• The Complete Package

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  • The Complete Package
  • Posted by: Lalanii, December 3, 2011

    And this realization hurts. Can hurt anyone. The bulkiest ogre, or the ittiest little red riding hood. The fact that I'm replaceable, but he's not. That I wasn't in it for me, I was in it for us. Sometimes, a person can be too sure of someone, too sure of that eventual future. This is the jinx I mean when I laugh at people who get their lady's name tattooed on some outlandish place, and then they break up. This feeling is what happens when you name imaginary children, when you 'try' to remain friends after it's over. It's equivalent to a few rejection letters a week in my case, and something's gotta give. Anne Lamott said in one of my favorite books Bird by Bird:

    After thirty years or more of floundering around and screwing up, you will finally know, and when you get serious you will be dealing with the one thing you've been avoiding all along, your wounds. This is very painful. It stops a lot of people early on who didn't get into this for the pain. They got into it for the money and the fame. So they either quit, or they resort to a type of writing that is sort of like candy making.

    Writing is painful. Putting yourself on display, especially as a nonfiction writer, is painful. You run many risks, and taking those risks don't generally keep you going. At least not for me. Today I'm busy, I have another new client, and I'm still writing Product Descriptions for the previous one (hold tight Ed!) I'm preparing for my second to last residency (yaeeh!), and my son's birthday is today. Happy Birthday Tye! He makes twelve. I'm trying to remind myself why I wanted to write so badly when Bukowski already warned me not to do it if it 'doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything.' The problem is though, it does: When I'm on all fours breathing bleach scrubbing the jets in the inside of my jacuzzi tub the stories come to me, when I'm organizing my styling drawer by color and type of hair pin, when I fall asleep and am awakened by my tween exclaiming 'Nope, cause it's my birfday, nope, can't do anything cause it's my birfday,' when I wake from a nightmare that just won't quit and I can feel the fear of failure, yes, the stories come out of me. And I have to submit. I have to let my neuroses take over. I simply sit down, close my eyes, and remember his breathing.

    You simply keep putting down one damn word after the other, as you hear them, as they come to you. You can either set brick as a laborer or as an artist. You can make the work a chore, or you can have a good time. You can do it the way you used to clear the dinner dishes when you were thirteen, or you can do it as a Japanese person would perform a tea ceremony, with a level of concentration and care in which you can lose yourself, and so in which you can find yourself. - Lamott

    My mentor recently informed me I'd overwritten the ending of my memoir. Happy enough as that was, it made me feel like damn, even after all of my work, I still couldn't get it right. This, she said was a positive thing, overwriting. It meant revision, and voila! It means that I have pieces I can pull from that are well written, and can begin to see the light of editors. I should have been happy. I'm excessive, if asked to do one thing, I'll do ten. If asked to do my best, I'll do better than best would have been. If chanced to fall in love, I suppose, I'll fall... and I don't know if I'll come out. When I'm asked on interviews what my weaknesses are, saying 'obsession with what I'm working on' just doesn't do any of my attempts justice. Beyond being fixed or compulsive, by this time I'm already sure of the outcome. I give all. I have made many mistakes, and lost much sleep over this.

    To participate requires self-discipline and trust and courage, because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, how alive am I willing to be? - Lamott

    I write because it makes me feel that 'aliveness,' but it is lonely, and what I crave is experience and contact, to draw from. I am now alight upon a new journey. I think it will inform my writing in a terrific and mighty and even riveting way. It's big news but I'm not ready to share it with the world yet. But I will tell you, it's that BIG, and it makes me want to sing:

    'So why does our writing matter, again?' they ask. Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading can decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truth, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship. - Lamott

    Even though I'm sure it's too late, and life has gone on, in every sense of the word gone...  even as backwards and misconstrued as 'text-tone, is' and the language of tears, and as many uneducated dog-faced hookers I'm sure he's moved on to, I'm going to write it out of me because I still miss him, I still miss him, and I'll still miss him, just a lil' bit.


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