My strangeness is out of the bag since sharing the existence of the come-hither closet. I’ve suspected all along others are like me but until exposing myself, I wasn’t sure. I hesitated before opening my kimono, but what the hell, here in cyberspace we write like we talk, talk like we think, and think we’re not alone. I don’t confess deep dark secrets, but only because I don’t have any, which is why I am thankful to all the celestial beings—major and minor—for gifting me with an imagination so I can make up dark secrets.
The closet isn’t real—as in brick and mortar—but in my mind I see it clearly. I will sit within it for hours picking through the clutter. I might ponder my flaws, my moments of profound awareness, and my undefined periods—seconds to days—of uncertainty, but mostly I roll around in my passion for writing. I live to love, love to live, and live to write. I am of the belief this passion for writing negates my mother’s concerns about my weirdness.
Since coming out of the closet the world knows I store unnecessary plastic objects, thoughts, conversations, memories, letters I might write one day, have written, recipes, images of moments like the one when I laid my father’s ashes into the ground, in my imaginary closet. I am a writer and this is what writer’s do, we store. At least that is what I have always believed since reading Joan Didion’s essay, Why I Write.
After reading her words, I started sleeping again. I was strange, most definitely, but I knew I was not strange in a scary way. Phew! Writers are an odd breed, we’re quirky in all the wrong places. We walk with our heads in the clouds, stop and stare into the distant for no apparent reason, mutter to ourselves, and will go weak at the knees over a word or phrase.
Today I was talking to a friend about the precarious nature of lovers and said, “It’s a fragile existence being someone’s lover.” My mouth obeying my mind spoke without planning. As the words slipped between my lips and made their appearance in the universe, my knees wobbled. My little writer’s mind stopped mid thought, plucked up the words, fragile existence, and tossed them into my little closet. After, I replayed the conversation several times. I wanted to relive the tingling, which felt something like static electricity when socks fresh out of the dryer are separated. The rush felt at utterance can make me light headed, but nothing like when I am staring down at a blank page.
We writers with all we have learned and accepted about ourselves will agonize each time we start a new project. Even a seasoned writer suffers pangs of doubt when she confronts the blank page. It doesn’t matter if a writer has written one thousand words or two million, the writer will stutter, swallow back the panic—occasionally with a shot of single malt or chardonnay— before letting loose on the page. Sometimes the writing is shit and other days it pure brilliance.
I live for the moments when the writing is above my skill level, when I am possessed by a story. I don’t know why it happens, what triggers it, or how long the drive will last, but while I am riding the high I hold on regardless if I lose sleep or loved ones. In the heat of head-to-finger-to blank-document word liberation, I am gone, in the zone, flying over the great divide. I give, grunt, power down, reboot, drink disgusting green protein shakes, and donate to unearthly beings. The writer’s zone is insatiable. It’s the kiss of a lover you’d walk across the Sahara barefoot for just to feel his breath on your face, the taste of his lips, to run your fingers down his spine, once more for. The writer will howl, send me that lov’n, one more time, I can take it. There are times when I cannot distinguish between the rush of a lover’s kiss or my muse’s hand on mine.
This isn’t the type of conversation I would have with Calvin as he bags my groceries, but here in this virtual writer’s sphere I am comfortable sharing.
Have you felt this rush?
*The image is what I imagine my mind looks like, but after the Merry Maids have sucked up the dust bunnies and laid out the good china.