It’s like wrestling a bear, and the bear is winning. It’s like climbing up Mount Everest and having your shoes stolen by said bear (which is why you were wrestling him in the first place). It’s like remembering, mid-wrestle, that you were supposed to be at the dentist an hour ago and now they are going to charge you that fee; the expensive one with the overly long name. It’s like being a poor college student wrestling a bear on the top of Mount Everest, realizing that you are about to get an overdraft fee on your credit card, and having no shoes because the bear stole them. That is what the last three days have been like. I started with a fire but that fire has cooled into smoking embers, which are not enough to warm my fingers into words. I thought that after two awful days of writing, a weekend spent rock-climbing and fly-fishing would cure my writer’s block. Alas, even the joys of my prize fish could not shake the languidness that had enveloped me.
I have only recently begun to tell people that I want to be a writer. It is a scary thing because that phrase (“I want to be a writer.”) has some weird stigma attached. It is cliché to want to be a writer. “Oh,” people think to themselves, “You want to be lazy. You want to live in a cardboard box for the rest of your life. You want to breeze your way through college and not do any work like those engineers, or accountants, or lawyers. You want to do drugs, don’t you? You will probably fail.” But to your face, they smile and say, “That’s nice.”
On our way to fly fishing, I was asked by an eager young freshman named Monica, who had spent the last forty-five minutes discussing the merits of an Accounting major with a senior named Bryan, what I wanted to do after I graduated. I said that I wanted to be a writer, but that probably wasn’t going to happen because I wasn’t very good. I told Monica that I was going to do all of the things I imagine other people think about when I say “writer.” Lazy, check. Cardboard box, check. I am worthless, check. Terrible writer, check. Our professor (this was a Wellness class trip) turned around and told me off. I told her I was joking. She said that the more I said those things, the more I would believe them, and you know what, she was right.
I have doubted myself lately and that is probably because when I get on the Facebook, I see pictures of people getting married and statuses about incredible internships. When I look at my friends, I see successful people, some of whom already have jobs lined up with a year left to go at SMU. I look at my parents and my professors, and I see people who are secure and settled. Then, I look at myself and I see someone struggling to write his first novel. I see failure. I see myself wrestling a bear, at 14,000 feet, over a pair of shoes. I feel like I am losing this fight. But, tomorrow will be better and so will the day after, and maybe I will get my shoes back. I have one month and I can’t afford to let another day go by.