False Starts

In one of my creative writing workshops, before I gave up on giving a damn, the instructor distributed to us in our first hour together a weighty stapled packet including eleven different first pages of a novel she’d recently sold. Green all over girl that I was, I couldn’t fathom how her story could change so much from one beginning to the next. Now, of course, I can only think I’d hang myself after eight.

Sometimes I begin writing here without being sure about what I want to say, only that I must say something. That’s how I approach my writing some evenings, too, but the gut-gulping feeling that drives me to story tell is so much different than blog talk. I’m not guaranteed a listener in either case, but I’ve got no one to answer to but myself if I don’t.

So I thought I’d share a few false starts to blogs, words dangling like heads from broken necks or legs, conversations I haven’t quite decided how to have with you yet. Or with myself.

I didn’t work out today but I consumed more than my fair share of carbohydrates. The precious hours between work and the listless dark I spent writing instead, eating French bread and drinking iced Thai coffee, penning a world absent of both (and other luxuries, for all the boys are handsome and the gals daring). I realize I’m really avoiding querying by insisting on getting a start on the second novel, but among the many promises I’m making myself is that I’ll only live delusions for a little while.

Like the fact that I’ll exercise every day when my quota of responsible things I’m doing as an adult is met utterly by arriving to work on time, eating fruit for breakfast, loading the dishwasher, flossing after I brush. How can I keep up with what I ought to be doing when I’m too busy doing it in halves, when there’s the internet? I’m a kid rushing through my homework so I can go outside and play.

Lying in bed listening to Regina Spektor croon about how it’s alright, alright, alright (that everyone can’t have everything) I find that it is only too appropriate that my expensive pajamas are matched but wrinkled, that one ear bud dangles free so I can hear my husband  brush and floss and bemoan the sore throat I’ve given him. If I can still delight for so little done right I know I’ve got growing up to do.

If I plan to write for a living I know I can’t ever grow up too much.

Perhaps the moment passed for this one. It’s still true.

Returned from Chicago to the most desperate of cats and dishes I should’ve known to do before I left. My dreams of eating things like Toaster Strudel while I am alone this week were shattered by the fact that they weren’t on sale at the grocery store, so I bought bagels and cream cheese and fruit and whole grain, organic fruit loops. Today I consumed half-meals when I was hungry and cleaned the kitchen when I wasn’t.

This isn’t what it’s like to live alone, I know. I have more space than I need for just me and mess leftover for two. It’s quiet because I’m afraid of leaving the windows open with nothing between me and suburban hooligans but thin screens, but I can hear birds and buzzing things and distant vehicles like muffled televisions through the walls. I turn on the television when it gets too quiet.

What I wanted to say, I think, was that I’m boring.

To friends on Saturday night I readily admitted my eagerness to turn twenty-nine this year, to be eventually thirty-five and “have my shit together.” Whether that will be the case or no, my twenties are not exactly what I would consider to be free-wheelin’ years. I’ve spent most of them “in” things: in college, in debt, in the shit with my family.

The woman I’m made today considers a day spent responsibly a day well spent, a day of domestic comfort among the highest I can claim.

Still true. Still boring.

Though I reached the realization years ago that what I missed most about my family was intrinsically tied to being a child and belonging to a family, the heartache is staggering still, sometimes, especially when I think that I will surely someday want a family of my own.

I remember keenly the use of the word disown in my

Family. The comforts of writing and friends and hot drinks, memories rock candy crunchy. There’s as much of me in what I haven’t finished as in what I have.

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2 thoughts on “False Starts

  1. pennyjars

    I’m thirty-six and you can see my shit scattered all over the house. Funny you should write this, the story I’m working on now took no less than ten starts. Ten. Pathetic. Multi-voiced. Starts. Shine on, dear one!

    Reply

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