Last night I went to bed, Han got me up and I was angry and not very graceful, then I couldn't go to sleep so I got up and tried to squeeze out some words and it was not easy, plus I'm behind in my count for National Novel Writing Month, then I went to bed again and I felt numb and that worries me, and then Han got me up again at four because he had to go to the bathroom so when my alarm went off I felt tired and still numb, and that concerns me because of the Fresh Air interview with Allie Brosh who got depressed and had no feelings and now I'm sitting on the sofa and trying to make up some of the slipping, sliding word count and I'm having a tough time and thinking about how nice it would be to take a nap and it's raining and white outside and I still don't have that many feelings except a general sogginess, whereas last week I felt alive and happy and excited even though I was behind on my word count then, too, and now I keep wondering what is it all for, why am I even doing this and the evil voice of doubt is chatting away in my mind's ear.
Okay. That's all I can write because I'm about 2,871 words short of where I should be on day 12. I'm sitting on my blue sofa with my laptop open writing about a girl who lives in a house with a blue sofa, a girl who is getting herself into trouble even though she wants to change her world for the better. This girl loves her friends but hates Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio.
Hey, this is fun! Fun like running a marathon or giving birth is fun.
If you want to participate in National Novel Writing Month with me next November, check it out here.
I am going to write this very fast so I can go write. Someday your mom is going to have a book on the shelves! I'm rolling a new project around in my head, and it's uncomfortable. So I'd better get to work!
It's been a long time since I wrote to you about you. You've grown about a foot and more into your sassy, headstrong, loving, observant self. When you're mad at me you shout, "I'm rude at you!" or "You're stupid at me!" But yesterday I did something to make you really mad, like insist that you get dressed before you ate breakfast, and you ran to the sofa, crying, and screamed, "I hate you, Mom! I hate hate hate you!"
I don't hold that against you. It happens.
You ended up completely missing breakfast, so it's lucky your preschool always has food on the table when we get there. You ate three bowls of granola and a lot of banana slices, and then you were your normal, non-demonic self again.
You only ever want to wear short-sleeved t-shirts, shorts and the checkered Vans you chose all by yourself when we went shoe shopping. You stick your hands in your pockets when you walk. You're missing your two front teeth and one on the bottom. It gives you a scrappy look. Plus, you need a haircut.
You love gum.
You notice everything! You're quick to smile and what you seem to want most (besides gum and love) is to make people laugh. You've discovered that the words "poop" and "toilet" and "butt" get laughs, so you use them frequently even though they earn you frowns from me.
Lately, you've started role playing with your toys, using voices and creating worlds and characters. Iona did this at your age. (She still does it, I suspect, but don't tell anyone.) I love listening to you play by yourself in this way.
At school, you have friends you play with a lot, particularly Leo and Cormack. Cormack is missing a tooth, but Leo is the one who walked up to me the other day and announced, "I'm Toothless!" I was taken aback until he explained Toothless is a character in the movie, "How to Train Your Dragon."
You are the most curious person I know, and by that I mean you want to know everything, not that you're odd or strange. Yesterday the young tattooed philosopher window washer who was here at our house all day noticed how inquisitive you are. "That's good," he said. I agree.
I love you, Hanster Monster, to infinity and beyond!
Today I got an invitation to Linkedin with G.B., a boy I used to know (because back when I knew him he was a boy, and will likely remain a boy to me forever even though we did meet again as adults at a class reunion that is slightly foggy to me, which is unfortunate, and I promise myself I will not drink so much Champagne on the way to other, future, class reunions). G.B. was a nice guy and it gave me a tiny warm feeling that he wanted to Linkedin. I know that G.B. Linkedin me only because the algorithm suggested it because other girls and boys from elementary school and junior high and high school have Linkedin me. (I actually don't know if anyone from those days has Linkedin me. Must go check, further delaying accomplishing anything. No. No. I will not do that. I will sit in this chair and write for real now. Not for this blog. But first I must tie up the ends of this inconsequential missive.)
Why do I get a tiny warm feeling at G.B.'s digital-only invitation to simply show we are 'professionally networked,' even though he works for a toy company and I sit alone trying to put words down so I can finish this infernal novel? I suppose it's because we want to be noticed and we have a primal need to belong. Additionally, I'll take anything I can get when I feel alone and scared, picking up my manuscript after being away reveling among family and drinking Chardonnay like a footloose bon vivant. Now I find myself in a dim, dank, hard-edged corridor with many doors that stretches before me like that hallway in Poltergeist. And offspring pick-up looms...
There is a cafe close to school that we visit on our way home sometimes. Usually it's when Iona's had a bad day, so we can get her a chocolate chip cookie. Han gets something, too, and sometimes I even get a scone or biscotti. They are nice. It's an old house with an aura of friendliness and neighborhoodiness. The people smile and recognize us. All these are good when you weren't asked to play soccer at lunch recess and even if you hate soccer, it would have been nice to be asked, and you would have even played, had you been asked. So when we found ourselves standing outside the glass front yesterday, I realized that my wallet was sitting uselessly at home and all I had was my checkbook. We went in anyway. I hate asking for favors which is a weakness of mine but I am able to overcome it in a lunch-recess-no-soccer-invitation emergency, which is a strength. So I asked if they'd take a check. The woman said, "How about if you just bring the money in tomorrow and take the cookies now. Would that be okay?" It was okay. So today maybe we'll go back, take money, and buy more cookies.
So how can we let go of performance in favor of experience? Here's something that's helped me: Several times a day I'll complete this sentence: "This is what it feels like to..."
This is what it feels like to receive praise. This is what it feels like to be in love. This is what it feels like to be stuck writing a proposal. This is what it feels like to present to the CEO. This is what it feels like to be embarrassed. This is what it feels like to be appreciated.
So, here goes, from my today.
This is how it feels to...
…connect with someone you barely know when you can't talk. My dental hygienist, whose name I don't know, is a pretty, gentle, personable woman. She's single, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. She talks while she cleans my teeth, asking many times if this feels okay, how's the temperature of the water, telling me how she helped a friend move his bed, how she doesn't like the cold so she's grateful for our mild weather. She makes going to the dentist easier.
This is how it feels to…
Get praise on my writing by someone I only just met, now, on the phone. "I didn't have any comments on your chapters!" she said. "I can't wait to read the rest." She has no idea how difficult this project has become and how much I want to finish it and how unsure I am about my ability to craft a story. She only knows that she liked my chapters and told me that, giving me the impetus, maybe, to get through the writing for a while.