Do You Really Have That Kind of Time?


I always remember that particular line from Bird by Bird: “Do you really have that kind of time?”  I don’t have forever, so how

There’s no AC so it leaves a haze of discomfort, sitting like a diadem at the top and center of your thoughts.  It is the season of bullet points and dropped sentences.  Of not getting things done.  Somehow, I want to subvert this principle.  Take a breath.   (I thought in my head just now that the only way for it to get as quiet as I need is to go somewhere very far away and not write for a while.)  This is not happening.  This is fear’s best suggestion.  Stillness, silence.  Like chocolate, I have had more than my share, had a surfeit to sicken me and still I wish for a little taste more.  A perfect silence, a perfect stillness through which all the rest could grow and turn out perfectly.   Never going to happen.

Instead, we are as we are in this moment.  Disappointingly flawed.  Sleeping on flannel.

Work is about pushing me to the limit if I take onboard the stress it offers.  More and more I think about what sort of stresses it would feel like if I were to be a full-time writer, if I could ever find the self-motivation required to stay in the moment and not flit away time after time when my language fails me to go glance through Twitter or Facebook and trip down rabbit holes of nostalgia and avoidance.

Follow the fear.  I believe in that.

In my head, when I follow that train of thought through, the first obstacle I see, the first excessively high wall between me and being the girl in the smoking jacket writing at all hours of the day opus upon opus is that I don’t believe I’m allowed.  That it’s a dream.  It’s not something that can cross from dreams to waking life.  I want it too much.  There’s the way I will go and I know that way, I have my own outline that is clear from top to bottom (already I’ve flicked the tabs) and the story that I know figures me as a side character, brought in halfway to join two awkward plots and then be subsumed by the drama of others.   Nurse, chorus girl, ensemble.

To demand more lines is the sign of a bitch, a problem, a frustration for those who have planned and written things out so nicely.  And when your sweet personality is about all you have to grease the wheels of the world, it stops occurring to you to bray and scream and revolt when you’re tossed aside.

That’s what I want Lillie to do, in this story, to say hold up, who says, and what now, and I can handle the reaction, even if I’m scared of asking for what I want or expressing when things aren’t acceptable anymore.   And if I can get her to do that, maybe it’ll let me have half a chance to do the same.

So we write.



Things that are wonderful that have nothing to do with me:

Onward, Salida!




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