I have been waiting – and trembling in secret anticipation – for acceptance to nursing school. This week, sweet word came in the form of a short email: Congratulations! You’ve done it! You have sold the next two years of your life to unforgiving schedules and stress.
I, of course, knew what I was signing up for. I am even elated by the challenge. Silly as it sounds, I have always found adversity to be character building. I march forward assuredly, prepared for a brilliant fight.
But what about my writing?
I have wished, as every writer has, to be left out to weather; to be able to write freely in an untethered realm of surrendered beauty and reluctant sound. At one time I believed that I did not belong to this world. I daydream too much, I thought. In my freshman year of high school, we read “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” as a class. I sunk low in my plastic orange chair. Oh, God, I realized in shame, this is me. I’m Walter Mitty.
No writer can exist in the lovely bubble. The creative haven is a port, but not a home. We have to go out to sea again and again. To our jobs, to school, to attend to our children and domestic duties. If we were to just writer, untangled and unabated, what would inspire us? The white-hot center from which we create would be tapped and exposed. It would cool and mellow, and so would the stories we plait in spite of all the reasons we should not.
And so, onward I march. As a hybrid animal: The writer/nurse. And may the experience – the raw material – surfeit, and never fail me.
“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”
C. S. Lewis