My Quasi Hermetic Life

The life of a writer is not for the would-be author. It's not for those who are looking for a glamorous lifestyle, or for those who consider being on the A-List a good thing. It's not for those who are attracted to the romantic image of the tortured genius in his garret, drinking absinthe. For every book one may get asked to sign there is a year of nights of sitting alone, hammering ones head against the monitor. For every compliment one may receive, there is a month of sitting, staring blankly at the computer...

If I lived alone, our neighbors would probably think me a very odd person. The car battery would die for lack of use, the front door would only open once a week when food, wine and coffee were absolutely necessary, and the downstairs lights would never come on. The window above my desk would be the only sign of life, but no one would know, because the light there is only on when the rest of the world is asleep. Fortunately, my solitary lifestyle is punctuated by the comings and goings of family and friends. They make me look sociable and cast a soft light of normalcy over my "cave".

I like the image of the writer clicking away at the keys at a table in the local bookstore coffeehouse while sipping cappuccino, but the truth is, it's too distracting. When I see someone doing that I draw one of several conclusions about them:
  1. They're posturing as a writer, trying to look like they're writing the Great American Novel,
  2. they're writing email or chatting,
  3. they're doing homework,
  4. they're conducting research,
  5. like me, they're writing a blog entry, or
  6. unlike me, they possess a powerful capacity for concentration.
One of my pet fantasies is to get away to a mountain cabin or a beach cottage for two weeks of undisturbed writing, but how much would I actually get done, really? I know me. I'd start the evening by making a great steak dinner, after which I'd put on a movie, or some music, and take a nap. When I awoke I'd take a bottle of wine outside and sit to look at the stars and contemplate life until I was ready to go to bed. Of course, nothing would get done in the day time, because I'd be outside exploring, or inside blogging.

My other fantasy is to spend a summer alone in a tiny apartment above a cafe in, say, Provence or Soho. After spending the night drinking wine with the locals downstairs, I'd awake in the morning to go buy breakfast and fresh flowers, then return to spend the entire day writing.

Yeah, right.

As I've gotten older I've become friendlier with the unstructured lifestyle. Do you know how weird this is? I an A-Type! I'm the proverbial Early Bird! I'm the one who worked all day, came home to take care of a family and wrote all night, the only sleep grabbed during my lunch hour. I'm the original Go-Getter! But as my father used to say, "My get-up-and-go has gotten up and gone."

Watching the new 20 and 30-somethings just makes me tired. I remember having that kind of energy and I do envy them for that, but truth be told, I'm easing into my Old Fartitude with an unsettling ease. Sure, I have days like yesterday, but most days I'm just fine with sitting here watching the wheels go 'round.

If it weren't for the killing, I could even enjoy going fishing.