Some years ago, I published a book, Loving Imogen, in which one of the characters, a photographer, says this:
“A photographer is by virtue of what he does, and these days I really manage to do very little at all.”
The same might be said of a writer, and I currently find myself in the same position as my imaginary friend. If a writer is because of what he or she does, I cannot be said to be one at the moment.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Maybe it’s that old nemesis, writers’ block, though some people insist that this condition doesn’t really exist at all, and is just an excuse for idleness. Maybe it’s distraction, or laziness, or lack of time – I have a day job, after all, and a dozen other things to take care of. Every day I sit down at my desk and open my laptop, but the words steadfastly refuse to flow.
Perhaps it’s the nature of the world at large that is keeping my mind from imaginary events. We live in interesting times, in which a number of more-or-less unlikely things have happened and are happening. The relatively safe, stable and indeed predictable world that I seem to remember from just a few years ago is hopelessly lost, it seems, and things will never be the same again. No one seems quite sure whether this is a good or a bad thing. Talk of a potential World War III occasionally surfaces on the internet, and the talkers are not exclusively conspiracy theorists or paranoiacs, either…
Love it or hate it, it’s quite a spectacle. Nothing that my feverish little brain can concoct really competes with it. Perhaps this is why I can’t seem to find the right words, or the right use for those words, at the moment: reality is just way more interesting. When I sit down to write, my mind invariably wanders, and the internet is just a mouse-click away.
It will all even itself out in the end, I expect. After all this time, writing is just what I do; it’s part of how I relate to the world. When I’m not writing, I feel less complete. When the real world stops distracting me, I’ll no doubt make my way back to my imaginary world, which at least has the benefit of being under my control. Until then, I suppose I’ll just have to keep on watching and wondering…