I’m not sure how many of you will be familiar with the reference I’m about to make. There is this really cool video game called Portal in which you are given a gun that allows you to solve puzzle type problems in a unique way with your handy dandy portal gun. Like any good game, the problems you encounter grow progressively more difficult as you advance. You are accompanied on your journey through their maze by Glados, a creepy, wise cracking computer voice that encourages you, and promises that at the end there will be cake.
At one point, later in the game, in frightening graffiti on the wall the warning is scrawled: THE CAKE IS A LIE
This is exactly how I am feeling this morning.
One of the hardest things about being a writer is that it is a solitary endeavor. I am running a marathon, but there is no one at the finish line waiting with a medal or even a congratulatory bottle of water and a pat on the back for persevering when things got tough and making it to the end anyway.
I finished the project I was working on last night in the wee hours, when everyone else was asleep and I should have been too. I wrote over eleven thousand words this weekend. I completed a whole novel last night! And then I hit save, backed it up in several locations, closed the file and went to sleep.
I woke up this morning to feelings of relief, sadness and disappointment. Relief that it’s done! Sadness that it’s done. And disappointment that it’s done, that I’ve accomplished this great thing and…
An accomplishment like this should be marked with a party. There should be cheering. There should be cake! But there scrawled on the wall in what looks chillingly like blood is the graffiti: THE CAKE IS A LIE.
I went to work. I made the motions of living my life. Like normal. I didn’t even say anything at first. Honestly, I think I was mourning and wanted consolation. Mourning what? Both the loss of something that has consumed me for two and a half months solid and the lack of acknowledgement.
But you haven’t told anyone, you say? Yes, and this is where the tough part comes in, for me at least, being a writer. Everyone wants to be acknowledged. They want their accomplishments to be recognized. But most of us also don’t like to toot our own horn, which is where the crux of the problem comes in.
As a writer, no one is going to know you’ve accomplished this great thing if you don’t tell them, but if you shout it from the rooftops it feels an awful lot like tooting your own horn, like you’re a rooster up there strutting, saying, “Look at me! Look at me!”
I’m learning sometimes it more selfish to keep quiet than to let others share in your successes, to hope someone will look over and see you grinning madly or crying quietly into your Cheerios. So, I say, COCK A DOODLE DOO! Let’s make some damn cake!