A book in me

February 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

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For the past few weeks, nay, my entire life, I have dreamt about writing a book. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, and always assumed I would write a book. I still believe, with the steadfast certainty of a 9 year old’s intuition, that this will happen.

But I am getting impatient. It started when Amber Madison published Hooking Up: A Girl’s All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality in 2006. Amber wrote a sex column for the student paper at Tufts, much like I had just started doing at Brandeis. I wanted to compile my articles into a Hooking Up guide, but she beat me to the punch. And even worse than executing the idea first, she made me doubt if I could have done it better anyway.

And now, with Mighty Girl’s book, and Dooce’s new book and Que Sera Sera’s new book coming out, it somehow feels like everyone is publishing a book except me! Okay, that’s a little childish, not to mention inaccurate, but doesn’t do anything to curb my impatience.

I do have one book idea. It’s decent, as long as I can do it well. But every time I try to sit down and really start the writing, I get cold feet and stop believing I can do it. I know this is not a unique reaction, but it is causing problems just the same.It is especially frustrating considering my current position in grad school, namely, that I feel like my current academic work is bordering on pointless. At this moment in time, I feel like writing a book, even if it’s a silly book, would be a better use of this year than critical analysis of a biography of Eugene V. Debs.

Why do I want to write a book so desperately? For exactly the same reasons Joseph Epstein lists in his article, “You Think You Have a Book in You? Think Again.” He succinctly puts it that besides fame and fortune, some nice bonuses, people want to write books to counter their own insignificance in this big ol’ world.

“If only oblivion awaits, how does one leave behind evidence that one lived? How will one’s distant progeny know that one once walked the earth? A book, the balmy thought must be: I shall write a book.”

And it’s true. That’s exactly how I feel. I guess I’m not that original after all.Joseph Epstein doesn’t want me to write a book. He thinks there are already too many pieces of schlock in the world, and too many aspiring contributors. He also reminds me how miserable the actual writing process is quite nicely.

Without attempting to overdo the drama of the difficulty of writing, to be in the middle of composing a book is almost always to feel oneself in a state of confusion, doubt and mental imprisonment, with an accompanying intense wish that one worked instead at bricklaying.

I guess it’s the romantic in me, but I still want to write a book. I want to contribute a steaming heap to the schlock pile. I want fame, and fortune would be nice, but more than that, I want something to remind people I WAS HERE, other than the anonymous graffiti I leave in bathrooms, that is.

I do have a book in me. I just have to have faith, and keep telling myself that 22 is a little too young to expect such great things from yourself. It will happen. And it will rock.

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