I am working to bring together and organize ideas I’ve jotted in multiple journals and notebooks, on receipts and hotel paper. I am going through files on an old hard drive that has carried over stories and poems and essays from computer to computer for the last two decades. Revisiting the heartbreaks and pain of myself at 16 is a surreal experience. My college essays are both more impressive and are more flooded with adverbs like “truly” and “clearly” than I remember. Eesh.
I have saved drafts for this blog that rest like unfired pottery.
Goethe said, “Do not hurry; do not rest.”
My thoughts are fragmented too. I try to finish tasks only to be distracted by something else. I zone out to Animal Crossing just to feel like I’m completing anything.
Writing is lonely and exhausting and so completely voluntarily that it is impossible not to feel foolish every moment of the day. To sit and mine your experiences and observations, to think hard about people, to labor your imagination and wear out your heart, to slash at words both with the reckless abandon of a maniac and with the precision of a surgeon — it’s all madness and heartbreak. It’s humiliation.
Nikki Giovanni said “A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You go naked until you die.”
In those old files too are drafts of business plans and deliverables from previous jobs; I read old resumes and the bullet points are like hieroglyphics. All those dreams and accomplishments, yet I keep finding myself here, hunched over blank pages despite all the things I have hunched over before.
Anne Lamott says, “You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town.”