Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nothing and Nobody

Today is the end of Moon Pools and Mermaids. A writer should be honest and I am a liar--easily frosting the sharp words with baroque description and swallowing them whole. I smother stories.

If I had been courageous, there was a time when I could have either corrected this habit or weaned myself from the idea of writing. Throwing myself into the ring with other writers in college or fighting submission battles on my own would have been the wise choice and the strong one.

Instead, the idea floated on a stream of dithering until the first writer's group. Since then, it's been easy to work for the group, to make their submission deadline, to take their criticism and praise. I've read the suggested books, listened to the lectures, and attended meetings. Writing "for real"--for publication--slid to the side like scenery through a train window; the idea of moving into a published state was a great daydream while I moved through another draft or another short story.

Two years ago, I lost my job and then my dogs, and then--because it wasn't yet a great country song deep in the heart of Texas--I left the first writer's group. Ever since, I've felt something scraping my insides thinner and thinner. You could almost see it pressing against the flesh, preparing the hide for a different purpose.

What will I do now that I'm not a writer?

Swallow the dizzy meringue descriptions until the lies burn them light and I float over the afternoon, the thin skin finally finding a purpose.

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