I have been lax in my writing. Not only here, but in my personal life as well. I’ve set word counts and failed to meet them, bought notebooks that lie empty. January’s not even over and all of my start over new momentum is just as flat as the champagne that’s still in the refrigerator. Every time I start to write this post, I delete what I’ve typed and sit, staring a white box on a busy screen. There’s a solution here, but I can’t see it. So, I give you a series of beginnings – all of the things I’ve typed since I opened this tab, in hopes that you’ll see a pattern I don’t.
1. I took a poetry class once, and it was NYU, so as I’m sure you’ve already imagined, it was full of nineteen-year-old girls writing terrible without exception (that means me, too) poems about our sloppy relationships. There was a boy in the class for one week. I do not know what happened to him.
2. You’re tired, don’t you know that? You’re stacking hour upon hour without turning your head and time, it keeps getting away from you.
3. Things I hate about your headshot: is the adult section on Craigslist? Are you the leader of a small cult?
4. There are days you are giving, generous person, and there are days when you are just as selfish as everybody else. In fact, most days are those. Most days you want, want, want and you hold out your hands with that smug little smile on your face, still surprised when you come away empty. Or you get something wrong, something with sharp edges, and you put it under papers, blankets, all the business of life, let things accumulate around it for fear of having to touch it at all.
5. She reads the paper at the dining room table. She leaves the sections she doesn’t finish on the arm of the chair next to the blue lamp and he wants to ask her to leave, immediately, please, but then he struggles to unscrew the damn childproof cap and he puts up with it for another day.
I do see a pattern, or rather, see what all of us have to face and then struggle with in the attempt to write, with meaning, for ourselves and others. Perhaps, at times, you feel frustration; you get started and then can’t continue, and that’s the pattern I see. Maybe you’re interested in the point where you get to start again, depending on nothing from the past (yours, other people), and being unique and original and, this too, unprecedented. “You get something wrong, with sharp edges,” and that insight, for me, has the beginning that will lead you to its origin, with an example, a character and a scene and a moment so true you won’t ever forget it (haven’t forgotten) and no one else will either.