My friend, author E.M. Alexander and I shoot emails back and forth all the time. I call it mutual support, others might call it psychotic venting and marathon whinging sessions. However it is labeled, it has become vital.
Even when I had an agent, there was a line I would not cross. Even if I was falling to pieces all over the place, I couldn’t tell HIM about it. A few times I had to physically restrain myself from dialing his number at midnight, after a few glasses of wine, and dissolving in a blubbering, messy heap on the line. That is what writing for a living does to you, it brings out weakness in character merely hinted at before then.
All the dumb and ill-considered things you might have done during a break-up as a teenager (20-something year old woman) are the same things you might do as a writer if you fail to think before you pick up the phone.
It’s a relationship after all but never forget that it’s a professional relationship.
Anyway I can be as mulish, hyper-sensitive, inane and floppy as I want when I’m speaking with E or any of my other writer friends because those same thoughts have passed through their heads too.
To the world we must appear strong and secure, confident, with an easy smile. The pathetic truth only my buddies and family know. And now you guys. Oops.
So during one of these recent sessions, E mentioned Dory from Finding Nemo and her mantra of “Just keep swimming”, and how appropriate and inspiring she found it.
Having young children, I have the dialogue memorized and it struck me too. But what I first focused on was how Dory is nuts, and everyone knows she is nuts and it’s OK.
(Big sigh of relief)
But- and this is the important part- she doesn’t let that stop her.
She can’t speak whale (string together a good sentence sometimes), her short-term memory is abysmal (my short-term memory is abysmal), she’s kind of clueless (I can be a nincompoop) but she just keeps plugging away.
And her friends are crucial to her happiness (if not for my writer friends, on occasion, I would collapse into a puddle of woe).