I am Legion

My alter ego… lets call him Robert…. sneaks around the edge of my brain when I’m writing. When I’m working on my current project, he likes to slide memos about a zombie books we should be working on under my door. He fidgets and refuses to pay attention when I’m working on my plot and outlines.

He wants to google author salaries and tell me how writing for my chosen genre is a disaster. He agrees with the demons that crawl out from under my bed at night that I’m simply not good enough for anyone to want to read. Robert laughs when I get writers block, and cackles when I slam my IPad shut with frustration. He smiles when I just cant find the words to take the beautiful things I see in my head and convert them to the blinking dot on the page.

He steps up and thumps his chest when somebody asks me what I’ve been working on. Robert likes to tell everyone that we are a “writer”, even tho “we” have never published.

I’m terrified when I think about how much work I have to do, while he is off planning to write four novels a year.

Robert is a jerk, but I cant write without him. He protects me from having to worry about that stuff myself, so I can just write…. everyday…. day after day. He worries about the things of the world, so I dont have too, so I can play in the field of ideas and bleed my ideas onto the page. Always right there over my shoulder, telling me I’m awful but whispering in my ear when I cant find the next word.

When I give up, he takes over and works on his projects. He tells me to rest, that my work for the day is done. He makes me a cup of tea, and finds me a blanket to crawl up under. Then and only then does he put his fingers to the keyboard. I rest in the sound of the keyboard clicking as he writes about things I dont have the heart to face. The demons slide out of his fingertips onto the page, without effort. Then when he puts the last period on the last sentence they stay on the page. I’m jealous of that gift, for he is my demon and not so easily silenced.

It’s a love hate relationship. He intimidates me… but i have to have him. In the morning when I’m drinking my coffee he tells me how many words I have to write that day. He looks over my shoulder and tells me to stop editing and finish something….. anything. He makes it ok for me to create crappy first drafts because he just wants them done. Then when he is distracted with a shinny bobble, I hide off in the corner poking at the squiggly red lines trying to make them go away.

I do not now, nor have I ever feared him. The only fear I have, is not that Robert doesn’t exist, but that at the end of the day, when all the ink drys. I might find that there never was a Jerry.

J.Packard 1.9.18

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