Something happened on Friday. Something that jolted me out of a type of slumber I’ve been zombie-ing in, something that made me want to reach for a pen and to just purge my thoughts from my mind.
I started stringing words together in my head again — I started plucking them out of the depths of my mind — words about words, and about dictionaries and thesauruses and words that made me giggle just because of the way that they sound.
The truth is, I’m going to be leaving my job soon — at the end of February, to either take a break from work to focus on class (if I get into UPenn) or to get ready to go to Israel. And I think I’m going to try to substitute teach for those few months in-between, but I think that more than that, I’m taking off to write. I’m going to write like I used to – force myself to do exercises and just make the words flow.
I just read The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, and while I’m a little bit uncomfortable when authors write autobiographical works about people who cannot speak for themselves, McLain’s novel was well-researched and beautifully written, and it made me want to write. And any book that makes me want to write is worth reading over and over again.
Writing, for me, used to be a kind of addiction. I used to carry a notebook and pen everywhere and even if I never wrote in it, I always felt better knowing it was there if I needed it. Because lines of prose and poetry are fleeting — they soar into my brain one second and if I don’t jot them down (like I didn’t on Friday), they disappear and only reappear later, and only sometimes. Existing apart from writing is painful, and I’m not sure if I like what it makes me.
So I pulled out my manuscript. I needed to remember the poetry and I still can’t believe that it’s mine. Reading one poem took me back to the firehouse where I read it to an entire room of people and only saw Jonathan. Took me back to laughing and choking on crackers in my favorite teacher’s classroom as he tore apart my work.
It’s so interesting to read about who I used to be. The me that’s still inside, somewhere; the poems about my best friend as our frienship fell apart; the love I had with Jonathan. I thought it was so desperate. I thought I needed him so badly. Now – the type of love we share is so much more…real. It’s more mature and developed and old and comfortable. And so much more desperate. Like if he wasn’t anymore I would cease to exist. There is no me without him anymore and just the thought of that makes my stomach flip upside down and turn in circles in a delirious delicious flood of emotion. I never knew that kind of desperation could be good. I thought that it would mean I was weak. Unsubstantial. But since Jonathan is the one that makes me real, it only makes sense.
And it makes me want to write again.