Sometimes life gives you lemons. I hear you’re supposed to make lemonade when this happens. The trouble is, life doesn’t give you the sugar and equipment to accommodate the making of lemonade. It just lumps a pile of mouldy, manky looking lemons in your lap and says “here you go you bastard.”
Life keeps throwing lemons at me lately. I wonder if the universe mistakenly has it on record that I can juggle, and is expecting me to put on some kind of farcical show of juggling fifty lemons whilst riding a unicycle through a pit of dragon fire. If only I could. Even then, I’m not sure if I could manage to make lemonade at the end of it.
What does this have to do with writing? Writing to an author is like brown sugar to junkie. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. When I’m not talking out loud, I’m listening to the voices in my head (I’m not crazy I swear…). These things don’t go away when the world sticks a big fat lemon in your life and expects you to put everything to one side to deal with it. In fact, it only makes the desire to write even stronger. It’s escapism. It’s fantasy. It’s a safe place. It’s a judgement-free zone. I can build and destroy a universe in one page and no-one gets hurt. I can fix things in my imagination that I can’t fix in real life. It’s addictive. It’s as simple or as complex as I want it to be. It’s cathartic.
But above all, I can control it.
When the world around me is turning to shit, I can open a document, write my heart out and disappear from that fucking great big lemon that won’t go away. It might only be for a minute, or if I’m lucky a couple of hours, but that’s better than nothing. Some people watch TV. Some people watch sports. Some people socialise (crazy people). Writers write. When I’m away in my own little world nothing can hurt me unless that’s part of the plot, and even then it’s only on my terms.
In times of crisis we gravitate toward comfort and safety. Right now, I’m not writing anything for the purposes of publication. I’ve pushed aside the projects and pleaded where I can for extensions to writing deadlines. Right now, I’m writing for pure personal edification and gratification. I’m writing because that’s all I know. I’m writing because if I don’t write I’ll have to deal with the un-lemonadeable lemon - to focus on what can’t be fixed or cured by me sitting around worrying about it.
Maybe when these lemons stop piling up I’ll get back to the serious stuff, but right now the less pressure the better.