I need to love the view

Driving this morning, I had an excellent idea for a book. I got a little chill of excitement because it’s original and it’s rich. At home, I scribbled a few paragraphs outlining the main points. There was already a narrative arc and some complexity. I could really see it coming to life.

But I don’t want to write it. Strange. Kind of like I designed this bikini that’s gorgeous, but no way am I wearing a bikini. It’s not me. Also, I own mirrors. And they work.

I don’t even know if I’d want to read this book that I don’t want to write. Some people would. In fact, if done well, with the right research, it could be an important story to tell, in a unique voice that should be heard.

But it is dark subject matter, and this is a bummer because I know me. I need to actively pursue positive stories at this particular point in my emotional life. I wasn’t always so feelings-flimsy. For example, in high school I wrote two plays: One about homelessness and one about the Holocaust (total life of the party). And I used to listen to Jeff Buckley as getting-ready-to-go-out music. Now it just makes me cry cry cry.

For me, sobering content has been replaced by the fun-scares of ghost stories and Jeff Buckley has been unseated by Justin Timberlake (not that you’re vapid JT – I feel you on Holy Grail).

These days the news I read on the internet is enough to send me hiding under my desk for hours. I’m easily overwhelmed with the bad stuff. I get sad in a deep way when I read about the stuff that’s happening in Russia, for example. I can’t shake it. It’s the world we live in and I’ll sign all the internet petitions, but at the end of the day it’s so easy to feel useless and small and quite, quite down.

So, this book idea. I started doing preliminary research and was immediately plummeting into stomach churning territory. Sad stories about bad things happening to people who don’t deserve them. Can’t do it. I know that is weak, but it’s just true.

As a writer there are a million choices you make in the process of a project, but one important one is – do I love the view from here? Do I want to live here for a while?

If the answer is no, for me, I can’t go ahead and pursue it. Even if it shines a little. No bikinis for me, at least until I drop the baby weight for good.


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