canvas, blanc billows, the occasional bird and me. Welcome to the seventeenth floor.
And, it was just me. No Internet, no social media. Hell, I didn’t even have a cordless phone. I was writing for me. Anyone ever reading it not even a morsel on my mind. An easy task, back in the day.
I understand the quote is bigger than this. There are complex layers beneath its simple veil. It’s saying be true to yourself, write from your heart, don’t sell your soul, undress word by word. I won’t vouch for anyone else, but I’d like to think most, if not all, writers aspire to this. Raw and real. Revealed.
But, I did take pause. Fast forward to today. Can you imagine not thinking of the public while you write? I really can’t. Like now…you’re all here with me. Our room is dimmed in tea-stained light, our toes, a touch cold. Shitty Kitty is curled up on our bed and we’re bathed in the white screen-glow of Robin Williams fighting the good fight as Mrs. Doubtfire.
What’s that you say? You didn’t want the Shitty Kitty? Yeah well, me either, but that’s neither here nor there. You’ll have to take it up with our kids. Maybe you’ll have more luck with them than I (obviously) did on the issue.
Now, where were we? Oh yes…
I write a sentence…a word…I stop. I ask you what you think. If you don’t like it, I try again. Eventually, we agree and a piece is born. It’s a harmonious working relationship, rich with compassion, fused with contentment and compromise.
I write for me, I edit for us and I surrender for the kids.