April 15th.

Dear Diary,

Haven’t written you in weeks. Can’t sleep. Afraid of the sun.

Sure I’m probably busy with the end of the semester and editing my thesis and teaching my class, but not really. I’m afraid to write because the stakes are high and I’m paralyzed. Graduating from college blows. I hated it when I was an undergrad and I hate it as an MFA candidate. I’m going to miss my friends and I don’t know how I’ll make a living or where I’ll live. These are both problems and opportunities. I try to be brave; I think it’s a pivotal but overlooked virtue, and it’s not that I fear change. Often its exhilarating, but things can get worse and remember advice like, “don’t rock the boat” and “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it?” In Montana, boat rocks you!

Not to mention the writing. I want it to be good, but the truth is that takes work; it means rewriting pages that I’ve fallen in love with again and again, and spending a lot of time with the material, and have you met my latest characters? They are not fun to be around. Sometimes I’ll look at what I’ve written and all the things that I’ve put us through (the character and me) and I’m creeped out by the person who wrote this shit, and I can’t believe I’ve made this terrible life choice of being a writer, and then I remember that it’s not a choice, and it never was, and it’s back to the grindstone.

I cross a footbridge over the river on my morning commute to campus. It’s not uncommon to see a person stop walking, drop their bags and stare out over the railing. In the winter the river looks different every time. You might see big chunks of ice floating and the next day they’re gone. The water gets deep in the spring. Even deep water is interesting to look at. Or there’s the sky, or the mountains. Pretty with or without snow, and no one is embarrassed about marveling at beauty, and no one passing them wonders what they’re looking at or why.

April 15th feels important, eh? Deadlines for everything. Dead ends. Embrace. It will all be over soon.

2 thoughts on “April 15th.

  1. Whenever I hear the writer’s lament, I am reminded of the scene from Barton Fink where Barton is discussing writing with the Faulkner character (Mayhew):

    “Mayhew: Ain’t writing peace?

    Fink: Well… actually… no, Bill. No. I’ve always found that writing comes from a great inner pain… I don’t believe good work is possible without it.

    Mayhew: Hmm. Well, me, I just enjoy making things up.”

    Just enjoy making things up.

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