Friday, November 04, 2005

nothing better

…than writing poetry on a Saturday night, a friend once said in the e-mail that accompanied her new poem, a friend I miss and wish I knew better, from a town I left.

And she's right.

What makes you feel less lonely?

Walking, leaving the house and going somewhere, even if it's cold, even if your destination is a dry river. Listening to music, especially on headphones, especially jumping around amid clean laundry. Calling a friend.

And writing on a Saturday night, being the most alone you could ever be. Strangely, it feels like not being alone all. It feels like being surrounded. I used to feel like I could talk to ghosts when I wrote. Maybe I do. Maybe they talk back.

I spent New Year's Eve of this year alone at my family's Ohio farmhouse in an upstairs bedroom at the desk by the windowsill. All the children's rooms have built desks and shelves and windowsills. This was a condition of the move. And it wasn't my room; the walls were unfamiliar, the guest room, but it was what I used to do, what I have always done: light candles, pull back my hair, sit down on a hard chair, open up a world, dissolve into it.

Wasn't that what Lucy did, when she opened the wardrobe, pushed past the coats into snow? Wasn't that what Meg Murry did when she left the attic? When Dorothy left the tumble-down house? When Mary Lennox opened the door?

You're always writing, one of my four, freshman-year college roommates said.

How else to make frat boys and breaking glass disappear?

Last night, I went out (Bruce, Lesley, Jeff, pizza, gin gimlets kind of out), and the night before that I went out (fish and chips, terrible cover band, Cokes, and everybody kind of out), so tonight, big Friday night, I'm staying in.

I'll be at the library until it closes. I'll be at the gourmet deli buying tomatoes and cheese. I'll be walking up the hill. I'll be the girl in pigtails with a flannel shirt and suede jacket and string bag. I'll be making spaghetti with homemade meatballs and bread pudding without raisins. I'll be maybe drinking some wine, lighting some candles, sitting down at the desk, going inside, going deep deep inside a world where I'm not alone, where it's snowing.