A Confession: On Writerly (and Personly) Angst

Sometimes I feel like the pit of my stomach is an airtight word container, precariously latched, desparately shoving against my heart to spill onto the open page. Sometimes my soul must labor to breathe because of thoughts lodged in my lungs, freed only in the coughing compulsion of tippity-tapping on the keys.

I don't always feel it, but when I do, it nags at me until I can't think of anything else but letting it out. And most of the time, I don't even know what it is I'm unleashing, until it is there in front of me in words I can finally read.

But that's nothing new, right? Just a common ailment of a writer? (Or in this case, of a girl who is still reluctant to call herself a writer or even admit that she wants to be one.)

What troubles me is how this feeling gets in the way of my daily life, how it diseases the moment I'm in. And what troubles me more is how in my melancholy, I savor these symptoms as if it is soothing to be sick.

I despise how easily I can disappear into my head and miss the rich flavor of the moment. I know I won't be offered another taste of those sixty seconds, yet I persist in fasting from the present.

It strikes me at the library, surrounded by foam puzzles and board books. It strikes me at a party, surrounded by friends and frivolity. It strikes me on a run, in the car, in the middle of a conversation. It strikes me, and I think, "I must start writing, or I will explode." (I am wrong about this. I will not explode. All that ever happens is that I grow weary of feeling on the verge of explosion.)

And here is the bottom line, if I'm really confessing, if I'm really naming the fear. I'm afraid that if I don't let the container spring wide open and write, then I will never know what the deep-down me is trying to say. And if I don't find out, if I (the daily I) do not listen to her, then no one will. She will never be heard.

And the thought of that fate--of never being heard--torments the writerly me.
And the thought of the waste--of squandering the present pining over my desire to write--torments the daily me.

Hence the angst.

Do you ever feel this too?

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