I'm Only Really Happy When I'm Writing, Or When I'm Having Lots Of Fun With My Friends And FamilyCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 47•01 • Jan 6, 2011 By Chuck Burgess I guess you could say I have always had a love affair with the written word. The simple, solitary act of contemplating the white expanse of the blank page, and then putting pen to paper and seeing where the words take me, is my one constant solace in an otherwise turbulent world. Yes, I must admit it: I am only truly happy when I'm writing.Or if I'm having dinner with family and friends, or a new and interesting acquaintance I happened to meet that week and hit it off with. I'm pretty happy then, too.But for me, it always comes back to the writing: the discipline, the stamina required, the unrelenting determination to give voice to my innermost thoughts, thoughts that illuminate the cracks and crevices of the human condition. That is my only satisfaction. That and watching a really good movie on late-night TV, like Suddenly, Last Summer. That's a great feeling, especially when you haven't seen the film in some years, and you discover anew just what it was that you loved about it in the first place. I also enjoy canoeing and windsurfing when I get a free weekend down at the beach.And Frisbee. I love Frisbee.Yet writing, that noblest of tasks, painful and frustrating at times, easy-flowing at others, a never-ending quest for the soul of wit and honesty, wherein one aspires only to say what it is one has to say, and to get it right—that is my true joy, and the only act which gives me any sense of peace in this bumpy journey we call existence. Unless I'm on one of my day trips up to Bear Mountain with Geoff and Barry and the rest of the gang. God, we have a blast, the eight of us up in that rickety old cabin. It's a great place to hang out and clear my head so I can come home and get down to work on some real solid writing—if I'm not too tired from all the laughing, that is!Yes, it's a lonely life, the writer's life: as alienating as it is rewarding. At times, it can be pure misery, racking one's brains for just the right word, just the right turn of phrase, just the right flourish or hint of nuance. It's a burden as much as a gift, truth be told. But at the end of the day, it's all I really have in the world. That and my car. (Which I love, by the way. I've always wanted a sports car, and now that I'm in my 40s, I finally decided to splurge on a convertible. It's secondhand, but boy, you should hear that little engine purr.) Yes, writing is a singular art, a creative endeavor to which nothing can compare.I also really love Pictionary, too. There's nothing more fun than observing the comical flailing of friends and family—always with a nice bottle of wine cracked open, of course—as they desperately attempt to communicate with one another while abiding by the game's restrictions. Just delightful.Come to think of it, I don't really get that much writing done anymore. There's so much good TV to keep up with, and when I do have a free moment, it seems as though I'm always getting sucked into Facebook or YouTube. Those things are such time-vampires! It's like, "Hey, where did the last few hours go?" I'm sure we can all relate to that feeling. It's a wonder I find time to write at all, really, especially with my buddies getting me into fantasy basketball now. Talk about addictive.