I was enjoying a nice nap and dream. I mean, I was perfectly content to lie in my bed and
not do anything that might be considered unnecessary. Honestly, I was. But, then,
the Bug bit me. Not some six-legged little vermin that doesn't know better, no;
the Writing Bug. Now I know why they call
it the Writing Bug- it's like a disease, a virus... a bug. It wakes
you up in the night, it makes you stop whatever you're doing so that you can jot
something down, it takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 15 hours just to get over
one "fit" of writing, it makes others want to shy
away from you (those who are faint-of-heart) and
the fools that don't run away don't realize it's contagious and have
the unmitigated gall to compliment you for your disease!
Who compliments someone on having ebola?
"You've got ebola, you say? Congratulations! Good job!"
"What??? Are you bent? I'm dying! Don't pat me on the back, heal
So I lumber my tired ass outta bed and plop myself in front of the computer,
pull out my keyboard (it's on a tray) and two hours later I stare coldly at the
vomitous mess on the screen, sometimes cringing at the miasma of words.
It looks awful and flows terribly, like reading a car wreck. I woke up from a
really cool dream about scantily-clad women for this.
I need my head checked, I think to myself.
The sad thing is that there are times when I find myself foolishly giving this
disease to someone else or encouraging them to indulge in it. I'm not worried
about competition, heavens no (I don't even publish)! I'm just concerned that
I've created yet another monster, another Writer...
ghastly! No one deserves it and I've sometimes been scolded for helping someone
to become a writer. I had a friend who used to read my short stories or a chapter
here and there of a book I was writing... until, one day, I bump into him and
he chews me out for inspiring him to write. "I was perfectly happy, dammit, until you
came along. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be writing this!"
Then he handed me a notebook filled with written words. This thing, whatever
it was, would take a long time to type indeed. I cracked open the cover
and began reading, taking note of the ink smears, coffee stains and occasional
ashes from briskly-smoked cigarettes while he wrote. It was awful. I got two
pages into it, trying not to look dismayed at this junk. I picked up my coffee
and took a sip, trying to steal at glimpse and see if he was watching me.
He was. "I know," he said, "it sucks. That's why I'm pissed
I couldn't help but laugh. I mean... it was funny. Writers should warn
people of the dangers involved with writing. I mean some doctors tell you of possible
complications before operating. Driver's Ed instructors tell you of the hazards
you could face on the road... why don't writers, or English teachers!,
warn people of the misery that will befall them?
"It'll start simply enough. A short story here, a poem there... but over
time you'll feel the need for more, like you can't get enough of it.
This is where the disease begins to take hold on you, like an addiction. Four
years into it you'll have three unfinished novels and bags under your eyes. Children
will run from you, screaming in terror and you won't be allowed back into your
church. So, for the love of pete, don't
become a writer! It's not worth it!"
That's what I'd tell them... if they'd let me teach, but they won't. Why not?
Of course, it's because I'm a writer... actually, that's not entirely true. It's
not just because I'm a writer... it's because I'm an unpublished writer.
It's kinda like a drug addict with no means. Everyone offers sympathy to the movie
star that gets nailed for heroin use, but no one thinks twice about spitting at
the crack addict on 21st Street who hasn't worked in a year. If I would only publish,
I'd probably, then, get some real notariety for my disease, turn it into
something worthwhile. But I can't bring myself to do that yet. Like, I have to
get sick enough that I can't stand it before I go to the doctor, right? Well,
I have to write more before I feel ready to publish. What I haven't discovered,
yet, is if there's a way to help the disease along, give it a boost so that I
can get to publishing sooner? I mean, let's be honest here... I need the money. Hrmm... Maybe I can stand on a street
corner somewhere with a sign that says, "Will write for
Do you think anyone would stop? Or would they just drive by and give me the