Monday, July 23, 2012

Une Affaire d'Amour

Every now and then, usually right when I need it most, something will happen to remind me why I write.

The kids were at camp last week, which gave me time to hunker down in the corner of my favorite coffee shop and work on my WIP. Given the running around with my hoodlums that summer requires (children, I swear I meant children!) it's been awhile since I've been to this particular haunt. But, as it always does, it worked its special magic.

As writers, we all have those moments, when the words on the page become more real than anything in our lives. Hours slip by and the real world fades away.

I was well into my alternate universe when another patron of the coffee shop knocked on my table. Yes, he had to knock to get my attention. And said, "Good to see you back. I always wonder what you're working on that has you looking so flushed and intense."

His statement had two effects, the first one was to make me look much more flushed for a moment.

The second thing it did was much more important. It made me think about why I write. Why am I in such a hurry to lose myself to words? Why do I feel antsy and irritable after a day or two without writing?

Writing, I've realized, is my own personal love affair. There are the days when I try to picture what my life would be like without it. It might be easier. I wouldn't have to deal with the highs and the lows, but even as I toy with the idea, I know it's not really an option for me. The highs are too addictive and the lows leave me low, but not so low that I stop craving the highs.

It's my dopamine fix, my beloved love affair, the best (and sometimes simultaneously worst) part of my day. I write because I'm addicted, because I can't get by without it.

And, if it leaves me looking a little flushed and intense, well, all I can say is lucky me.



27 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There's nothing more wonderful than losing oneself in writing!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've really been immersed in my current manuscript these past few weeks. Wish I was a faster writer!

Beylit said...

I like this analogy a lot.
The feeling of getting totally lost in your words, consumed by every little detail you are creating, giving yourself over to it, is heady and such a rush that every time it happens I wonder why it took me so lng to come back to it.

Barbara Watson said...

Losing yourself inside a story is something I can never quite describe to those who do not write.

jaybird said...

Great post- I feel like when I'm writing, I retreat to the deepest part of my true self. And my kids, The Husband, the phone, the tv, all of that just seems to fade away as I loose myself in what I'm creating. Sometimes, my family has to shout to pull my attention back into the room. They laugh at me and at how much I loose myself when I go into "writing la-la land"
but I can't help it, and wouldn't have it any other way. LOL

Carol Kilgore said...

YES!!!

Emily R. King said...

I'm so with you on this. A love affair with words is hard to end. Thanks for sharing this. Well said!

Rebecca Kiel said...

I am in love with writing as well. it is hard when I am not able to get to it, but fantastic when I have been able to secure writing time.

Joanne said...

Everyone can see me, but I'm not there when I write. Get back to that little haunt often.

Johanna Garth said...

Diane, absolutely.

Alex, that's great!!

Beylit, heady rush is a perfect description.

Carol, YES ;)

Barbara, it is hard to describe to someone who doesn't write.

Jaybird, I love the phrase writing la-la land.

Thanks Emily!

Rebecca, it's about finding the time for me too.

Joanne, exactly. Not completely there.

Cassie Mae said...

Lol, I often wonder what I look like when writing. The hubs always asks me what's wrong. Maybe I look constipated or something? :)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I totally agree with you. There are people who choose to write and people who have to write. The people who have to write are more likely to keep writing.

TL Cooper said...

Precisely!!! I'm the same way if I don't write for a day or two. Writing is my drug, my life, my first love, my best friend...
Without the outlet writing gives me, people probably wouldn't like me very much. :-)

M Pax said...

I so understand. When I didn't write, I was cranky and unhappy. Now I'm happy, even if a bit stressed for time.

ali cross said...

I LOVE this post Johanna! I love that you look "flushed and intense" when you write, that the guy had to knock on the table to get your attention. That's dedication!

And I couldn't agree more ~ writing is the best (and sometimes worse) part of my day too. :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

So true. It's a great dopamine fix.

The past few days I've not had the chance to write. Just too much stuff to deal with. Tomorrow is slated writing morning. I have complaints coming in from my characters and my muse keep sprinkling that fine writing dust and making me sneeze. So back to writing I go. It will be easier now with the AC working. For sure I'll sleep well tonight. We won't talk about last night, lol!



Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Sabrina A. Fish said...

I know exactly what you mean! The last week was the first week of the new business my hub and I purchased and it has kept me so busy while I learn all the ins and outs that I have had zero time to write. I'm sure you can imagine my irritability! *sigh* I hope to find a few moments this week.

Kathleen Barker said...

I envy your small window of freedom! I can't wait until school starts so I can find mine!

Shell Flower said...

Wow. This is such a great post on so many levels. The best part is that for you, writing is as exciting as an illicit love affair. Stealing away to the neighborhood cafe to meet up with your MCs:) That is passion. It's all very exciting! Well said is right.
This kind of reminds me of Tom Robbins who said, "Fall in love with language. If you aren't already tight with language, start taking language out on dates, and see if you can't hook up. Remember: language is not the frosting, it's the cake."

Talli Roland said...

Lucky you indeed! I love it when the words flow and the world you're creating envelops you.

Christina Farley said...

Great post! I'm hoping to get some writing done next week too while my kids are at camp. I've never done that before so I can't wait to see what happens.

Julie said...

A personal love affair is a fantastic way to describe writing. I think it's awesome that you were so lost in your story that another patron noticed. No doubt this WIP will be another excellent story when it is complete. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

What a wonderful way to have love affair without cheating on your spouse. LOL.

Your passion is infectious. I need to get to that feeling again. It has strayed from me for a while, but I know it will come back... it always does.

Thanks for the reminder!

Tonja said...

Well said. Exactly.

I hate it when the waiters startle me out of the zone.

Misha Gericke said...

So true! And now you reminded me of why I write. :-D

naida said...

That is wonderful that you can lose yourself like that in your writing!

Rachel Morgan said...

I love those times when I manage to become totally immersed in the world I'm writing and the time flies by and the words tumble onto the page ... Sadly, it doesn't always happen like that!