Home > Life in General, School Dazed, The Blotter, Writing > The Late Night Ramblings of a Coffee Acolyte

The Late Night Ramblings of a Coffee Acolyte

(This was written last night, so I took a little time to transcribe it from the trusty ol’ notebook to the interwebs just for you, lucky reader!)

It might have been a bad idea to have the second cup of coffee, but I justify it by saying that slogging through 40 textbook pages on International Relations, specifically economic cooperation and development, requires all available tips, tricks and resources. No holds barred. Below the belt kicks to the textbook junk are totally permissible since it’s intellectual self defense. In defense of the writers, it’s not a poorly written book and they do try to make it engaging, but learning the fundamentals of something about which one lacks passion is always a challenge. Endlessly transcribing definitions, descriptions of policies, jotting down an alphabet soup of groups and just generally taking notes in the hopes that the effort will embed it on my brain is tedious, yet necessary. My GPA demands diligence. And caffeine.

But now, it’s almost 1:30 and my brain is running running running. I have ideas to write down, stories to write, worlds to explore, crucial little details that fit like puzzle pieces into my WIP that I simply MUST capture before they vanish into the aether of sleep – but my alarm is only scant hours away and I know how painful even just a few minutes more will make the day. So, instead, I went analog and I’m laying across my bed in my dimly lit room in the hopes of seducing sleep, yet my bastard hand is still FLYING across the page.

Tonight is one of those nights when I feel the insistent whip of the writing demon lashing at my back…and not in the fun way. It’s the bug that bites and comes back for more. With the completion of one of my three classes (one A down, two to go – I hope), I’ve been able to incorporate writing back into my day and I’m working on some not-quite-so-scientific approach to accumulating words throughout the day. Even though I did slam down 3k in one day, and another 600+ the next, it’s just a tease. Wanting to write is as addictive as actually putting words to paper, physical or not. There’s the initial rush, then hitting your stride, then the almost hypnotic flow of when the letters become words and the words become a sentence and that’s followed by another and another and another and you just can’t imagine that it will ever stop, and even if it was going to stop, you’d try to find some way to keep it going because it just feels so damned good.

And there is a sense of guilt about stopping. About forcing yourself to put the pen down in the middle of the epic cliff-hanger and walking away with that world in peril. There’s anxiety about leaving the best part unwritten, yet knowing that you have to leave it at a high point to make tomorrow just as dynamic, just as euphoric. Starting from a dead stop is hard, and might require warm up. Starting in the thick of it, in the middle of the searing heat, it’s easy to rekindle the passion, if the craving to get back at it doesn’t drive you mad in the mean time.

That feeling is the reason why I don’t feel guilty about writing something fictional every day. I know that according to some experts, I should. I am working on it, because practice is what we all need, no matter how good. Practice like that makes it easier for the brain to daydream on demand, but if I don’t put words to paper on a day, I don’t beat myself up for it. I’m always writing, especially when that fever takes over. When the demon is nipping at your heels and chasing you through your day and even the most mundane things are overshadowed by questions about your WIP, possible solutions to an irksome plot hole, or you find yourself standing in the middle of the grocery store with a box of macaroni in hand and the revelation comes upon you about what’s going to happen to the protagonist, you realize that you’re writing. Even when my keyboard is not rattling from the abuse of my fingers, even when I can’t hold a pen because the steering wheel is more important, or when I’m eyeball deep in boring textbook material, my brain is always writing.

When I went to school in NY, I used to take the train into the city and I’d bring a notepad with me, jotting down partial conversations and creating entire lives for the strangers around me, and in a way, I still do. I dig deep to understand the motivations of my agents on the phone and try to figure out what about an interaction with a customer made them react the way they did, and how I can adapt a solution to fit their personality. Sometimes, I’m just writing my own story, visualizing where my life will go, or how I’m going to be able to meet all my commitments and not lose my mind in the attempt. Sometimes, the writing is a boring challenge, like trying to write about the effect of globalization on China, or it’s inventive non-fiction, like linking the effects of the Industrial Revolution to Bartleby’s lack of humanity in “Bartleby the Scrivener.” But, at the end of the day, I’m always writing. (And I write even faster when jacked up on more coffee than I have any business drinking on a school night…) I don’t feel guilty about taking a Sunday to veg out and catch up on the DVR, or spending a weekend playing Magic because I know that during the commercials or in between rounds, that word soup is simmering in the back of my mind, bubbling up ideas that might become something more. Even when I’m not writing, I am. The drive is there, my brain is on, and I can’t leave this wicked mistress for long. The bitch is demanding, and I love her for it.

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