Life as fiction (Julie Chibbaro)
all I really want to do is sit in a quiet room and write. I recently took two weeks off from writing due to family illness. I thought it would be good to take a break from the work. Just focus on family, keep my head in the world. I joke how I struggle with writing, even though I do it every day, and I thought, ‘well, now I have a good excuse not to write.’ But I didn’t realize how crabby I’d get after just a few days. I mean, I’d done it before – taken time off, like when my daughter was born (I took a week off), or my sister got sick (I still wrote, but about her). But never two solid weeks.
This is what happens to me, almost all the time, no matter what’s going on: Say I’m in an accident, or giving birth, or experiencing the illness of a loved one; in the back of my head, I’m thinking how I might translate the action to fiction. How can my life be useful in my work?
I get a good dose of guilt doing this. Why can’t I just be in the world without translating everything? In a way, though, I think my writer’s mind saves me. It makes sense of the world for me. In a way, writing is my life, and vice versa. They are interchangeable, they feed each other. One without the other wouldn’t mean as much to me.