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Today, a certain nosey someone at the coffee shop poked his nose around my table to sniff out what I was doing. He decided that his question was important enough to interrupt my writing flow. I lied. It wasn’t important at all but apparently it was to him. He asked: “Why are you always here?” I replied, “Because I’m stalking you.” Well, I didn’t but I wanted to. Sometimes, well most of the time, my smart mouth doesn’t always work in my favor so I’ve learned to lock it up. Anyway, I politely answered, “I’m writing.” A few questions that followed were a little annoying, so I won’t bore you with those but the question, which stood out to me as funny and a little thoughtless, if you will, was this: “Why write?” He almost suffocated me with his arrogance, almost, but I managed to gasp for air and wave that stinky sticky question out of my face. I simply replied: “I write because I must.” I was short and to the point and he didn’t have much to say. Mission accomplished. With that, he filled up with air and deflated like a helium balloon. In my head, in my head he deflated like a helium balloon. Sometimes my imagination does what it must to add humor to some trying times.
After my annoying stranger-friend found something better to do, something dawned on me. I’m addicted to writing. At least I think I am. I write because I must echoed in the foreground of my mind, venomously. I repeated it over and over in my head. From the depth of writer’s land a flounder of words emerged. I exclaimed, “Damn you coffee shop stranger, damn you.” As I drowned out the relentless echo, I settled my fists of fury and collected myself. Alright, maybe this didn’t exactly happen. Perhaps I should save the theatrics for a game of charades, you say? Okay, deal.
I don’t remember why my addiction started or when it started, but I have an inkling that Stephen King may have something to do with it. Upon researching how to be the best you can be at your craft one day, I came across this quote by him, which read: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” This system has worked, for the most part. It’s become the method to my madness. There’s just one tiny problem. I can’t stop writing. Someone please help! I don’t want to be one of those people sitting across from a group leader who says with a confident grin, “Welcome to Writer’s Anonymous” and I don’t want to be one of those people who replies: “Hi, my name is M.T. and I’m here because I’m addicted to writing.” Is there even such a thing? Geez, what if there is? Should I check myself into rehab, into W.W.A? How much is too much? I suppose the first step to getting clean is admitting you have a problem. Here are some of the dreadful things I’m guilty of…
1.Five minutes before 5:00 p.m. I get all jittery and excited. Am I excited to see my drop-dead handsome dream man for our fancy shmancy date? Nope. I’m all jittery and excited to leave work to go write (cue in wah, wah, wah).
2. If I’m inspired, I have to write. There’s no doubt about it. Thank goodness for memo-pads on cell phones. It’s saved this crazy addict from diving off the deep end for a piece of paper and a pen.
3. When I’m on a roll I’m sure as hell and ready to annihilate anyone that interrupts me or even sneezes in my presence.
4. I won’t rest until I write.
5. Sometimes I write like the end of the world is approaching and the only thing left to do is write. Although, if the end of the world happened, my writing definitely wouldn’t survive it. Well, you know what I mean- it’s a figure of speech people!
6. Is it bad to admit that I’ve cancelled plans once or twice when I’ve felt a good idea brewing? Pathetic, I know.
7. My notebook looks like a crack head went AWOL.
8. I often, well more than often, find time during the day at work to write. Shh, my boss doesn’t know. Well maybe he does, but he won’t say anything because of #3. He knows.
9. My mood swings and irritability are a result of not being productive enough or not completing my writing goal for the day.
10. It gets my heart-a-racin’, especially after I’ve completed a perfectly formed sentence, found the right words to match my ideas, or when I’ve managed to pull it together after an all-nighter. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a coherent chef-d’oeuvre of words. I get a rush that surges through my body. It’s an exhilarating feeling most would compare to sex. Did I just compare writing to sex? Oh. My. God. Maybe this is worse than I thought.
Alright, so maybe I am addicted to writing, just maybe. The list above could be a pretty clear indication, I suppose. Most of this post is far-fetched. I’m sure you could sense that. Maybe that too is a characteristic of an addict. Anyway, some people have used writing as their means for recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, but what happens when writing becomes your addiction? Is there another outlet you can plug into to wean you off of writing? Is it safe to say that writing is a healthy addiction? I suppose I’ll leave the questions to the experts. Excuse me while I end this post. I need to get another fix.
Question for you: What is something that you would hate to go without for a day? For a lifetime?