Writing was not like riding a bicycle. You could not put it away when the heat got too bad, and dust it off towards the end of winter. Plucking it up from the storage shed and mounting the seat and going off on a little ride. If you wrote in this manner you would be on a ride towards nowhere, a journey backwards, with progress in reverse. Jake knew that you must constantly work at it, with your pen as a heavy hammer clenched in sore hands. You had to work 2 to 3 hours a sitting, and discipline yourself into writing as often as you could. It was probably too hard then to write every day. So he juggled the bookstore with time to write and made a point to write three time a week. He would always write on his days off and this was when he had his most energy. Jake remembered what Michael had said about making time for art. He said that you must seize each idle minute for creation, utilize any free time at all. Jake knew this was absolutely correct. The only way to get better was to put in the hours, to practice. It wasn’t exactly about getting better and it wasn’t really practicing either. It was more about training. Training for a literary marathon, with one singular runner. The finish line was the completion of his novel; his opponents were time, mediocrity, and of course failure. The battle was that while you were still training, you were also in the first wind of the race. Balancing mistakes and rantings while sprinting against the clock. Noone was waiting at the finish line, no eager spectators would gather. There would be no confetti, no applause. He would hear no cheers, no trophy would be awarded, no gay parade. Along the way, noone would come next to him, handing out a cup of green gatorade, egging him on to finish. It was purely a personal competition, a promise he had(to) made only to
himself. Whether he finished noone would really know the difference, except Jake. This was not a job you could call in sick from, a girl that you didn’t call back. This was the one thing in his life, the only thing really, that he would not fuck up. It’s what kept him getting up in the morning. Needing to get it all down, finish the damn thing, create life from mere dust and swollen ashtrays. Jake poured himself two fingers of vodka and softly said to the glass “Remember, it’s not like a fucking bicycle.” paused, and downed his drink.