Sometimes you spend all weekend writing out a book idea about haunted houses and choose your own adventure books and the meaning of home but then you miss the deadline for the application you were writing it for because you can’t tell the difference between am and pm, apparently.
Sometimes you get big rejections all in a row and your summer is already feeling empty and long and what the hell are you going to do after you graduate from this MFA program anyway?
Sometimes people ask you what are you going to do with your degree? As if the answer isn’t what I always did before, but, like, older.
Sometimes you meet your best friend’s new baby and love her immediately.
Sometimes you finish something. Sometimes you feel as if you’re never going to finish anything. Sometimes you feel as if nobody cares anyway and what are you doing writing about monsters and ghosts and weird shit when there are politics to worry about, real monsters just around the corner.
Sometimes you sit in a room of people you adore talking about creative things and you just want to run out of the room, out to the street, tossing your notebook in the air, the hell with shoes, your bare feet slopping in the puddles along Laurel Canyon Blvd, a street not built for this sort of rain, the endless, all-at-once, confusing Southern California rain that you will miss terribly when it’s gone.
Sometimes you grieve for things years before you have to. Like this moment. And this one.
And this one too.
Sometimes you see the rest of your life spinning out from you, circling back upon itself like a rope tied to an anchor and thrown overboard of a ship, twisting down and around itself on and on, into nothingness and you realize too late that the free end is not tied to anything, and there it goes, your life, twisting down into the water for some dolphins to laugh at.
Sometimes you make scones.
Sometimes you drink too much coffee and don’t sleep enough and your heart feels like it wants to choke you.
Sometimes you write a meandering monologue just to get something out and it suddenly opens up your play, and it doesn’t seem scary anymore. Not anymore.
And then another rejection comes.
Sometimes you buy a typewriter from 1941 off of Craigslist for a project in which you don’t end up using it anyway, but you have always wanted a typewriter so, what the hell. The guy selling it is also a writer – TV, he says – and he’d bought the thing with big plans to write his poetry on it – the romantic poet with his typewriter and coffee and cigarette. But he never used it. And the poetry was never written. And now it’s yours, along with its two unused ribbons. And it scares you, to type on it, because it feels so much more permanent than a computer. If you want a rewrite, you got to type it all, word for word – and it makes you realize that the kind of relationship writers used to have with their words was perhaps different, having to rewrite them over and over. An intimacy we don’t know in the same way these days. The intimacy of old friends. The intimacy of old lovers.
Sometimes you dream of traveling the world with this typewriter, creating a one-woman show with it, building a whole magical event around it that you can take to festivals, perform in grand halls and in elementary school classrooms.
And this, too, has already been grieved for. Remember that time I could dream about traveling the world with this typewriter? Remember when that was a possibility?
Sometimes you think, boy, everyone makes it look so easy.