I have a particular anxiety.
Okay, to be honest, I have a lot of anxieties. They don’t call it general anxiety disorder because it’s specific to the concern that penguins are behind global warming as an attempt to kill off the polar bears, although I think that’s a pretty legitimate concern and fuck those short-sighted penguins and their destruction of the human race thanks to an age-old grudge. No, this anxiety is tied to my writing. That one aspect of my life that I have always considered my defining trait.
A bit of backstory is in order. When I was growing up, I was always going to be something. Something real (discounting the years I was going to be a time traveler or Optimus Prime). Have a career that made sense and provided financial stability. Regardless, while I was always aiming to be something with money-making potential—because that’s what was expected and God bless rugged American individualism—I always, always, figured I would write on the side. Eventually, the side-writing would pay off and I would be able to indulge in my “hobby.” It seemed like a solid plan. Hell, I’m “technically” being paid to write right now as a “technical” writer, though that’s hardly the dream I dreamed as a little kid writing what would be Scooby-Doo fan fiction these days.
Back then, in the days of unbridled potential, I had ideas. Stories. Creativity oozing out of every orifice. I “doodled” story ideas in notebooks in classes. I wrote in furtive, marathon spurts that could last for days. If my writing was compared to sex, the Kama Sutra would be equivalent to the Cliff’s Notes for teenage, fumbling experimentation.
Somewhere along the line, that died. My particular anxiety appears to be coming true. That the well is dry. The literary sperm count is too low, and, honestly, maybe I can’t even get the old creative juices flowing anyway. That’s my anxiety. That’s what keeps me up at night.
That’s why I’m doing this. Indulging myself in the narcissistic exercise that is blogging. Writing for the sake of writing. Practice. Like an athlete well past his prime, but in complete denial of his eventual and inevitable decline, I’m giving it one last go. If I can’t make this work—if I can’t get the prose equivalent of a raging hard on—then I may as well hang up the “writer” nameplate and stick with the technical writing that is currently paying the bills.
A warning, before I leave you for now.
I may not get political often (or I might), and same goes for waxing philosophical and metaphysical. Here’s the catch. I am a liberal atheist. I intend to be civil if I broach those topics. If you—whoever you are—are going to lose your shit over that, stop reading. Seriously. Save yourself the anxiety.
Anxiety is something I know a bit about.