I read a quote on Twitter from an author that said something about how desperation creates material with which to write (major paraphrase), but even though I feel the beginnings of desperation, I don’t feel I’m any more creative. In fact, I’m just scared.
When I was a child, I used to write fan fiction. I didn’t know that’s what it was because I was seven, but to be frank, that’s what it was. I wrote about Godzilla and the Boxcar children, creating battles and mysteries that would result in Godzilla emerging as the hero and the Boxcar children demonstrating their resourcefulness and cleverness. I even wrote some short stories in middle school involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, most notably stories of Leonardo falling in love with me. Nothing gross, just romantic (except for the mutant turtle part). I also went through a moody, angst-filled adolescent poetry phase. To be fair, my mentally-ill father experimented with not taking his medication, I went to a boarding school, transferred to a friends school, and got two part-time jobs. I had shit going on! The poems were decent though. If I had any skill with an acoustic guitar, I could maybe make something out of them.
As an adult, I had backed off writing until I went back to college. The four-year university I was interested in transferring to (not sure that I still am) required a score of five on the AP exam that I took in high school. Wonderful, I got a four so I took first-year English again. The best part about it, besides the A I got, was a re-invigoration of my passion for writing. I wrote a short narrative about the day I knew I needed to get my own motorcycle. It was amazing and my professor said that it was one of the best essays she had read. My confidence shot up.
Since then I’ve had ideas for books, but haven’t always made the time. Besides that, I’ve never been desperate enough to overcome my fear and write about what really matters. Things like my childhood, adolescence, marriage, postpartum depression, and other topics that readers can connect to. Now though, I feel myself nearing the cliff of desperation as I struggle to find a job that pays well enough for the amount of bullshit work entails (at any job). I grapple with the indecision in my educational path to a career (what major, what college). Sometimes I wonder if I should be a “big kid” and accept I’m not going to do better than my retail job (pays better than you think at the “store manager” level), knowing I’m disappointing myself by taking the easy road, but providing income. Like I said, the sense of desperation is creeping in. There’s a part of me that hopes the fear of doing nothing overwhelms the fear of doing something scary, something like becoming vulnerable. Maybe then I’ll actually write material with substance.