Don’t you know that right now Death is breathing heavily down the back of your neck? You only have so many seconds left, and each word you read here strips another one away. You should be writing—you should be living—you should be telling people how you feel about them, whether that means love letters or hate mail. You should be putting each one of those precious seconds to some greater use because THIS IS YOUR ONLY CHANCE.
Sometimes I feel that poetry is really a terrible thing to inflict on overly introspective people. For instance, that marvelous Marvellpoem just about everyone reads in high school or college lit courses:
At my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.
The fact that it rhymes makes it that much easier to remember, which makes it that more likely that I’ll remind myself at least several times a day that I am doomed. That I will never find out the end of the great human story we’re all writing together. That (more modestly) I will never write all the stories I cook up in my head. That as Linda Holmes reminded us there is no way we can read or watch or listen to or see even a miniscule fraction of what is available for reading, watching, etc.
So I sit down, in a panic, and put my fingers to the keyboard.
The words: they do not come.
What if they never come, ever again? What if the three novellas I have published and the steampunk Shakespeare anthology I contributed to and the Secret Submission I sent out yesterday are the only works of mine that will ever see the light of day? What if writing romance and practicing feminism are not as compatible as I’d like to think? What if everything I fear in the depths of my soul is true?
You cannot write, thinking like this. You cannot live this way, either—it’s exhausting. So far I’ve gotten past it by just plain getting vaguely mad, but I can’t shake the notion there must be some better way.
Back to work; every second counts.