We are writers, M. and me. Stumbled into each other’s lives in an MFA program in writing. On Thursday afternoons, the program hosted “demitasse” - a coffee hour for students and faculty to chat (or avoid chatting), flirt, and lament the state of their writing. I both loved and dreaded those hours - a chance to feel connected to other people after a day of isolation, struggling with some writing exercise or another - but also a reminder that connection was so difficult, complicated, fraught with anxieties.
We writers are constantly questioning everything. Plagued by self-doubt. It is part, I think, of the creative impulse.
Sonya Chung has written a lovely meditation on the current drive toward health (she calls it “the new happiness”) and creativity. About how in our social-networked reality, where we share intimate details, images and updates from our glossy, successful lives, we might be masking the deeper uncertainties, anxieties, fears that we no longer have opportunities to explore in the physical presence of those we love. Writers of past generations were depressed alcoholics and addicts who burned through intimate relationships, didn’t hold day-jobs or tweet about their yoga classes. Now, we marry, raise children and send them to art classes and sailing camps.
We post photos of ourselves looking happy, or nearly so.
After M. took this photo of us (I begged him to, to document an evening together, alone), we talked for a long time about writing - his, mine, and to what extent we’ve structured our lives to support or inhibit its progress.
There is a neatness to our lives now, our routines and our schedules. Necessitated by our jobs, our children. We talk sometimes about making changes - moving toward needing less, finding more time to write. Neither of us has the stomach for much risk, though.