LYRIC O’ THE DAY:
I’m not your lover, I’m not your friend.
I am something that you’ll never comprehend.
--I Would Die 4 U, Prince
My body is turning on me.
Crawling out of bed in the morning is a little harder than it was ten years ago. My hands hurt. I can’t open diet Coke bottles anymore. I have gas, and frequently. Parts of me that used to look a man straight in the eye now stare at the ground. I’ve had surgery on places where no one should have to have surgery.
My youth has taken off like a prom dress, despite Estee Lauder’s promises.
Although I’m not looking forward to hot flashes or hair growing where it shouldn’t, I have decided to embrace one age-related affliction: selective hearing. For example, my 70 year-old father can’t hear my mother yelling to turn the football game down when she’s only a foot away in her recliner, but if I open a sack of chocolate covered peanuts from three rooms over while listening to AC/DC, he’s asking for one.
I’m hoping selective hearing will help me with this nagging voice in my head. It’s been with me for as long as I can remember, like an inconvenient birthmark that sounds like Fran Drescher. And when that voice starts, she goes for the jugular. I call these periods a Bitchy Inner Monologue Beast Outbreak--or BIMBO for short.
BIMBO: Are you still working on the same story? You’re never going to get that thing published. Surrender the fantasy.
Me: I think I can polish it.
BIMBO: Can’t polish a turd.
Me: It’s not that bad.
BIMBO: Snooki called. She wants her manuscript back.
Me: The bachelorette party scene is funny. All my betas laugh.
BIMBO: They laugh the polite laughter of people who think you’re two steps from losing it. Same thing they do when you wear your jeggings.
Me: Well, maybe it is missing something.
BIMBO: I think I know what you’re missing--it’s called plot.
Me: There’s no motivation for the main character. And I need less backstory.
BIMBO: You need more pizazz. Put another sex scene there.
Me: That’s a funeral scene.
BIMBO: Not if you make the corpse sparkly. Necrophilia is only bad if you’re human.
Me: Do you think I’m a terrible writer?
BIMBO: Yes. Although your grocery lists are quite riveting. Who knew there were so many types of vodka?
Me: Maybe if I cut the first three chapters and start with the car crash scene. OMIGOD! That’s brilliant!
BIMBO: Uh, are you listening to me? You should seriously consider a different career path. Something you’re good at, like making poor fashion choices or collating paper.
Me: I can do this! I’m awesome.
BIMBO: HELLO? Have you looked at yourself in the mirror today? Because that antioxidant cream you bought is a total rip off. I suggest you invest in paper bags.
Me: Did you say something? Because I think I just heard somebody open some chocolate peanuts.
Doubt and insecurity are unavoidable and affect us all--just like aging. But truly growing up as a writer involves using that selective hearing to ignore the BIMBOs. Here’s to being a mature writer, both chronologically and methodically.
Happy Insecure Writer’s Support Group Wednesday! For more tales from the trenches, visit Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog, he’s the one that made this all possible.