“So I heard through the grapevine you’re something of a good writer,” he tells me. It’s a few minutes past eight and I feel the regret making use of the network of veins. It starts at the arm. Spreads up to the heart. Bursts throughout body. Boils up my neck. Ends at my right eye as I suppress a tick. I needed to sever this grapevine like I’m straight outta Compton.

Instead, I smile. It’s not every morning that I start my day with a compliment, no matter if there’s an obligatory solid embedded deep within. I’m not a good writer, but I write well. I may not follow prudent punctuation rules, and I have a hard on for vernacular and using words and phrases like hard on and vernacular. I’m not newspaper friendly, and I have a bit of a potty mouth when I go off on one of my fun little rants. Since I started working as a cataloger at [redacted], writing press releases have become something of a fourteenth nature. To date, I wrote about ten pieces and only manage to see three published in the newspaper with another online. I don’t count the last one because whoever at [redacted] is responsible for editing gutted the piece and I only recognized the title printed in bold upon the disembodied disappointment.

So in less than half a year, [redacted] managed to do something that not even the most vile college professor could: I hate writing. The sad part is, I feel adolescent when I complain about work. I can hear the clickity-clack of my fingers pounding on the keys of my laptop and all that lies in front of me is the verbal vomit of a high school freshman on the verge of his umpteenth meltdown. No matter how much I remind myself that I took on this job in order to provide a better life for Shaun, it’s hard not to see my grip on reality and sanity loosen with each passing day.

Writing started as a way to break from my introverted shell. It acted like an inexpensive counselor and morphed into something of a passion. Soon writing became an emotional thing. Sometimes, even sexual. I carry my black bible of a journal around with me everywhere I go in case something springs up while I’m out. I feel naked and alone without it. I scribble words down while I watch Shaun play at the train station in Barnes and Noble. I scrawl words down as I act as voyeur in a café. When I’m with my friends, I’ll write something they said down the moment it slips from their lips.

If natural writing is heavy on my mind and mood, imagine what forced writing does to me. Forced writing is the fracking of the writer’s mind. Sure you stand the chance to gain something beautiful and well-crafted, but at what consequence? The depression slips in; the anxiety builds walls around me. There are things I do that keep me focused, and I get smirks, jabs, and snark for them. This turmoil—probably an exaggeration—I find myself in exceeds the emotional state I experience after writing an entry, a post, a poem, a story. The process leaves my mental self weakened, like a Hemlock Grove werewolf changing during a non-full moon. And each time, I feel that part of my creativity slip.

Or maybe I’m just making all this shit up.

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