I haven’t been writing.
Back in May, I finished my third semester of grad school and in August, NILA closed its doors. I moved back to Minnesota. In September, I attended a writing conference in northern California and felt slightly renewed to write, or, I told myself I felt renewed. But I came home and didn’t write. Keeping this blog has been a struggle, and it’s the only real writing I’ve done in months. Instead, I’ve spent hours laying on the floor with my dog, made an epic ton of jam, paced, cried, and tried in vain to get a job so I wouldn’t have to think about writing. I’ve felt like a failure.
There is a dam of words inside me, the desire to make sense of this insane, sad, difficult year. Part of me is afraid that if I start writing I will never stop, or I will cry until I can’t breathe, or I will realize just how hopeless writing is or how much of a fraud I am. Imposter syndrome is eye rollingly dull, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and isn’t pervasive.
I had wanted to spend this holiday break writing, but I didn’t, for all the same reasons I listed above. My advisor from NILA always said, “If you can’t write, read”, so I have been reading instead, and when I haven’t been reading I have been singing, and when I haven’t been singing I have been watching slam poets on YouTube and trying to let go of everything except words. I hope it is working.
On Wednesday, I start residency at my new grad school in Vermont. I finally wrote to my former instructors at NILA to tell them I’d gotten in and was starting soon. I chided myself for not doing it sooner; I’d put it off for months because it felt like closing the last peephole window on NILA, and on the community and challenge and solace I found there. And because I knew that one of my instructors, in his recommendation letter for the school in Vermont, called my writing “fearless” and to be honest, I am fucking terrified. I always wish people knew how afraid I am. The only thing I have going for me is that I’m afraid, but I do it anyway.
Fear or not, I am doing this thing, I am going to write again, (thank you, grad school deadlines), I am going to get my MFA, I am going to meet and connect with writers again. I am hungry for it, and curious, and hopeful, because I don’t know how else to be.
What are you hopeful for in the New Year? What do you want? What are you afraid of but determined to do anyway?
I’ve been bingeing on Metric lately, so I’ll leave you with some. I acutely feel the urgency here, and understand the wanting. I want it all too. Happy New Year, everyone.
“A blade of grass
a grain of sand
the moonlit sea
to hold your hand
I want it all
I want it all
I want it all
I want it all.”