I am not the sort of person who lives with stories crowded in her head and characters shouting for attention. I do not. It is not like that inside me. The rooms are quiet, dust motes floating through sunlit air, and I walk them, sometimes bored, sometimes peaceful, and other times I walk an abandoned soot-choked city with no stars. But sometimes I am visited by an unexpected urge to write. I don’t know what about. I have to wait. My soul is looking for some story or image it wants to speak through and is disturbed by the expansive expectations of the first days of spring. Buds are unfolding, the air is softening, but the season is restless. When? it asks, over and over.
Some think that creating channels the divine. It’s the sort of thought you entertain after the fact, or when you are confronted with some extraordinary work of art and your heart gallops away in a fever of love and desire. Surely, surely, surely God has marked this writer or painter or musician, because he or she awakens a longing so strong it can’t be sated by drink or drugs or sex, a longing that goes on and on and feels like a penalty as much as a pleasure. When I create, it doesn’t feel divine. It is like finally finding out how those maddening pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit together. The pleasure of discovering and resolving a pattern. Stories may never resolve, but the writing of them does.
And then, so soon after, the craving.