“The candle aimed its spear of light at heaven, like an artist who consumes himself to become divine.” — John Steinbeck
Tell someone you’re a writer and they look at you as if you’re full of yourself, or you’re deluded, or maybe — just maybe — you’re a genius. Sometimes it’s a quizzical expression of all three. Rarely do they ask you what you’re working on, whether or not you’ve been published before and where, or what it is that compels you to write.
They often sit back and smugly mutter to themselves, “Everyone’s a writer.” Just loud enough for you to hear.
Tell someone you’re a grad school dropout who has just returned to a job she had several years ago as a barista and they will look at you as if you are going backward. Throw in that you’ve come full circle to this familiar place, to this welcoming old job, to chance upon your truest love, and they will consider you mad, roll their eyes in unmasked disgust and take their latte to-go far far away from your dreamy eyes and hopeful self. There is no escaping this response. It just happens. A reflex. They can’t help themselves.
Or so I see them all reacting. I don’t actually know what’s going on in their heads any more than I know one moment to the next what’s really going on in mine. I just keep learning — re-learning — to continue on unflinchingly, seeking out circles back to the heart of the self.
The writer writes. She just is. She can’t help herself.