Putting It Down

Today I can promise you a random assortment of anxieties. Doesn’t that sound good?

I really shouldn’t go so long between blogs. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I write, now that Project Book Proposal is picking up steam, and I’ve decided the answer probably isn’t what it should be.

I don’t write because I want to be published.

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I mean I do — I wouldn’t be rolling over in the middle of the night to text myself the name of another chapter title if I didn’t — but it’s not my above all else. My above all else is edible. It involves all the raspberry things: a tiny tart and a triangular torte and a cheesecake, too (even if that messes up the alliteration). A trio!

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Anyway. The primary reason I write is because if I didn’t, I would be by myself in a corner somewhere, siphoning salted caramel sauce through a straw.

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I spooned that sauce out in a perfectly civilized manner, I’ll have you know. But I might not have, had I not written earlier that day! I really might not have.

Writing is a coping mechanism for me — I don’t think you need me to tell you that. I’m not sure what you do to cope. Or if the word “cope” is even a part of your vocabulary. Maybe it’s just an outlier. Maybe you’re just living, and you’ve found you can do that perfectly well — without poking around your brain and tipping the very private parts out onto paper. And without periodically picking up that piece of paper and waving it around, for everyone to see.

I write because it’s not enough for me, to get in the car and open the sunroof and turn up the music and sing, at the top of my very-off key lungs. It’s not enough, for me, to just drive someplace quiet.

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90% of the time, my brain is teenage-boy-with-the-windows-down loud. (Heavy on the bass.) Curious about what’s going on in there, behind those tinted windows? You’re really going to wish you hadn’t looked.

There is stuff everywhere. Most noticeably, there will be a burger. Not just any burger — an outlandishly expensive burger. A $25 burger, to be exact.

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This would really be absurd, only it came topped with Maine lobster, basil pesto, and shallot chèvre. And truffled Parmesan fries, on the side! I ordered it the day my parents officially filed for divorce, and I haven’t really been able to put it down.

Five other things I don’t seem to be able to put down, at the moment:

1. Cheese. All kinds, in paper I absolutely love. Both paper and cheese make a regular appearance at 5:45pm, which has been officially declared Time for Stopgap Crackers and Cheese.

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2. My cell phone. I’m really starting to hate this about myself. You don’t care if I had corn fritters, even if they did come with pickled ramps (a first, for me!). You don’t care about the cilantro-lime aioli that I wanted to commit to memory, either. But honestly, that’s not what I wanted. What I wanted was to feel connected.

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3. The feeling that I’m doing a terrible job, at being twenty-three. Because I’m not a night owl. Because whenever I sit at a bar, I seem to get tired extra fast. It’s not just that, though. It’s also that I’ve forgotten how to flirt. That I want you to talk to me, but I’m half-hoping you won’t.

I’m supposed to be making some progress, I think. Acquiring a taste, at the very least. Do you want to know what I have so far? An appreciation for the design work done on the labels. And also: the way the bottles look, all lined up. I do like that. Can that be a start?

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4. The defensiveness that bubbles up whenever I think about my relationship with my mom. We’re so close. Maybe a little too close? I didn’t think there was anything wrong with wanting to live near her (maybe even with her, for a little while), but now you’re making me feel like there is, and I don’t know what I think anymore.

Is there something so wrong with wanting to be able to cook dinner together once a week? Or once every other week? I’d just like to be close enough to her to call her up, say on a Sunday when we’re both feeling gruesomely lonely, and say hey, let’s go to a bakery. Let’s go get those focaccia buns, the ones with the garlic confit and ricotta in the middle.

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5. Boxes. Big boxes, little boxes, in-between boxes. Packing boxes. I just want to put them down. I don’t care if it’s in a storage locker, or a new apartment, or a hotel room. I don’t care if it’s on this side of the country or that one. I just want to put them down. And it’d be nice to know where. It’d be nice to know, where.

And there we go. Now that it’s all written down, it’s significantly easier to say:

1. Eat the cheese. Eat the cheese because it’s what you want, and it’s going to make you feel better. Eat the cheese because this is not an easy time, and you’re hungry, dammit.

2. Just because you didn’t Instagram it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Call someone you sort of know, someone you’d like to know better. Ask them to go for a walk with you — just ask them. And leave your phone at home, when you go. 

3. Yes, you are twenty-three. And you will be for another six months. This means there is time — plenty of time — to turn things around. If you find that things truly need turning. You might want to think about that some more. 

4. Nobody is making you feel anything. You need to get yourself to a place where what other people may or may not be insinuating doesn’t matter quite so much. You know the way, and you’ll be there soon. 

5. This one is a problem. A question mark, anyway. This one — it’ll give you something to write about, tomorrow. Save it for tomorrow. This is enough for today. You wrote it down; you can put it down. 

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