I’m in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. I’m sitting at my table, David McCullough’s Wright Brothers biography at my side, and looking out at the clearing skies. It’s beginning to get warmer.
I’m writing now. That’s what I’m doing because I’m a writer. I write. Not that I’ve been feeling clear on that for some time. I know that I’m a writer. I know that is who I am. I know that is how I feel most myself, doing that, writing. As Wilbur Wright said about flying: When you know that the whole mechanism is working perfectly, the sensation is so keenly delightful as to be almost beyond description. More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace, mingled with the excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination. That is the sensation of writing for me.
And yet, given my failure to have anything published in 38 years, I often don’t feel a writer and know that few others consider me as that. I’m a writer. I’m nothing. I’m a writer. I’m a failure. I’m a writer. I’m a loser. I’m a fucking writer. If you say so. This isn’t a series of thoughts, one after the other, but a garble of it all at once, puking through my head. And the idea of failure dominates.
That said, I’m glad to write about that. And I’m happy to be here on the Outer Banks with my view over the dunes of the greening sea and brightening skies, a triangle of pelicans flashing overhead. That’s something to write about. Which is what I did.