At three a.m. I write because I cannot sleep. Anxious thoughts scrabble through my cardboard brain like gerbils, tiny nails scratching as they run. They race around a track, a never-ending loop, until I get out pen and paper. When I write, I can guide those gerbils from Anxiety A and Regret B to Solution C and Decision D. Writing lifts them out of their track and down a path with a happy bit of lettuce at the end. And I can get some sleep.
I write to maintain my delusions. I still imagine myself in a black turtleneck, artist-in-resident at some revered MFA program, heralded as the Next Great Mind. I like to believe I will never grow old, that I’m 20 pounds lighter, and that the American public will love the characters I create as much as I love creating them. I like to believe that, despite the demands of my day job, I can find the time and energy to pen great work. I write to bind and gag the realist within who says, “Crazy lady, you cannot have it all.” What does she know?
BIO: Nicole Vollrath earned her MFA at Emerson College in 2000. She lives and works in San Diego and occassionally teaches Creative Writing at UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink.