Nobody loves a writer.
Writers are not fun people. Most of us are self-absorbed, arrogant. We're hypersensitive to criticism and prone to see the down-side of every situation.
We're seldom good homemakers, often terrible parents. Most of us are divorced and those who are married are miserable and cranky when we aren't treated as we think we should be.
We whine when we can't publish and complain when we have publication deadlines. Some of the most prolific among us are alcoholic and ridiculous.
We can't help it, however. We're born to this world with a weird, xray vision that forces us to see things no one else sees.
We snoop in bathroom cabinets, peek into closets. We check under the bed before we crawl in.
When no one thinks we are doing so, we eaves drop on polite conversation. We do so because we have no clue how to make it on our own.
We interrupt when others challenge us. We come to hasty conclusions and hold grudges.
Truth be told, left to our own devices writers are miserable people. When a person constructs reality based on emotion, imagination and observation, goofy things can happen.
The only thing that saves us is the irrational love of our families, our friends and those who, for whatever reason, will not let us go.
I like to think every creative person needs a solid footing in science; psychology, biology, physics - something grounded and good.
Holding fast to science helps a creative person acquire the virtue of patience.
Good writers are like good physicians. And good surgeons did not learn medicine overnight. So it is with mastery of writing.
Every writing mentor worth her salt will tell you what I am about to; if you want to write you must do so. Write. Every day.
On bad days, when I cannot get to the computer or my favorite notebook, when the Cross fountain pen is out of ink or I'm too damn antsy to sit still, I suffer.
Better, I think, to write. Every day. If one cannot do so, it is important to honor that one is not doing so.
When you cannot write, compose in your mind. Look around you. Save the impression. Hold it behind your eyes, explore it with your imagination and examine it with your heart.
When it is ripe and ready for harvest, invest it to paper.
Once upon a time I thought creativity was a gift. I no longer believe this to be true.
The creative among us are up to something; most of it strange and anti-social. Creative people are not popular. And no one loves a writer.
Who can blame them? Writers can't behave in public. Ask one "How's it going at work?" and you'll see what I mean.
A writer will not respond in a conventional fashion. She/he will not say, "Busy, hectic, but good," or whatever ordinary, sane people say.
Instead, a writer will being a tyrannic rant about the human dynamics of the workplace, the inhumanity of capitalism, the cruel and indifferent aspect of the 9 - 5 life.
And so, writers are often uninvited. No one wants them to the dinner table where they are known to bore the masses with their diatribe outlining the multiple layers of human experience.
This, I think, is not a gift. It is instead a hot little slice of human hell, dispensed upon the quirky, the upside-down, the manic and the amusing. Dispensed upon the writer.
Still, those of us who wear this frenzied approach to life must grab the special nature of it, hold it close, and use it to our own advantage.
Writing every day helps. The writer must learn to behave, and writing every day drains away the wild, incomprehensible observations too raw for polite consumption.
The open page invites the observation, the criticism, the praise, the glorification and the fears that grip writers as they struggle to define what it means to be true.
Writing every day - no matter where or when - makes a creative person almost normal.
So - give it a shot, Bunky.
No matter what interferes, give the writer in you an honest chance to come out.
You'll be a happier person. Nicer to be near.
Who knows? Someone might take you home and try to love you.
Maybe invite you to dinner. If you promise to behave.