“Writing a book is like seeing a lover.”
from the movie (about Françoise) Sagan
From the countless quotes, metaphors and comparisons I find this one most striking. Because writing is like a lover to me. The status of our relationship qualifies as “complicated”, “under construction” or “temporarily celibate”. And it is a lover I was never prepared for. But let me start at the beginning of our affair.
It started with tears. It started with writing. It started with memories dug up from my teenage diaries that needed to be processed with the same pressing urge you would feel to clear out the attic if the floor started to collapse under the burden, threatening the entire house.
Unless I was prepared to take my chances dying and reincarnating a Tibetan nun, NotWriting was not an option. The job had to be done. And even though I felt humiliated by all this belated grief I found a new love too: writing.
Fears were far less daunting when you trusted them to paper, instead of letting them torment your soul.
Crying was not as devastating, if there was a diary entry waiting.
In the darkest corners of your past a little light shone through, allowing you safe passage.
Writing became like a big brother protecting me, the wise one giving me advise, and yes: writing became the lover waiting for me.
Anticipation. Lust. Intimacy.
I lost sleep, lost friends, neglected my tasks and was completely unavailable at times when Writing and Me made sweet love. Or when we fought. Or when we made up.
Dutch American Diary. Erotic Stories. Blogposts. My website and computer were swarming with stories and concepts that I wanted to send out into the world. That couldn’t wait to find their way to bigger audiences. Would I contact English publishers or just Dutch? Should I self-publish or go for the much slower road of reputable publishers?
And what to do with Mango? With the manuscript that started it all but that still needed an adjustment that I just couldn’t come up with? What to do with Mango, that had the potential to outdo all my other writing, and to make a debut worth to remember?
Somebody advised a Script Bureau, where you pay to get your manuscript reviewed. Somebody else advised it too. Another year went by and although I made some changes and improvements I knew it was not getting the breakthrough it needed. Me and Writing would just fall quiet every time Mango came up.
We could be funny on Facebook, but now we just sighed. We were making all of Twitter horny, but now stared at our shoe noses. Our work started receiving praise from fellow writiers but in the privacy of our manuscript we lost confidence. Even our faithful companion Crying had moved out a long time ago.
And that was when Writing and I decided we needed help.
It was on the Friday before Queensday that the thick envelop arrived. On Saturday my best friend came to pick me up to go to the flea markets, and she encouraged me to open the envelop from the script bureau. And I did. We did. We read the report together.
The next three hours she held me, offered help, consolation, unconditional love and her most sincere apologies as she comforted me through 3 hours of non-stop crying.
After the bureau’s bash it took 10 days before Writing and me dared to look at each other again. We felt like we had invited a professional in our bedroom to improve our sex life who had in turn declared us impotent, frigid, unfertile, and suffering from multiple sex deviations.
Writing and me made two blog posts since then, but nothing sexual yet. It will take time before we get there I guess.
And as for Dutch American Diary? The publishers? Mango?
Things are even more uncertain than they were. I paralyze at the thought of letting someone help me with Mango.
But I know my lover Writing is still here, despite serious efforts of the bureau to chase him away.
And for now, that is all that matters.