Edgar Allan Poe died today in 1849. If you know Poe, you know that his end was as tragic as his macabre tales. While Poe was known as a writer during his life, he struggled; he struggled with critics and bills and the stress of keeping and maintaining a family. He was one of us, a writer who aimed only to create.
My life continues to take on more responsibility, family, financial, career, and side careers of teaching and mentoring, but I still find time to write. I believe that this is what I’m meant to do, but I doubt myself, like many do. I get frustrated, like many do. I see people who can leave their careers and focus on writing and I get jealous. I see people who have been in this writing game a short period of time and they get an agent and I get jealous. I get jealous of people who have these fantastic circles of friends on twitter and seem to always be communicating with one another, and yes, I feel jealous. It’s human sometimes to feel jealous. Writing is solitary. I’ve never been drawn to big circles of people, but I do like the support, and yes, I have 1 support person – my husband. At least I have someone who keeps encouraging me to write. Of course, I would love the support of a larger writing community, or an agent, and a fancy publisher, but I don’t have that, and so what am I supposed to do? I’m supposed to write because that’s all I can do. I can’t live waiting and hoping what tomorrow will give me. I don’t know if I’ll get hit by a stray bullet (in Chicago, it happens), and so I have to keep writing.
One writing instructor once told me ‘Write the story you are meant to write.’ I believe him, I believe that there’s still something I’m meant to write, and I hope I find it. I have a pile of works in progress, an anthology I’m editing, but I have this crazy anxiety that I need to do more, that I need to shout at people and say ‘Look, I’m doing something over here and it’s great,’ but I have to fall back and just write the words. That’s all I can do. If more people gravitate toward me, toward my words then I did it, I set out what I wanted to do. Still, there’s that story in me that I’m meant to write and I hope I find it.
Poe is with me now and he’ll always be with me. I’ve visited his gravesite four times, and I feel like I owe him that much for inspiring me with his words. On this tragic death date, I hope that I can honor Poe with the writer I am and the writer I hope to be one day.