Wormwood, wormwood

I told a little fib in that last post.

I said that before the Texas Mountain Trail Writers retreat in early April, I have to write a 500-word story.

The truth is, I don’t have to. It’s optional.

Then why do I put myself through this torture?

I do it because retreat participants will get to read their stories around the fireplace. And then the stories will be collected andĀ  included in the next issue of TMTW’s annual publication, Chaos West of the Pecos.

I refuse to be the fireplaceĀ  spoil-sport, and I’m sure as all get-out not going to miss an opportunity to see my words glued between the two covers of a publication.

And then there’s the other thing. It’s fun. It says so in the retreat literature: “This is fun, and optional.”

Despite having written myself into a hole I can’t crawl out of, writing “A Day in the Life of a Rancher’s Wife” is fun. It’s like creating a puzzle and solving it at the same time. I’m partial to puzzles.

But fun and writing seldom appear in the same sentence, at least sentences that come from writers. Red Smith said to write you have to “open a vein.” E. L. Doctorow said writing is “a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” Colette’s husband locked her in a room to make her write. He wouldn’t let her out until she’d produced something he could sell (under his name).

I don’t have it that bad. My husband doesn’t lock me in, I have most of my marbles or at least know which pile of paper they’re under, and I’m not anemic.

But because I’ve yowled around to family, friends, and acquaintances that writing is equal parts wormwood and woe, I have to stick to the story. Claiming the TMTW assigned a composition is a minor fudge, but it’s enough to convince them I’m suffering. They remember senior English.

Confession over, I’ll end this post and move on. There’s a hole I have to write myself out of.