Every time I finish writing a book and take a few weeks off, I start thinking about how ‘thin’ life is.
I check my ads and my book sales more. I eagerly await feedback from ARC readers. I read more political news than usual, until I get sick of it, and start casting around for other things to do.
I do the cover and editing. I update my website and marketing. I play Civ 4. I check in with family and friends, until everyone I know is accounted for. I watch everything I want to watch, read everything I want to read, until I’m fully caught up on all human culture that interests me, and finally I feel like I’m ‘seeing through’ life; getting a glimpse of just how much we are all a shallow layer of moss atop a spinning ball in space.
In those moments I often think- if it wasn’t writing, what would I do to thicken life up, lend some spice, and make it into more of an ongoing narrative?
If I was a gambler maybe I’d gamble- that’s a complex tale of ups and downs that really engages the emotions. If I was a drinker I’d drink, which is much the same. If I had kids I’d be playing with/minding them, and the story of kids’ growth and development is surely one of the greatest stories we get to experience (both as kids ourselves then as parents from the other side).
Stories are what thicken up life. Our own story, our family, the stories of friends, the stories of affairs out in the world, on TV, in books, even the story of my garden as it grows. They’re all part of an interwoven narrative that give life meaning.
I don’t gamble or drink or any of those other things- so when I get this ‘thin’ feeling I know it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get into the next book. I write, and the stories I tell add an extra layer of depth and meaning to that thin coating of moss on this spinning ball in space- for me, and I hope for others too.
That’s why I write.