Tuesday, November 01, 2005

my needles

I finished revising the second full draft of my novel today in the public library while centurions turned newspaper pages, and children from the preschool next door yelled: Hi, Hi, Hi like seagulls.

Lately, in front of the mirror in the morning, I've been running through questions in my head: what people might say about my book, disagree with, wonder. Some of the questions I know the answers to. Some I don't. Some I can fix. Some I don't know how to fix. I put lipstick on. I clip back my hair.

It feels like spring in San Francisco: sixty degrees, rain in the air.

Halloween has come and gone and now begins the slow slide to my birthday. I have three months left of being twenty-seven.

Something's going to happen, I feel it. But something happens every year. My birthday parties disappoint. I change my hair.

For my birthday this year--there is still time to find it--I want an answer. I've been placing my offering at the edge of the river for years now, and I want something to rise up this year, rise up from the water, and take it. They're gone in the morning, my words in the basket--honey, blood, seed--but I want to know what swallows them. I want to see it. I don't care if it's scary. I will hide in the woods and see it, and ask: how best to say what I want to say? What shape should it take: rubies or diamonds? frogs or snakes?

(The other part is: I think I know. I think I know what I'm supposed to do. I think I know what I'm supposed to write.)

I was the only girl, in twenty-five years of teaching, she could not teach to crochet, Mrs. Roman told me in third grade.

I wouldn't learn. I tore out my hair, forgot my needles, ran to playground to play with the boys.

I don't care about theory. I don't care about poetics. I don't care about lyric. I don't care about line. I am on the jungle gym with the boys.

I just want to tell a story. I just want to make you cry. I just want to break your heart, and then make you feel better. I think I can do it. I think there are many chances. I think I have found my first one.