Tonight I attended a virtual reading with Lysley Tenorio which was moderated by Mia Alvar. I am a huge fan of the both of them as they both write stories with a Filipino American lens. At the end of the reading they allowed the audience to type in questions in the chat.
In blue, my question is below:
His response wasn’t something I expected. He basically said that despite having won literary awards, given fellowships and having a secure job, this didn’t allow him to write as much as he wanted. He confessed that he didn’t write for years. His stories and characters, for the most part, lived in his heart and head and he thought about them all the time, yet he still didn’t write, especially after his mom died. He mentioned that sometimes life gets in the way, not necessarily forcing you to stop writing but because sometimes writing involves a process, not a practice.
His honesty spoke to me. I assumed an accomplished writer like him, with two books under his belt, wrote all the time. I imagined the stereotypical image of a writer hard at work at an oak desk with a soft lamp and a sturdy underwood typewriter with classical music playing in the back ground. I envisioned Tenorio typing away, taking occasional breaks only to stretch or crack his neck or take sips from his cup of whiskey. The words naturally flowed from his brain to his fingertips as he punched each typewriter key with vigor and fervor. Instead, the truth is probably similar to the process I currently have.
I, too, go for days, weeks, months, even (at one point) one year without writing. Yet when I do, often times, like now- it’s usually away from a desk or without a typewriter or alcohol. Instead, I’m at the kitchen counter, sitting on a swivel chair with my feet up, glaring at my Macbook Air with cookie crumbs nestled between the greasy keys of my keyboard while I take sips out of 7.5 fl oz can of diet 7 Up. There’s no soft music or light; just the fluorescent light over me and the silence behind me. One aspect of this situation that resonates a smudge of the truth of the glamorous version I envisioned is that at least I’m writing– maybe not in the most ideal environment or practice, but at least, I suspect like Tenorio, the words are easily flowing from my mind and onto the virtual page.
One thought on “My writing process during sheltering in place”
I am interested in your job now.