The whole week felt randomized and blurry, as though I was seeing through a fog of some sort. I still am on schedule to complete the freelance project (and they are still fun). I read a lot of grad-student words, and a bunch of undergrad words. I found out about a fellowship I didn’t get. I struggled with some issues to do with an older friend of mine. I read books. My kitchen drains stopped again. I talked to people on skype, on zoom, on whereby, on the phone, on email, on chats.
My response to the fellowship surprised me. I didn’t assume I would get it, though I rather hoped I might. If I didn’t, I figured I would be disappointed but shrug my shoulders: there are many reasons one might not get a fellowship, and I’m responsible for only a few of them. I was disappointed, but I also was more existentially depressed. Why do I write? More specifically, why do I write if I reach only some people, if I’ll never be a bestseller/rich/famous? If I can’t even get a fellowship for it? Sure, it’s satisfying and even fun, at least some of the time — but still. Why bother?
And then I got my monthly You have money! email from Patreon, and I remembered. No, not the money: the fact that a bunch of people do care about my work. Maybe not millions or even maybe thousands, but lots more than me alone. I may write in isolation (and apply for fellowships ditto), but when I am done, my books join the big, messy world, become part of a conversation. If I choose not to write them, then no one sees them. And that was — and is — enough to get me working again. So, thank you dear Patreon people, and thank you dear blog readers. You really are why I write.