You Just Write What’s True

Apply for a job, eat a slice of pizza. Apply for another job, eat a second slice of pizza.


Peruse Pinterest. Consider dinner: coconut curry for the third night, or soup for the second.

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Raid the pantry for anything remotely resembling chocolate. Come up empty. Eat an apple.

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Feel guilty for not applying to more jobs. Remember you’re not the only one. Wish there were cinnamon sugar.

Skim a chapter in a book that should not be skimmed. Try very hard not to think about him.

Fail spectacularly. Go to the gym. Take a shower. Dream about hot water.

Abandon sweatpants. Switch seats to face the window. Feel lighter. Email a friend, two friends.

Write a letter, carefully. Rip it up, quickly.

Go for a walk. Forget an umbrella. Get a little lost. Find a place worth finding, with things worth eating.


Think about how much he would love it, here. Eat more cheese.


Head home. Kill a man for a dryer.

Hang up soaked jeans. Reheat leftovers. Listen to not-sad music.

Slide into bed. Don’t cry, and don’t call home. Don’t quite succeed.

Can’t sleep. Wake up and verbally vomit all over the page. Crumple at the card table.

Resume prone position. Wait for the sun to come up.

Feel better, hope it holds.

Please don’t let this be my new pattern.

This would be real life, in which I write like my life depends on it. I suppose, in a way, that I should be very happy. Because struggle generally leads to good material. Raw material, but good material nevertheless.

There is only one other time in my life that I can remember writing like this.

I look up from my laptop to see a boy in the doorway. I’m locked between my chair and my desk, with my chin propped between my knees, my arms clutching my legs, and my toes tightly curled over the edge of the seat. He looks at me for a minute and I hear the softest sigh. He approaches my little cell slowly, palms up, and gently spins me towards him. All it takes is a tiny tug for the chains to clink to the ground. He cradles my face in his hands and slowly my body unfolds. He wraps his arms around me, this boy who is so special to me. He doesn’t stay long today. He touches my heart as he says, use this, and then points towards my head as he says, not this. He kisses me goodbye as delicately as a china doll, somehow knowing that I need to fight alone tonight. What he doesn’t know is that for tonight, the fight has gone.

The boy in that story…he’s the same boy in the bigger story. Always the same. But I suppose he is a no longer a boy now, and nothing is actually the same at all.

I don’t think he knew it, but that night he gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received. Don’t try to write something compelling; try to write something true.

He also gave me a love story. A pretty good one, I think. But not good enough.


2 thoughts on “You Just Write What’s True

  1. Keep writing Hannah, let the words out, replenish yourself, and breathe deep in the fresh air, and always find good chocolate to eat!

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