Existential crisis. A crisis of existence. I worked at a bottle shop at thirty-three, five months shy of turning thirty-four. I didn’t give two shits about booze going up or down a dollar, which it tended to do more than you’d want to know. I didn’t care about people having enough money or too much money to buy it either. I cared that I was not writing. Not at home typing. I was here. Aware of every second on the clock spent double bagging some assholes two litre coke. I get it. Fuck the planet. Well fuck serving people like you buddy. Give me five minutes and I could write you too. Of course that would require the fire to last long enough till I got home. After I walked the dog and cleaned up. And when I finally kick off my shoes the last place I want to sit is in my stiff office chair trying to squeeze out a little more juice when I just want to make dinner, chat with my girlfriend and thankfully, sleep. Excuses. Sure. I sensed they were. But nothing, and brother I mean nothing, compares to an empty day to sit and write for hours. Only ever stopping to eat or because one of my limbs had gone numb. The trick is to catch yourself while you’re hot. Get to the laptop and get even with your demons. Too many days spent away from it are hell. And believe it or not I felt like I had spent a good many days away from it and it made me ache. Like when you were younger and longed for a woman. That feeling had been replaced by my writing, so I knew well enough it wasn’t mucking around. Anything that could take my attention from a woman is something. So why did I let lethargy stop me. Same way we let any dream go. Day by day, hour by hour. Until it’s gone. Vanished and replaced by a TV, a drink. Whatever your excuse, you’ve got one. That’s the thing they don’t tell you in the guide book. This ain’t easy kid. You’ve got everything imaginable up against you. So what? Do it anyway I guess. Write in your sleep. Just do it. Thirty-three and working in a bottle shop might not sound bad to you but I’ve been doing this long enough to know you only get more tired and the distractions only get more distracting. So sit the fuck down and write. Or don’t. It’s your life. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to write this again some day as the forty year old working in retail craving an exit.
J.L. Shenstone is an Australian screen and fiction writer. She has written a number of short and feature length scripts and recently directed the short film, Roll a seven go to heaven. She aims to create stories that reveal the stark reality of the human condition. To, ‘destroy clarity with clarity’ -Francis Bacon. Connect with J. L. on her blog, Instagram (jlshenstone), and on Twitter: @jas_shenstone