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these words I write*

published: 2012-11-06

I’m in New York, where I once lived. Back when the East Village was still dangerous and my ambitions were limitless. If I could have made it here…
I visit friends from back then. Their careers have moved forward, step by step, year by year and now here we are, in our mid forties. There’s beauty to the path of persistence as opposed to the path of least resistance. One friend, who came from Nicaragua as a kid and was raised by her grandma in poverty, is now on a photo with Obama. Another friend who wrote tens and hundreds of unseen plays, has become associate professor at NYU in film and television.
Hurray, I think. Good for you. And hurray, she thinks, when I tell her about my current projects.
“I can’t sleep,” she says, “I feel like all this work is being thrown at me and it’s flying past me, over my head.” She has anxieties, panic attacks. She has lost 20 kilos in a year.
I nod.
“The thing is,” she says, “I’ve always written from anxiety.”
I nod again. It’s what keeps us writing. The fear that we no longer can, that we never could, and that we never should’ve. Only while engaging in the act of writing do we feel we’re in command. Of the words. Of our lives. So when we’re not writing, we panic.

*”These words I write keep me from total madness,” Charles Bukowski.

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