I’ve heard it said that writing is a socially acceptable form of madness, that we are universes trapped within a single body, and that a writer not writing is a beast. Yes, those are paraphrased. The point I’m circling this afternoon is one that many creators have likely encountered–how our projects rebound on us. How do our creative geniuses (used in the classical Roman sense of the word) hold the reins of our personalities? Or–an image I find far more appropriate–is it all just one giant Ben Hur chariot race, with each aspect of our multifaceted being jockeying for position?
Dr. Jekyll and Martha Stewart
To clarify, I recently put out a book of doggy essays. Each one was sweet, down to earth, and, I’ll be honest, more than a little silly. This shaped how I reacted to the world. I was filled with a positive, slightly quixotic energy that spilled out around the edges. It demanded embroidered samplers of inspirational quotes and freshly baked cookies. I was spurred to view the world with a childlike joy, while at once also being interested in intellectual pursuits, scholarly inquiries, and more rigorously qualified sources.
Now, that project is out in the world, and I’ve embarked upon something new–the serial fiction of The Pie Hole. Because the these stories are inhabited with characters that speak a rawer truth, salted liberally with sarcasm and ribald humor, I find that part of my personality edging into the lead. It’s the part of me that is quite alright with stating that my day isn’t anything spectacular–it’s not shit, to be sure, but it’s nothing to write home about. I am again inhabiting a decided dislike for the sugar-coated deliveries of the world. I once more speak plain to the point, no apologies, and feel less inclined to decorate with Precious Moments and handmade macrame.
While I’m no less interested in justice, I feel the darker proponents of my personality coming out to play. I am once more less soft or concerned with giving others a soft landing. And I have to be honest, these two parts of my personality don’t much like one another. I’m not sure if that makes me insane, or if it’s just another proof that I never really had a choice of my calling. I was always meant to do this.
There’s no doubt in my mind that, were I prevented from exercising this urge to spill ink on paper, I would need to make reservations for myself–in a room where even the ceiling’s a bed.