by Michael Sherrillo
I should be starting my paper right now. I should also be in class. Unfortunately, I’m doing neither. I left the folder for class in my car, and I haven’t had enough cigarettes yet to begin writing.
This could be called my warm up. My body, alive and humming like a car puttering in idle in the cool morning fog, my tank is filled with caffeine but I’m still waiting for that special nicotine boost to send me off into the roads of my “creative” mind.
I feel something especially literary about my vices, and I cultivate them as much as I do the writing they fuel. The sweet taste of cool beer, the harsh bitter intake of a slow burning Camel, the joy of wake-and-bake… Without their insight, their criticism, their torture and love (and what is love without torture?) I don’t think I could write a coherent post-it note, let alone a paper.
Pushing your body to it’s brink, fueled by stimulants, hunger, and a lack of sleep, the creative process becomes a liquid, art rolling of your fingertips as if they had a mind of their own. The cognitive disconnect between thoughts, feelings, fingers, and words disappears into a haze where one is instantly sublimated into all.
Sublimated is a good word for it. That’s what writing should be. That’s what real writing to me is. That’s the zone. It’s not agonizing over sentence structure or syntax, not caring about grammar or spelling (and aren’t those what computer where invented for, after all?).
I recently read about a woman who wrote only a handful of novels and short stories in her 50 year career, she didn’t even receive recognition of her writing until she was 40! She was known for her very methodical and time consuming construction of her stories and characters. Everything had to be perfect. (Anal retentive much?)
Something tells me she wrote sober. And from the few short stories of hers I read, I think she suffered from it. The talent was there… but there was that disconnect. The passion was a passion she had to create, the characters where constructed and the plot elaborately planned and fabricated. Good writer. Good stories. But no sublimation… Nothing raw or real or spontaneous or authentic. She is famous now… but she is also dead.
I need another cigarette.