I’ve spoken before on here about how I’m dating this guy who is a better writer than I am. It’s a tab bit disconcerting when I’ve spent the entirety of my life resting my laurels on how I’m a fabulous writer, to be overshadowed by a guy that at this point I’m half convinced is going to be with me for the rest of my life. I’m basically setting myself up for a life of constantly being jealous of the fact that he is such a word-smith – and I am clearly not.
For the past six years of his life, he’s been working on a novel – and last weekend, he had me sit down and read what he had completed. By the end of the day I had fallen in love with his characters, the description of the area in which they reside, and the relationships between them. It was also entirely frustrating because he’s only 1/3rd of the way through – so I don’t know the ending. It’s like when they give a show a cliff hanger and then cancel it. Sure, there might be comics, or a web series – but you just don’t know. Just like I don’t know that he’ll ever finish this novel.
So the past week – I began editing his novel. I corrected for grammar (he has an aversion to using the proper punctuation) and I pointed out areas where he was missing plot points, or the actions seemed out of character. We spent the week going back and forth on what I thought – and how he wanted the story to take shape. Yesterday morning, I completed my review of the 40,000 words he currently has – and now I’m sitting here frustrated.
I’m frustrated for two reasons. The first is that our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other and I wish we could somehow brain meld ourselves into one writing super human. For example, he is nowhere near as prolific as I am. He claims he wants to do nothing but write all day, and make a living off his writing, but he’s unable to sit and write for more than twenty minutes at a time. By contrast, I can literally sit and write all day if I was given the chance. Once I’m inspired, once I have that spark, I can pump out 1,000 words in 10 minutes. (Take this blog post for example – I have been working on it for about five minutes, and I’m already at 415. )
His second weakness is his inability to look at plot as a structure and a containing unit for a story. He just wants to write – which is fine, it’s beautiful, and awe-inspiring – but he lacks direction for his characters. I could, for the rest of my life, write plots to novels. I could create time-lines, themes, character development, and everything you need for the outline of some of the best read works in the world – and it would be effortless.
I’m not a writer though. I’m not the wordsmith he is. I can’t take a pen and paper and make the characters and settings jump out at you. I can’t make a reader feel as though these characters are his/her friends – and I can’t do it so eloquently. For all my talents, for all the things that I can do – I can’t write a novel that anyone would want to read – because I’m simply not that talented of a writer.
So as I sit here, in his bed, watching him play video games instead of writing – I find myself increasingly frustrated with the fact that I wish I could give him my talents somehow. I wish that I could kiss him and it would transfer my drive and determination. I wish that somehow by rubbing his back I’d be able to give him the ability to see the story as a whole, and write to that. I would give up my specific talents to make him able to do what he wants to do with minimal effort, to have him actually enjoy it more than anything else like I do.
But more than that I’m frustrated because this is the story of my life. I feel like, in every situation I find myself in – I’m a supporting role to someone else’s greatness and talents. My greatest talent is actually not having a greatest talent, but recognizing that in others and pushing them towards it. Jack of all trades, master of none, always a bridesmaid, never a bride… that is my life.