The Need to Want

The day has started out a little strange, and doesn’t seem to be growing any less stranger.  So be it.  I live for strange.  Put a little Madness on the playlist, and I’m good to go.

The story is humming like crazy these days.  The last two Fridays I’ve taken the time away from writing to do other things.  The last two days, however, have seen the story come together in a good way, and I’m not looking to kill the buzz tonight.  That means I’ll be back into Chapter Five, bringing the last main character of this cavalcade of craziness onto the stage, and letting her take her place in my stylistic insanity.

I’ve seen a few people speaking lately of the difference between want and need.  In particular, I saw someone starting an argument over why his need to own high-capacity magazines was no different than someone’s need to exceed the speed limit in their car, and how would they like it if he removed their need?  Disregarding the fact that it’s a strawman argument, it does make one–namely me–think about the differences between what I need, and what I want.

Writing is representative of the want/need dichotomy.  People who write, and who are serious about it, will tell you that’s not just the fact they want to write, they’ll tell you there’s a real need to sit down and tell stories.  They’ll tell you that when they find themselves in a grove, they sometimes find it impossible to stop writing, that they’ll continue for hours before grinding to a halt.  They’ll tell you of the times when ideas have come to them at the strangest times, and they have to find a way to get a few notes written down least they forget the story ever came to them.  And there are the tales of someone waking up in the middle of the night, with a word on their lips and a story in their mind, and they get up ad head for their computer or typewriter or notebook, and they start scribbling.

There have been a few books written about this phenomena.  Stephen King wrote On Writing a few years back, expressing his feelings on what it’s like to be a writer.  Neurologist Doctor Alice W. Flaherty wrote The Midnight Disease–a book I own and recommend–looking at the urge to write and the link to creativity from a medical point of view, trying to make sense of why some writers could stare at a screen for hours and produce nothing, and why others could churn out ten thousand words without thinking it unusual.  There are more, because as long as their are writers, someone will write about what makes a writer.

But one thing I’ve discovered in my journey to this sunny hillside I call, “You’re Almost to the Summit”:  you can want to write all you want, but until you find the need to get your ass into writing mode, you won’t.  And if you do, you’re going to find the endeavor unfulfilled and unsatisfying, and you will eventually find you could give a shit about story telling, and head off to kill time doing anything but creating.

The need is everything:  it’s the driving force that allows us to put up with all the crap that comes with being a writer.  You’re mostly alone, almost always plagued by doubt, and your career and success is all dependent upon people you may never see.  What sort of madding job is that?

It’s the one we need to do.

It’s what I want.

But I Liked It

Oh, you miserable day.  Why does thou torment me so much?

Actually, it’s not this day; this day is just getting started, and who knows what it’s got lying in wait for me?  No, no:  I’m talking about yesterday.  Well, not just yesterday–last night.

My dreams.  You killed me with such strangeness.

Don’t ask me how I was back in college without actually taking any college courses, because that’s the way dreams work.  They aren’t suppose to always make sense, but here I was, hanging with friends, driving at breakneck speeds down a country road–like that have here in Indiana by the butt-loads–the windows rolled down, the radio cranked up, the wind whipping everywhere.

And like that–it all went to hell.

Somehow we drove up a huge ramp and launched out into empty space–as in, we were flying over everything.  Then the ground dropped away, and there was about a two hundred foot fall for us to enjoy in what seemed like very slow motion.  You know, you’re falling, but the fall is taking forever.  I even expected my life to flash before whatever was functioning as eyes, but apparently it’s too boring for even a quick death scroll.

Then, we hit bottom . . . and everything was fine.  Seriously.  It was as if we’d just suffered a minor fender bender; the car wasn’t even damaged that badly.  We just stumbled out of the car in shock and collapse wherever we though was a good spot.

That’s when it happened . . .

One of the passengers in this flying death machine was a pretty cute redhead, and as she grew near me, I reached out and gave her a kiss.  Not just a kiss, but one of those, “We survived death; lets make babies!” kiss.  I felt everything:  the touch, the warmth, the tenderness, the excitement . . . I don’t normally feel things in a dream, save for terror or sadness, but this was so nice, so wonderful–

Of course, that meant it also had to go to hell.

Once we all found our way back to whatever crazy ass campus where we stayed–which was so cool it had an indoor baseball field–and no sooner we were back in a library, one where we were the only people there, the girl I kissed came up to me, all pissed to hell and screaming, telling me that I didn’t mean it, that I’d only kissed her because–and here she waves a paper at me–it was all for an assignment!  Apparently there was something on the paper about finding life affirmations and stuff like that, but that’s not important:  the woman I’d kiss was totally burned with me ’cause, when I kissed her after surviving freakin’ death, I didn’t mean it!

Which mean I wasn’t getting any others.

The dream went into a tailspin quickly after that, mostly because I really did want another kiss.  It’s been a long time since I’ve kissed in real life, and the dream one was beautiful.  So to be told that I didn’t mean it, no chance you’re getting another one, loser, really burned me hard.  Not only that, but I lost my car in the snow–which popped up overnight during the summer–and then I couldn’t find my shoes . . .

Man, when things go to hell in my dreams, they go to hell.

Oh, I’ll edit today and put things behind me.  Forget the cute girl who said I didn’t mean my kiss when I totally did.  Forget I cheated death again.

I wonder what the hell I’m gonna get thrown at me tonight?