I write constantly. All day long, there’s a narrator in my head, detailing my every action for my invisible readers.
She squinted in the mirror and pulled one eyelid taut. The brush quivered, as it always does, a second before touching skin, before drawing a precarious line across. She blinked. Too hard. A parallel line bloomed beneath it and she sighed, yanking open her dresser drawer and rustling for make-up remover.
OK, it isn’t very good. Gimme a break. My inner narrative is perpetually in first-draft.
I wonder if non-writers do this. I wonder if people who work in business, in math, in finance, wake up with numbers streaming from ear to ear. I wonder if musicians think in notes and scores. If artists dream in pictures without sound.
I wonder this, because I wonder if this is some sort of ego. If I’m impulsively, subconsciously creating a story of my life because I want to live a narrative, not just a randomized life. Because I think I believe, or I believe that I think or I know, somewhere beneath the part of me that thinks these things, that all lives are stories. That mine is as much a work of art as anyone else’s, and therefore should be recorded.
If only on the outdated, faulty software that is my brain.
People ask me, sometimes, how often I write. They ask me if I sit down to write for a certain number of hours each day, if I jot down sentences in notebooks when I should be doing other things, if I occasionally daydream plots in boring meetings or at the most inopportune times, like first dates and important dinners. I do all of these things, I tell them. I live the writer’s life to the point of neurosis, and then I think about whether the fact that I’m writing all the time, without even thinking about it, is some kind of sickness. The plague of the creative.
And then I wonder if it matters. And I decide it doesn’t. Because when you’re born doing something and you can’t stop doing it, in fact if the idea of stopping is as ludicrous as sticking your head underwater, taking a breath and expecting to sprout fins, you don’t question it.
You don’t quit what you’ve never thought not to do.