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9:34 a.m. - 2013-01-12
My ex-best friend/love of my life has designed a table that's selling for $1,000 on the Web site of major furniture retailer.

She has spent the past 12 years working in the background for her sister, who's a hot shit interior decorator in San Francisco. Somehow this always comforted me. K graduated from college instead of getting kicked out like I did, left me and moved to San Francisco to strike out in the design world, and ended up schlepping for her sister, while I was having quite a bit of excitement and fun as a news reporter (who needs a college degree if you're good, right?) But now it's 10 years later and I'm burned out on news, a stay-at-home mom, trying to get a community college degree in nursing in a class full of people who were in kindergarten when I started college. It's a far cry from the Ivy League MD I was headed for way back when. And K's finally striking out on her own, and making serious money.


So this morning I actually kept my New Year's resolution and sat down and wrote when I couldn't sleep at 5 a.m. If K can design a table, I can write a book. I don't know why I keep telling myself I can't. I've earned a living writing my entire adult life. I'm good at it. I know I'm good at it.

But writing your own story is different from writing other people's stories. Writing a novel is different from writing on deadline. I'm not gathering and portraying facts; I'm inventing them. I'm not showing readers pictures I saw; I'm inventing pictures and describing them to an invisible, nonexistant listener. The whole thing makes me feel a little crazy.

"This is nuts," I think. And I stare at the blank screen.

I think to myself that I really should be cleaning or reading aloud with my daughter. Writing -- creative writing -- is pompous and silly and frivolous. It's grandious to think that I could actually be "an author."

I guess I assume that fiction is much harder than news, and that news is for loser hacks who can't get a real job. That's what I felt about myself after a while, when my peers started making real money and their mark on the world and I was still doing more or less the same thing, though for larger and larger papers.

It doesn't mean anything that I was good at news because news is easy, I tell myself. It was certainly easy for me. But maybe it wouldn't be easy for most people? Maybe it was easy because I was talented, not because it's an idiot's job?

I dunno. I might be able to sell a book if I wrote it. Maybe.

So I'm going to try. And if nobody wants to read it, nobody wants to read it. At least I'll know.

I guess I should tell myself that I am writing the book to answer the question of whether or not I can write a book that's sellable. If I can't, I quit telling myself that I should. If I can, I write another one.

So I'm not writing a book with the intention of getting it published. I'm just writing a book to determine whether I CAN get published. Small difference, but it means something to me. Maybe it's less presumptuous.



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