I’m helping a talented friend write her first book. Maybe helping is too strong a verb. Providing constructive criticism is better.
She got off to a bumpy start. But we both expected that, what with the five or six years of time away from creative writing.
But she’s past that, now. I finished her most recent draft tonight—85 pages—and I forgot at about page 40 that I was supposed to be marking it up with my criticisms and suggestions. So I had to start again. And in so doing, I missed my deadline to return the critiqued manuscript to her.
When I called her and tried to apologize for missing my deadline, she would have none of it. She thanked me for helping her out. I told her that I wasn’t the saint she was trying to make me out to be; that I was doing it because I really enjoyed it.
And I wasn’t lying to her to make her feel good. If she was a shitty writer this would be different, but she’s not and I love reading her work and helping her shape it. To see the clay of the story form beneath her hands, to watch it take a definite shape as she molds it through successive iterations until it stands fully formed and beautiful, a work of art—that is satisfying in the most profound way.
It makes me want to drop the rest of my life and write.
The creative process is a drug. I’m addicted. I have no desire to be cured.