I was sketched on the subway the other day.
It’s been a while since anyone drew my face. Probably the last was Brad, my friend the artist, after Thanksgiving dinner in New Jersey. I remember what it feels like. You know: that stranger sitting across the train, looking up and then away, up and then away, hands meanwhile moving. I wonder what he thought. I wonder what he saw that made him pick up his pencil.
It’s a new month, and this month, I have signed up to write a blog entry every single day, an essay. I have also done away with the archives; to read my daily essay, you’ll have to be here on the day.
One of the subjects I hope to write about in my daily essay is my new novel. Not the one I have been plotting and researching since this summer, not the one I dreamed on a turbulent plane ride two nights after meeting my true love.
I live in a home with two writers and one pint-sized musician. We want to make each other proud. But we also—at least the grownups—want to discover pure love of writing again; to enjoy creating, to ignore the pressure and anxious people, and just make stuff for the sake of making stuff.
So. This month, I am writing an entire, 175 page novel for young adults. The idea came as a joke, but the more I told the story to the pint-sized musician, the more I saw it, unfolding in front of me like a carpet. A plush, red, spongy, soft, fun carpet. The more the other writer smiled across the room. It’s going to be heartfelt, my novel. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be done in a month.
My first novel took three years (and counting, to birth). I’ve calculated, and for this one to be done in a month, I’ll have to clear 5.8 pages a day. I think I can do it.
Yesterday on the subway, a man across from me, a stranger across the long distance of the train car, smiled. Every time I looked up, there he was, smiling, unwavering, radiating at me. I tried not to look up. I tried to avoid him. But I don’t think he was trying to hit on me. I don’t think he was trying to be intimating or strange. I think he was just smiling at someone who looked, as I often do, unconsciously as I’m traveling around, hesitant, wide-eyed. I would have liked to smile back, without irony, without fear, without pretense, without warning.
I think I can do it. I think I can do anything.