Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let's Be Honest: I've quit writing--for a while . . .

Author Philip Roth, a few weeks before announcing he was quitting writing, gave some advice to new novelist Julian Tepper.
"Really, it's an awful field," Tepper says he was told by Roth. "Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it's not any good. I would say just stop now. You don't want to do this to yourself. That's my advice to you."
Now, I suppose it would be very literary to say that I agree and am not writing out of bitterness and angst. However, such a statement, although appealing to the stereotype of artistic sensitivity, would be untrue.

I like to write. At this time in my life, though, I am too tired to fit the rigors of writing into my busy life:
  • full-time school teacher
  • brand-new grandfather
  • tired old fart
I could probably think of some more (after all, I'm a creative writer), but you get the idea. I am right now the Scrooge of Writing Present--Bah! Humbug! At least I am seasonally correct.

This is not the first time that I have stepped back from writing. When I was the primary caregiver for my first wife during her eight-year fight for life, I wrote rarely, able to count the times per year with the fingers of one hand. That was not wrong; it was the right time not to write.

"To tell you the truth, I'm done," [author Philip Roth] told a French magazine. "Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life."

I'm not done . . . but I am resting for a while. It feels good to admit that I'm tired and adding more busy-ness to the business of being an educator just feels excessive.

However . . . I have to slyly add with a subtle, sideways smile . . . winter vacation begins next week. With two weeks off, I may just spend some quality time in front of a keyboard.

Although I may not be at this moment driven by my passion to write, I certainly do enjoy the process of making imagination become actual words on a page. That is a tangible joy.

Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


  1. Tom, I ,too, have taken a bit of a break, but not really. I'm reading and reviewing lots of really good books (and a few not-so-good) in order to get other ideas to enhance my craft. I find I read differently when I know I will see my assessment in print. However, I have been a teacher, and unless you have tenure, you are always working twelve-hour days minimum.

    I get it. Do what you need to get the burn back..

  2. Thanks for the support. Winter storm here today in Iowa--fierce winds and blowing snow. I'm on winter break now, so I hope to write a short story during this rest time.