She called me at 1 o’clock in the morning. She was sobbing and/or laughing. She’d just told her father to fuck off—a long, tragic story that’s not mine to tell—and was drowning in Catholic school guilt. I think she was drunk, actually, but I couldn’t tell through the tears, through the intermittent bursts of laughter. But alcohol would fit her scene. She doesn’t love herself very much these days, so mid-way through the conversation she turned her anger on me. Projecting, a defense I know so well. I tried to be understanding, but I was tired. It was late. I had to be awake in four hours. She lives in another time zone now, but I think she’s in denial about that. Ultimately, I snapped: “Don’t you fucking live with your boyfriend? What the fuck?!” As in: Go have a heart-to-heart with him, maybe have some sex, relax, and let me get some sleep. This after she accused me of giving her writer’s block by being “so fucking good! I hate you!” she yelled. “Why do you have to be so good! I just want to write, and I keep trying to write, but it all just sounds like you! I’m just not good enough. I’m nothing.” Etc. Such a writerly excuse for not writing. Still, I shouldn’t have snapped. She hung up on me when I did. And I know she’s reading. She always is. She always has been. So, I’m sorry. But don’t you understand? I used to tell Sang Lee that he was giving me writer’s block with the fantastic Science Fiction he imagined. But Sang struggled, and often failed, to write about himself, his impressions of life. That was my thing. Still, his “talent,” and the talents of other writers, made me feel like I wasn’t “good enough” for a very long time. But it was a bullshit comparison. None of us are the same writing animal. And when it comes to finding a voice, we’re all on our own. Pushing through the loneliness of that process, that’s what it means to be a writer.
Oh, and one more thing: “Good Enough” is all in your head. Snap out of it, kid!! Just write!! Don’t stop for anything.
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