Sunday, June 27, 2010


I've been turning this over in my brain for a while, so I'm not sure how coherent it will sound outside the skull. But here it is.

Last week one of my younger co-workers posted that as he was leaving the bookstore, he saw two boys--even younger than he--holding hands, happy to be together, you know, just like teenagers in love. He also noticed the people around them frowning, and generally looking uncomfortable with them. He said that he gave them a big smile because he was so proud of them for being braver than he was when he was their age. I thought, as I read his story, "That's just how I felt when I met him. Proud that he was so much braver than I was when I was young."

I was never brave when I was his age. I never said it out loud. Not to anyone. Not in my life, anyway.

The first place I learned to be honest was on the page, and then it took a long time. I was in my early twenties I started writing a book about a rock band. Back then, the main character, Asia couldn't admit, even to himself how much he loved the lead singer in the band. I couldn't admit it either. Not even to myself.

For me and Asia it was twenty-seven years before we were that easy with ourselves. That's longer than any of the boys in this story have been alive. I suppose that's progress.Things have changed, and my young co-worker has shown me that. He is exactly what he is with every single person he comes in contact with every day. And it makes me so proud of him, everyday, and envious of his courage.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Demons and Angels

I've been wandering again. There's something about being so close to the end, and yet not so close to the end that makes my focus falter. If it ever was that great to begin with. I've been scraping along in my not-writing life, just barely paying the bills--or not paying them, trying to deal with family, trying to make people buy my sewing... It's endless distractions. And I've heard three different people in the last week say that it's easy to avoid writing, because there are so many other things they'd rather be doing. Three. There's something fairytale-ish about that, isn't there? Like a warning. Like all I'd have to do to finish the book is bake three loaves a bread (one with a stone, one with seven kernels of corn, one with mouse fur, but that's another story). Or maybe I should go away for the weekend to a cottage on chicken legs, or....

It's so easy not to write. Because, as Natalie Goldberg says in The Thunder and the Lightning, writing is hard. Sewing is easy, it's finishable. Dishes are easy, they're finishable. Writing is... It's never ending. One story bleeds over into another, and they're all connected in the brain, right? In my brain, Ziggy lives in the same world as Mica and Frank, and the same world where my werewolf pack runs the North End of Flint.

Writing is hard. There's other stuff to do. Each time I hear that, I think, "That's not me." I would rather write than anything else. Anything else. So, why not this? Why write about writing the end, instead of actually doing it? I don't know. I'm stuck at the gates of Heaven. Not metaphorically, either. I'm right there. I didn't expect to be there, and I don't know what's going to happen if we go in....

If we do, will I be done? There's only one way to find out, I suppose.