Obfuscation has always been one of my strong points. Which is perhaps why I'm such a hard-to-pin down writer. Some people would say "undisciplined." Other people would say poor. But it always feels to me, when I'm making a specific point or argument, driving the direction of the words like a drover bearing down toward dusk, that I'm hastily retreating from something. That I'm avoiding the moon by chasing the sun. That the second I scribble a statement, the permanence of it seems to mock me.
I went to see Dave Eggers give a talk in college, and though his solidly written books aren't always the most prominently displayed on my shelves, to hear him talk was revelatory. He seemed to offer a relatable and loose look at what it is to write. He was asked a question by an audience member about why there are multiple additions to one of his books and why one is 45 pages longer (this particular audience member felt slighted, was unaware until recently). He basically said, "I don't know! Have you ever written something and just felt like that is it? I'm done. Because I never have. I'm always wanting to change things, always wanting to have my writing reflect what I know at any given moment wanting to do more work."
Mind blown. One of many of my issues with being a writer is having to stand behind things. Admitting they are solid and they are yours, when things are illusory and little can be owned. In order to truly go to bat for what you create, you have to spend an incubation period with your work (or have an elephant's memory), something I've just never been ready for (ask the 25,000 words of a novel I wrote about it, they'll tell you about the pack of cigarettes I went for). When I sit down to write, I just want to jam words together like toy cars and make sound effects with my mouth.
Creating words is a momentary joy unlike many others. In a sitting you can transform a blank page into a thing! A thing other people rub their eyes all over (that's how vision works, right?) and have opinions about and judge you for! It's a hoot! At least it's a hoot when you get to create close to your own terms, when you imagine every blog post as a conversation with yourself through the mirror of the internet (which makes you look pixelated and covered in pop-ups). I once imagined this blog as a place to write about making paper stationery, and perhaps one day it will be that again (for the first time?) but for now it is about the ritual of sitting down to write once a week. Not correspondence and not for my journal but just to sit still and pour. Teaching myself to write once more for just the joy of the thing, and maybe, if I'm lucky to get a little better. More disciplined.
As the date of my father's death approaches, I feel often things which are out of my control, and such is life. We cannot control what we desire to tie down most. I cannot change that I flitter between things and thoughts and modes of being as if jumping between bodies. I am everything that confuses me about my parents. Yesterday I watched my mom, decide whether or not she would wipe the coffee table down with a sponge by walking toward it, stopping, wanting to speak something, turning around, stopping again, coming back to the coffee table, stopping again this time much closer and spinning once more before deciding to put the sponge in the sink and attend to other matters. We Topschers, we dance as a crowd, even when alone. And so why would I write any differently than I live? Totally bewildered, excited, scared, sarcastic and absolutely unsure of the permanence of anything (even oxford commas!). And most importantly, with a sense of frivolity. This is the only prayer I can mutter. This is my offering to the maw of the many-faced monster in the sky.
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