by Shannon

On a day like today, it is extremely difficult for me to be productive in any meaningful way. It’s chilly outside, at least compared to the heat wave two weeks ago, and outside, the gray sky looms overhead, peeking through and weighing down the mysterious conifers that populate my back yard. Distantly, I can hear the chatter of birds and the neighborhood dogs, and even the man next door tending, as always, to his elaborate garden, which is home to a two foot statue of the Virgin Mary, sheltered by a white arched trellis, pink rose bushes and light-up garden flamingos.

What I can’t hear is screaming children, arguments and laughter and let’s-pretend games, or the man in one of the apartments downstairs toying with his motorcycle in the garage I’m not allowed to use. It seems that the wet sleepiness of the day has encased not only my productivity, but the whole world. On days like this, when I lived in college dormitories, my roommate and I would make Jasmine Tea and microwave Pad Thai, and watch the entire Lord of the Rings extended edition trilogy, and we wouldn’t open our door all day. But she’s miles away, and my only local friends are busy with work and their own lives, so instead I make myself tea and listen to the noises outside and blog about it.

I made this account months ago, with the intention of writing book reviews and making an account of my own personal journey as a writer. As usual, procrastination got the best of me, but I’m back. I have no idea how to make a blog a success, but I guess I’ll pass the link to friends, and hope.

“My own personal journey as a writer” is, unfortunately, until this point, a rather dreary one. I’ve never been published and I’m terrible at finishing things. I’m putting my hope in NaNoWriMo this year, to prove to myself that, at the very least, I can finish something, even if it doesn’t deserve to see the light of day. But, here I am, giving it another shot, hoping that maybe THIS time, I’ll find the motivation and the self discipline to finish something. I want to live on my writing, but I know that that is mostly impossible, and that most of the best writers end up starving or hating themselves. Well, I can starve, and I can certainly hate myself, but I can’t help but feeling that if the only ingredient to my success as a writer is abject misery, I’m missing something profound.

So, what does that mean, exactly? I’m pretty sure Tolkien wasn’t miserable. He might have been, having fought in the trenches of World War I, and being in possession of Romantic sensibilities in an otherwise industrialized, war-torn world. His writing certainly reflects that conflict, but anyone who can write such simple joy of homecoming, generosity, and innocent, generous friendship above all else, values which I am beginning to suspect never truly existed in the real world, and have it stand enduring, growing, and inspiring well beyond his death, couldn’t have been wholly miserable.

Then again, he was also in a writing group with the likes of C.S. Lewis. Maybe that’s the key. Has anyone else noticed that in every era, the best and most profound writers were all friends with one another? How do they find one another? It always seemed to me that a writer’s first instinct is always for alcoholism and recluse, agonizing over the fact that, published or no, their work will never ever be good enough, and then drowning their sorrows in the only way they know how.

At any rate, please follow this blog. I won’t post my fiction or poetry here, I don’t think, but I’ll talk about it and agonize about it. More than that, though, I’ll talk about what other people are doing. I’ll read, and obsess, and listen to music, and gush to you about the lyrics. Because, for myself as a writer, the whole world is my learning curve, and the only way to go about writing is to experience it.