Outing Myself

by Nic Olson

I fell asleep in the library yesterday. Head down. Computer on, sipping away at its battery. Grease-stained construction hoodie on my back. Ripped up winter mitts on the table. A sleeping cliche.

I am slowly embracing the life of a writer. Either that or the life of someone homeless, and let us be honest, if I pursue this path much further, I will inevitably end up homeless and friendless, sleeping in the library or in a McDonalds on a daily basis. I mean, I haven’t felt like I’ve really had a home for a few years, and I am thinking that this is something I like. If owning things makes a home, then I hope to never have what would be considered an extravagant or even decent home. I have felt like I was at home in any of the past thirty stops I’ve made in the past eight months, save for the two times I got attacked in Mexico. Feeling at home is a large part of having a home.

I am trying to treat writing as a second job, committing to several hours in a week locked in one of two basements that lack internet connection or outside sound. If, at this point, I treated it as a hobby (which it is), it would be about as successful as my hobby of sewing, or yoga, or tennis, or showering. I would basically consider it as something I once did but have become to busy to continue. That is what a hobby is.

It has taken me to the point of writing a book, albeit a rather clumsy one, to be able to admit that I write. I mean, it is embarrassing. If you are a musician you play shows and your success and progress is tangible, it resonates with people far greater than any piece of writing, regardless of quality. If you are a writer, you sit at your computer alone for hours at a time, and when you are promoting it, you are quietly plugging your blog on social networking sites, counting until your hits reach triple digits and you can celebrate by drinking a single bottle of beer. In the past, I would often defer to telling people that I spent my Saturday night reading a book, as if I felt I needed an excuse to stay home on a weekend and the excuse of reading was any less embarrassing than writing. It at least seemed more acceptable. It has taken me the five year process of writing and self-publishing a book to finally be comfortable enough to (attempt to) join a creative writing class. To share new works with longtime friends, or to even tell longtime friends that I do write. It has taken me to write a book (of which I am proud of but not satisfied) to freely admit my joy in writing. My shame level is high. Sleeping in the library seems to somehow lower it.

And I feel free that I can finally admit that I do it, and that I enjoy it. That it is a hobby, if not a passion, and that although it is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done and that every word is exhausting to spew out, and every story frustrates me to the point of never writing another sentence again, that it is one of the more enjoyable things I can think of doing.

To Call Them To Wander is the doorknob to my writer’s-shame closet.