I find that it doesn't take much to get me into a slump. This is not to tell you that I am a slouch, a loser, a lost soul, nothing like that at all. Writers are observant people. They are also emotional, passionate, and insightful people...at least those writers that are innately meant to be writers....The hacks don't know what I'm talking about anyway, so that doesn't matter. If I were to tell you to read some of the biographies of great writers, you will know what I'm talking about.
For a writer who is like the one abovementioned, EVERYthing matters--EVERYthing. Every nuance of human behavior, human activity, human and animal interactions, horticulture....you name it: a writer feels it.
Sometimes, I feel it so strongly, I have a tendency not to want to write, but to go back to bed, or drink earlier than usual, or have a cigarette after having quit. Why? Because sometimes it gets to be a burden. Writers carry burdens no one has asked them to carry. Writers carry burdens that are universal in nature, like the idea of losing someone, of death, of finding one's true love, of conquering a fear, of remaining behind when one wishes to leave. There are so many human issues, that most people don't even think about, or if they do, they think without emotion, plan a practical mode of operation and move passed it. But then, there are those who cannot do this. There are those people who are not accustomed to interpreting their own emotions, and they find themselves so discontented that they lash out at anyone who is near. Writers are destined to be concerned with those people.
I'm not talking about a writer who writes merely for entertainment: our publishing houses are jam packed with those hacks...and some are darn good at it. They entertain, help us lose a few hours, keep our minds vegetated like television. They are sometimes needed to alleviate pressures, like sex.
But I am talking about writers who help people see a bigger picture about life. I am talking about writers who make life seem less overwhelming because they make a reader feel they are not alone. Writers of this caliber are writers such as William Shakespeare, William Faulkner, Elizabeth Bishop, T.S. Eliot, W. Somerset Maugham, Louise Erdrich, Annie Dillard, Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, John Keats, and on and on and on...
These writers pay a very high price for what they give and leave to the world. They observe, feel, and record insights of such height, that the repercussions usually take toll on their health, mentally and physically, and sometimes even spiritually. Yet, they write for others: to help others understand a little bit more some frame of thought or particle of life. Writers of this caliber care excessively for humanity, and contradictorily hate just as excessively its dark side. Writers of this intensity record in spite of their fears, their dread, their shame, or their sexual passion, orientation, or lack thereof.
Those other 'writers' who have had it easy, and know the right people, have the right connections, give the right political praise where needed to get where they want, those are not writers: those are hacks.
When one thinks of some of the greatest writers, one reads a biography of a tortured soul, one who had many obstacles, very limited abilities socially, financially, harmoniously....but they could not stop themselves from giving everything to their writing.
There are those who cannot understand the writer who cannot do or say more than in such a way that it is written for all time...Consider John Keats who died so young, having had so much potential, but having left early on in life because he contracted a disease which ran through his family, and him having nothing but wretched finances, could not stop his impending doom. Yet, it behooved him to sit about concentrating on his poetry, while others quietly called him lazy, a ruse, a pauper....And when his poetry is read so many hearts flutter, and consider him to be one of the greatest poets of the world in his short time on earth. His poetry creates so much insight into the human soul.
Simply put: I would like to consider myself one of these, in this caliber, writers. I would dare not say I am already, because another quality found in most all of these caliber writers is lack of confidence to show themselves outright. I've had trouble here also. But do not forget me, I hope someday you will be reading something I wrote and say as we do of those writers: "I am so glad I found her writing, I have come to understand so much about life, through her stories, her poetry, her writing."
Until then, I remain in my secret corridors, typing and considering, and painstakingly, overwhelmingly, feeling and interpreting for the masses, inspite of its taking its toll on my own personal space and life.