Illustration by Henn Kim
The more I read, the more I meet with other writers and talk, the more I realize that what I write is so different from what I see written around me today, that it makes me want to weep from terrible loneliness. I'd like to relate to someone, anyone, talk the same language, but my writing process is so strange (rewriting each draft from scratch every time, anyone?), my reading tastes so bizarre (Russian novels but in English, books written by writers long dead, absurdist stories of all kinds), my pastime so devoid of typical daily activities (I don't read news, I don't watch TV, I don't go anywhere, I don't party), and my business practice so against everything that's sane and practical (giving e-books away for free, not checking my sales, not aware of any numbers for that matter), that even among other writers I often feel like an outsider.
There are moments of doubt that grip me so hard, I think I will break. I have come across only one personal story that assured me that it's okay to be me. There are others like me. I read this Haruki Murakami interview by the Paris Review and I felt relief. Murakami said that he's a loner, he doesn't belong to any writing groups, he doesn't go anywhere, he doesn't see people, he gets up every morning very early at the same time, goes for a run, then comes back and writes. It sounded exactly like my days, except I write as soon as I wake up and do yoga before bed.
When I doubt myself, I wish I had someone to talk to about this, not just a friend, but another writer who is like me and who can tell me I'm okay. I'm fine. What I do is perfectly normal. For me. I don't have to change. To adapt. I can keep being me, because if not, who else is there for me to be? No one. Me is all I have.