I have an image in my mind. It is me, writing. It's strange. I have glasses in it. I'm at a desk, turning over sheets of paper. I think I'm writing in pencil, and the paper has a thick tooth, almost as rough as denim in my mind. I wrote an episode of Darwin's Kids, in college, in a single night, all on paper like that, with a pencil. It was the Jan Term episode.
In the vision, I'm not sure what I'm wearing. I don't know what time of day it is, the light is neither blue nor bronze. Not sure where I am. The camera's looking up at such an angle, I can't see the chair or the desk, or anything but the colorlessness of an out-of-focus ceiling. But what's so romantic about this image is... I'm totally absorbed. I'm just writing.
How can I get there? How can I shut up the stress, the expectations, the commercial/success imperative? How can I write something passionately, freely, without the critics and the critiques hovering and editing? You can't get lost -- truly, gleefully lost -- when always hear the chatter of the highway so nearby. Where are the dark woods I used to get lost in?
Sometimes I think, I need someone I can trust, someone to get lost with, someone beautiful, and difficult, and inspiring. But that's foolish, a deflection of responsibility. Even though it would be nice, in that image, to have someone come up and look over my shoulder, I am the only one capable of getting lost in those pages, instead of lost in the worry of ticking clocks and closing chances, graying hair and mounting debt.
So, clearly, the solution is -- paper and pencil. Right?