I was in a panic yesterday.
While flipping through a magazine yesterday, I saw a little snippet for Susan Choi’s (author of the incredibly smart A Person of Interest and The Foreign Student) latest book, My Education.
Susan (I’m not on a first name basis with her, but she’s Asian and I’m Asian and ohmyGod we’re sisters!) has won all these incredible writing awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. I got an A on one of my English essays back in college, so yeah, I totally know what it feels like to win those writing awards. Totes.
Anyway, the book is a reflection on love and maturity and the emotional fuck fest that happens through it all. I should really write those blurbs on the flaps of book jackets.
Regina, the protagonist in My Education says:
Even now, all these years later, I paused at the brink. It was its own totality, bottomless and consuming, a font of impossible pleasure that from the start also bore down on me like a drill until at last it accomplished a permanent perforation.
I told my friend Sean about this book and that particular passage…
Me: [almost in tears, ready to eat all the ice cream in the freezer – what the hell? Who ate all the goddamn ice cream??] I am slowly realizing I’m barely passable as a ‘writer’ . I can barely write my own name.
Sean: What was that you just read? Porn? It sounds porny.
Me: Ugh. You would go there.
Sean: Was it sex? Because oh my did she gild that lily.
Me: Stop with the lily gilding.
I sat on the sofa, pouting while watching a stupid episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Because I’m writing a telling essay on the absurdity of reality television and something something. Okay, fine. I’m not.
When I read authors like Choi, I get excited and giddy like a kid. Words are amazing vehicles for emotion. They can bite and cut you, lift you up and reveal things about yourself you didn’t know about all in one sentence.
But when I read Choi’s words, I also feel like I’m getting slapped in the face.
When will I be considered a WRITER? Does writing something, anything, make a person a writer? I doubt it.
I’ve been working on a manuscript since 2008. In five years, sentences have been deleted, character names changed and then changed back, plot lines devoured and spit back out again and the manuscript still resides on my computer, slowly fading away and losing priority to the things I have to get done instead of the things I want to get done.
When I blog, my words often feel vacant and lacking somehow. They are a mish-mosh of idiotic and simplistic thoughts bounded together by salient swearing and foolish words I probably couldn’t even repeat in front of my own family (read: parents).
And now I stare at these words, jumbled together on the screen and I wonder about the fate of my own words.