Friday, 10 September 2010
Write ups and write downs: N M Browne
I wouldn’t say being a writer is an emotional roller coaster because 1) it’s a cliche and 2) neither flying pigs, wild horses nor any other improbable kind of animal incentive would get me to ride on one. I don’t like what roller coasters do to my guts and my inner ear, but I do like being a writer in spite of its impact on my emotional health. ( A polite way of saying it makes me bonkers.)
If it weren’t for the reasons given above there would be some mileage in the metaphor. Writing is full of dips and troughs, sudden highs when you believe you are a genius and gravity defying plummets when you realise that not only are you not a genius but you can’t even write an interesting sentence. You hurtle along what may or may not be a safe, pre planned path with terrifying switch backs, hairpin bends and expectation defying changes in speed and then comes the sudden terrifying recognition that you don’t actually know whether this wild journey will end in a happy resolution or in some dire tragedy. Being a writer you can even imagine the headlines, the article and the death toll.
Personally I am OK with the doubt and the uncertainty. I love the moments of delight and elation when you feel just out of control enough to enjoy the journey, but I expect them to be followed by vertigo and vomiting. I am able to cope with the sense that it has all gone horribly wrong and the feeble structure in which you have invested such high expectations cannot support your ambition, is badly engineered, has wet rot, metal fatigue and is about to teeter and fall. I can cope with all that. It is the hope that gets me. Every time...