Yes, that’s me; I’m a bad writer.
I indulge myself when I write. My characters take long journeys of exploration. Thousands of words are spent as they kick around space, time, and memories, plot and vacillate over moral decisions and relationships, renege on their promises to themselves and others, and forget shit. Good writers (and editors, and hell, probably readers) will ask, “Well, what’s the point of all of that?”
Well, the point is, I enjoy it. It’s probably unhealthy, but my characters live alternative lives on my behalf doing all this. They help me engage in hyperbole. None of the characters are good or evil. Good and evil is a sliding scale, pushed around by situation, relevance, and perspective. That doesn’t mean they like what they’re doing; they often regret it. Hard choices are imposed on them. They forget what they learn, and are forced to learn it again, or learn their lesson, but can’t apply their lessons learned. Sometimes, it feels like they’re addicted to errors.
The characters are probably too much like me, regretting decisions and ruing choices, frustrated that they can’t control their lives, that their dreams are pushed aside by others’ agendas. Some of my characters are bitter and angry about it; others are blasé or fatalistic. Apathy sets in on some, but some forge ahead with determination, racing along even after it turns out they’ve made a bad decision. “Follow me,” they gleefully urge. Hundreds of pages later, they ask, “Where am I? What happened?”
It’s hell keeping up with them. Some days, they’ll like a drunken dysfunctional family gathering. Other times, they’re as boring and tedious as an later afternoon office meeting where everyone is waiting to leave so they can get on with other things.
I love keeping up with them and the laborious labyrinths of their lives as they struggle to find how much they can trust one another and cope with mysteries, betrayals, and setbacks, and find new goals as old goals are overcome by events.
Yes, I’m a bad writer, writing to mend my life and peer past the horizons imposed by reality. It’s probably not healthy, and I won’t bet any money that I’ll win awards or become wealthy, or critically successful, but I do have a helluva good time doing it.
Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.