Writing is broken – Anna Spargo-Ryan

Writing is broken

Writing is broken

It’s a funny thing, being too depressed to write. And by ‘funny’ I mean ‘so horrifically unfair and devastating’, P.S. I write much better about the sad things when I’m not sad (though it usually takes me a couple of days afterward to feel anything resembling unsad). When I’m this depressed, this is what my writing looks like:


So, not excellent.

It’s 8:30pm on a Saturday and I’m in bed. I was going to watch television to make me less sad, but I accidentally listened to some Lana Del Ray and knew I had to go to bed before I literally slammed my face in a sliding door.

It is raining, as it happens. Rain usually lifts my mood. I find happiness in the way it smells and the way the ground shimmers in the moonlight. Poetic bullshit like that. Tonight, it just feels like a cold, heavy blanket. I have no one to make it moody and romantic with, unless you count Eva Cassidy and some jazz piano, and I don’t. Well, maybe a little.

I’ve been working on this book. Every now and then inspiration strikes and I write a couple of hundred words and then stare at it like “did that even happen, or am I writing an imaginary book?” because some of it is just so unbelievably sad. This isn’t making me sadder – in some ways it actually helps me to realise how much less sad life is now than it was then.

Except for tonight, obviously, when the depression is like a sack of shit on my shoulders.

There is nothing remarkable about Il Perfetto. We sit facing each other at a plastic table. We are the only customers there – everyone else gets their food to go. The air is thick and hot. He is covered in a fine layer of sawdust from his day; he hasn’t showered. I am still in work heels and my back aches.

We stare at each other. There is nothing to say.

“How was your day?” A hissing noise as a mosquito falls prey to the blue furnace.

“Fine.” I don’t ask him how his day was. He doesn’t notice. Plastic blinds shift in the north wind. It’s too hot for this food. I move my fork around the plate. He eats with his hands.

The pizzeria is our constant. That first night, with me pressed against his erection but not that kind of girl, he dialled the number from memory and they knew his order from the sound of his voice. We pushed the futon out with a clunk and ate straight from the box, laughing at all the things we had in common. I didn’t even like tandoori chicken, but everything tasted good with him.

“Thought I might go see Sam tonight,” he says without looking up. “Maybe have a jam. I think Chris is back from Tassie.”

“Okay.” Sometimes I’m grateful for the quiet. My knee bumps against his. He rests his hand against my thigh.

“I should be back by ten.”

“It’s fine.”

Later he will tell me that I wouldn’t let him go, that I had a problem with him seeing his friends. That I always do.

“I’ll see you at home, then.” He presses his lips against my forehead. He hasn’t eaten his crusts. I’ll dip them in my pasta once he’s gone.

“Bye, Gaz. I love you.”

“I love you.”

  • Kelly Exeter

    April 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm Reply

    You’re amazing Anna. Seriously.

    That is all

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm Reply

      Oh stop it!

      • Kelly Exeter

        April 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm Reply

        I’m gonna have to stop reading your blog I think. It give me writer’s anxiety ;)

  • Allison Tait

    June 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm Reply

    Even when you are sad, you make me laugh. And even when you are sad, you write beautifully. Thanks for Rewinding.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm Reply

      Thank you lovely.

      I honestly love this scene. I wish I could figure out how to include it in my current WIP.

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