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SCOT BELLAVIA: In Which I Write My Heart on the Page

What is a book or an essay or an article? Countless hours spent on a single story or one topic. Countless because much of the effort was in my mind. Its content I found so fascinating that the only way to compensate for the time I spent thinking is to convince readers to mull over it for a fraction of that time. It’s always a terrible ROI.

Why should my thoughts be so intriguing that I demand others consider them? Is it an infatuation with my mind that leads me to write? I think that what I thought is so grandiose, others must read about it.

I decide what you read. Rarely do I confer with another before sending my trains of thought onto the internet for others to ponder and hopefully come about to my way of thinking. Of course, you chose to read it. Maybe I had a catchy title or you have nothing better to do or you feel obligated from our relationship. Or maybe you’re my father-in-law who seems to dutifully retweet my work though even a book contract will never support his daughter or grandchildren.

Maybe I’m being too vulnerable. Probably.

Maybe these are just a writer’s growing pains; I’m too big for my britches right now. Maybe I haven’t yet accepted this as simply a hobby, a socially acceptable way to talk to myself.

As a newbie, I wrote everything down thinking it all merited attention. I scribbled in my sleep and denied that morning light had revealed not brilliance but chicken scratch. The professional knows when to pass on passing thoughts and that his time is necessary elsewhere. I think I’m moving on from the midnight note-taking.

I’ll talk to my wife about some thoughts I’ve had and toyed with writing about. But after talking to her, I find I no longer need to write paragraphs about what she drew to its conclusion in a few stated sentences. And her thoughts of my thoughts are the only ones that matter.

That’s what I discovered when I released my book. I hoped for it to be picked up by dozens on the first day. But in the end, all I cared about was that my wife and sister read it and what they thought of it.

This is all predictable, in hindsight anyway. I started writing regularly when we were all only talking to our families because they were all we could be around. And then when they ?tired of talking, we took our thoughts to the internet. I’m not unique.

Scot Bellavia

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