I am sitting in a leather chair. A fire burning in small wood stove. I have a cup of coffee beside me, and to my right is a view of the big and bountiful southern Oregon Coast. It is raining out, which is perfect as I prepare for tonight’s keynote speech at the South Coast Writers Conference in Gold Beach, Oregon. And this, dear friends, is one aspect of one writer’s life. So was the last minute laundry I did before I left the house yesterday, and the fly-by-night packing – there are certain things that do not leave my suitcase anymore. Spare phone charger? Check. Toiletries – always there. Spare running clothes? Check. Old New Yorkers just waiting to be read – yes, always there, still waiting….
The problem is that “the writer's life,” once published, now becomes “the promoter's life.” We writers, attending your book clubs, writing groups, bookstore chats, conferences, library gigs, are one person promoters of the dying art of reading. We have a book out there, people are eager to hear about it (sometimes) and we think it is important to try to get our little darlings into the hands of people who will appreciate them.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate doing this. (Well a part of me does, but I ignore her.) But though it is a part of the writer’s life, it is not writing, which is, in fact, what writers, at least this writer, wants to do more than talking about writing, or reading my writing, or Skyping about writing or teaching writing or any of the hundreds of other things we do that is related to writing, but IS NOT WRITING.
We are writers because the writers life, the real writers life, is this magical place we slip into when we give ourselves the space, faith and time to write. To really write. To write without hesitation or question or judgement. To let our mind and hands run free to create, explore and define new worlds.
A writer lives twice. Once in the act act of living, again in the act of taking our life stories and writing them down one word at a time while at the coast, or in the car, or sitting in a Laundromat or a coffee shop or airport or where ever you see writers living out their oh-so-glamerous lives.