On the loneliness of the job

I’ve never been part of an MFA–but when I was young I have been part of workshops, and I’ve taught in both MFA and BFA workshop programs–so I kind of see what this guy is saying: it gets lonely after your MFA. I suppose. I have hated every single workshop I’ve been part of as a student, but enjoyed almost every one I’ve facilitated as a professor. The difference? I’m not working on my own material in the latter. Way more forgiving when it’s not me. Or my peers. Who I generally find off-putting. Ugh. People. I suppose it could also be that I took workshops when younger and gave workshops when older, which means I was more chill for the teaching than the being taught. Who knows. Am I lonely when I write? Sure. Until I latch on to something good. Then I’d hiss at you if you tried to interrupt to keep me company. Fucking writers. Nuts.

The problem is it gets lonely. Crushingly so, at times. But crushing loneliness can be dealt with. Emergency protocols can be initiated, loved ones contacted. I’m privileged to have this vocabulary, but I have it nonetheless. What I struggle with more is the lesser loneliness of writing, when every word I put on the page is fine but not great, when every song I try and listen to fails to hook me, when I get up to do the dishes and find only a mug and a bowl in the sink, because I’ve already used this as an excuse to stop doing the thing I should be doing. It will feel like the days themselves are suffering from a low-grade sinus headache, and all I’ll want is to get out, and be around people whose mutual desire for escape will confirm that I’m okay, actually.

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