I love writing.  I also hate writing.  I breathe and crave it as if it were the very thing that makes my heart beat–which it does.  I loathe because it’s not easy, it takes way too much time and it’s not often encouraging or rewarding.  Writing is the cruelest of mistresses.  She’s the temptress that laughs at you, shaking your self-confidence, reducing you to frustration and leaving you spent and wasted.  She will suck the life out of you. But the thing is: you will always come back for more.  All she has to do is crook her little finger, whisper a few words and you’re back reaching for something to write with, something to write that 7 times out of ten will be crap instead of the brilliance you seek.  She will suggest things to you that look great at night and read like sheer folly in the morning.  She will take you away from your friends and family with no guarantee of a kiss of inspiration.  Even if you back away, she will find you and haunt your dreams with plot and dialogue that sounds like what you want to say, but which always prove elusive once the spell of her enchantment wears off. She can make you look stupid.  Case in point:  a few days ago I posted the opening chapter to my latest novel.  Man, I thought it was grand.  It was complete and said everything I wanted to say in those seven pages.  I was proud and pleased–and then I started Chapter 2 and it became clear that this wasn’t the story I wanted or was even interested in.  Somewhere–I hear her laugh at me as if to say, “oh, my darling, did you really think you could ever be a writer?”  She knows it will make me mad. She also knows it will make me try harder.  I may look foolish and stupid, and sometimes I wander off into an alternative plane of existence known to writers as “the plane of possibility” or the land of “what if,” where every question is a possible plot for a novel.  You see, this is my life.  I’m a writer and therefore, I must write.  I have a cruel mistress and I must obey. And I love it,