The Venus Flytrap: Consumed by Writing
By Virginia Carraway Stark
Have you ever wondered if you were cut out to be a writer?
Most people go through times in any career where they wonder if they chose the right path. Writing isn’t a path though, writing is more like a contortion. I have never met a good writer who chose to become a writer, writing just seems to happen to the good many of our peculiar breed. We decide to become writers in the same way that an infant decides to eat when a breast is presented to their lips, it’s pure instinct.
You can write a good story by following a formula, you can learn as you go and get better but the writers that are irresistible are also stuck to their stories like flies in Venus fly traps. We sit here, getting slowly digested by the juices of the universe’s digestive tract. We fight, we rail, we work, we cry and throughout this process we are digested into the fly traps.
I have never met a ‘normal’ writer. I have met a few normal people in my life.
People who fit in and do everything right. They keep the warranties up on their appliances and never get a joke. I can’t understand those people, they are as alien to me as anything could ever be. A normal person could never be a writer because they will never go down the road that says, ‘do not enter’, nor could they imagine what would happen if they did go down that road. The writer brain is a ‘what if’ machine while normal people are set to good and bad and the good ones are good and the bad ones are bad. Writers are constantly ambiguous due to our relentless curiosity and need to know the heart of the what if.
Some people want to be writers and they aren’t. Some people get stuck trying to get through the window and bang their heads endlessly into an invisible barrier unless a door opens and they are open to the discovery of changing what they are doing and trying a new approach. Then there are those that the trap itself seems to reject. They try to get absorbed by the fly trap but they aren’t the right food for the trap, or maybe they aren’t brave enough to get stuck there good and fast. Every story is a new fly trap and every time as we type those last words we are left, hollowed out shells that are reborn to fly again and alight on the next trap we see.
Carnivorous plants, like the Venus Flytrap, developed lures to get insects to come into their sticky mouths so that they can get nitrogen in areas where nitrogen is often difficult to find in the soil. That’s what we’re doing when we go through the process of writing, we are putting our essence into the world to enrich and nourish it. We are trying to give hope where there was no hope, excitement to a dreary life, love to the lonely, we are in fact trying to nourish the universe itself through our own sacrifice.
There is no holding back when you write, it is an immersion, it is the fly trap.
Writing is so many things. It is a compulsion, it is a need, it is your very soul, it is the essence of your mind, the words are your children and your neurons pump through them. You are trapped and you are also, by your nature, vulnerable.
We are like flies that must be consumed. We are not happy to buzz around, laying our eggs in rotted carcasses and eating garbage. We are the ones who must experience every process of being digested as we delve further into ourselves than the tourists and the poseurs and the hipsters and the wannabes would ever dare to delve. No question is too far, no experience is too much. If it consumes us we let it and if we struggle against it it is to no avail.
We are stuck and desperate as we rise up again after our ordeal to share it with others. We are alone after our journey through life, death and birth that every author undergoes when they write and we crave solace. We crave more than solace, we crave gratification and reward and in this way we learn of the scavengers who would feed on our ordeal without ever having lived and died themselves (this is a whole other topic: the issue of the unscrupulous who use writers for their own purposes and profit).
When you write a story you reach a sort of nirvana. You yourself are nothing and all that matters is that hole the page you have entered. You must write it out. You must put it on paper. A kind of evangelism strikes writers, the need to share their message with the world. There story isn’t enough to be on paper, it must be shared. After the suffering you have endured to write the words on the page there is nothing more gratifying than having someone wanting to have that message delivered directly to their brains.
This is your brain.
This is your brain on writing. This one is cooler.
We are magical. We are not normal. We are phoenixes that rise again and again. Our abilities have not gone unnoticed and whole industries have sprung up to capitalize off of them. There are fly traps and then there is the far less mystical experience of banging into a window again and again and hoping it is freedom.
Your ordeal is worth something. Even if it’s just the fact that you will get the craving for sharing it out of your blood and onto the page and into someone else’s brains. We are the creators of worlds, the dictators of fates in dimensions unknown and if we refuse to bang our heads into the window repeatedly, refuse to be taken advantage of, we will find our ordeals instead.
Nobody wants to see a fly banging into a window. Don’t fall prey to the ghouls who off the chance for writing and nothing in return. Recognition is a form of currency for us flies. We wear our badges of suffering with honor as we are devoured once more, knowing that we have impacted a life. We have made a difference. We hear those words: after reading this, I will never be the same… and that’s when we have achieved our goal. Off we fly again. We will find our next trap sooner rather than later if you are like me.
We are the utterly edible and thoroughly undefeatable writers and every trap is just the harsh embrace of the universe.
So if you’ve ever wondered if you were cut out to be a writer ask yourself if you’re prepared to be deconstructed and broken apart in acid until there is nothing left of you but the atoms left to you. Ask yourself if you’re willing to open every door in your mind that you have nailed shut, every tunnel that says ‘do not enter’ and unmake yourself and remake yourself again and again and again.