Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sorry, Darling, I Haven't the Time

Being a writer, I hear the woes of people who want to write, but don't.
"I haven't the time," they say.

I say, "Whatever, dude."

And I won't call them 'writers.' Why? For one, writers write. They don't complain about having the time. They don't kvetch about being too tired to write. They don't whine about the publishing industry and the difficulties in finding an agent and how all of that keeps them from picking up a pen.

Writers write. Period.

Most of us have full-time jobs. Many of us have children who need our attention. Almost all of us don't have access to weekend retreats or even formal desks.

Still, we write. During that hour-long lunch break. At six in the morning, before your boss gets in. In those 15 minutes between leaving the day job and picking up the kid. While waiting at the car wash, the dentist's, the doctor's, on jury duty, on the bus, in traffic. You will have to pry the pen from a dead writer's cold, tight clutch.

And we do this because we love words and stories and the smooth journey our pen makes across a legal pad. We don't care if that journey lasts ten minutes or two hours. Oh, the places you'll go in those moments!

If you can't do that? Find the time, any time? Then, guess what? Maybe writing ain't for you, dig?

While watching the Inauguration yesterday, I was struck especially by the expression on Yo-Yo Ma's face. Love. Joy. Appreciation. That man would play his cello in a dark closet by himself. He would play if he only had two working strings and a broken bow. He would play for me, if I asked nice enough.

That's what art should be, you know? It's hard, but you don't care, you just have to. You do it because... because. Time is on your side. You just have to commit.

What do you think? Are excuses just that?

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