He always fancied himself a writer, despite never publishing a single word. He used it as a conversation piece, especially with the ladies. When they’d ask if they’ve ever read anything he might have written, his charming wit would reply, “Funny, you don’t strike me as the reading type.” They’d lightly push or punch him while laughing, clearly smitten, and he’d once again escape having to admit to himself, or anyone else, that he is in fact, a fraud.
It wasn’t always this way. His fear of rejection kept him from submitting anywhere, but the pen used to move quite fluidly, almost rhythmically on the page, like a fine tipped waltz. That was before, back when his choices were simple. Whiskey or beer tonight? He’d smile, knowing the answer was both. There was something about liquor and ink that felt like home. Time would pass, or stand still; he couldn’t tell the difference. It wasn’t love, oh no, it was much more intense. It was like cold blooded murder, but one where the victim was the killer. The pen would taunt the bottle, demanding a suicide pact, but refusing to go first. When the time came, they’d bleed out onto the paper, and what was left was new life. The man that woke up the next morning was not the same one who died the night before. The only proof of his existence was an empty bottle or two, some pens, and a new chapter of his latest work that he’d be excited to read, as if for the first time.
That all stopped the day he quit. Quit drinking and writing. One couldn’t without the other. The writing went first. The moment finally came when he knew that he’d have to get published or give up. He couldn’t bare writing for no one any longer. Tomorrow turned into tomorrow, again and again, and when the ink ran out that last time, he didn’t buy another pen. It wouldn’t be long before the paper became a place mat for TV dinners and stuff, eventually getting lost under a mound of unopened mail.
The drinking was a way to pass the time. The binging was to forget it altogether. When he finally realized that he was in a hole, it was too deep to climb out. Pride wouldn’t ask for help, so he did the only thing he could, and that is pretend that he likes it there. He turned that hole into quite the nest. He would go out and socialize, and those around him believed him to be truly happy. Some envied his freedom and wished that they could live the life of a writer.
“What I would give to be able to sip whiskey by the fire while working on my latest novel.”
“Yea, life is pretty grand.” He’d say, believing it to be true in the moment. The problem with moments is that they end. Eventually he’d go home and see that he didn’t even have a fire place. The novel was long gone, and the whiskey was some cheap knock off brand. “This” he quietly said aloud, “This is the life of a writer.”