Susan Sontag quote I read a few days ago about how much you have to give up, or will be taken away from you, to be able to write a body of work has been ringing unpleasantly in my mind’s ears.
Something I should have realized much sooner than Monday: I cannot write fiction.
It’s not just that I’ve tried, but am not any good at it (although that’s true). I can’t do it at all. I can’t even be terrible at it — I just can’t do it, period.
Before I said these words out loud to myself, many times on Monday, I had never realized how much I had harbored secret hopes that someday I would write SFF as beautifully as some of the authors that I grew up reading. That this dream was how I was going to “live well as the best revenge” for all the naysayers who thought I’d never amount to anything.
This was my trump card in a game I didn’t know I was playing.
But it’s not the right game for me. If I keep hacking away at it, that’s years of my life I won’t get back, doing something I suck at. I’ve already spent years of my life doing a lot of other things I can only suck at. It’s time to give up the dream.
I almost wanted to say some of this stuff on Twitter Monday night. I stopped myself because my Twitter-friends might try to encourage me to keep writing. Or my words might fall into a well, garnering no responses at all.
So I just walked around, doing errands today, feeling gutted.
This, too, is duende.
What I’ve been working towards for the last several years is starting to take shape in my mind. I still don’t have words for it; the words that come the closest, come from a worldview that doesn’t fit mine. Everything is an approximation of approximation of a flawed model. But it’s starting to make sense.
I can’t do what I always thought I would. But I can do other things. Including things I’m already good at. Or maybe just . . . things I can do, however imperfectly. Things I burn to do better. Things I could never even approach doing via other art media. But sometimes with words, I get close. Sometimes I can . . . feel . . . my words approaching the ineffable.
I’m on the right track, after long last.
I give up heart’s blood, but I gain . . . The World.