I LIT IT ON FIRE.
Trying to negotiate my new printer, which spits out papers wantonly, and the accumulating pages of poetry manuscript, and the song on my headphones that suddenly switched to sad without warning, and Ed my lovely shinning silver i-book (a gift from Gilbert Blythe) I forgot about the tea light candle.
The first few poems have a black-edged bite out of them. I wish I could turn them in that way. See what happens when you write of your heart?
San Francisco smells like burning to me. I'm afraid to try the fireplace, since I seem to make candles out of everything. My tiny desk in a corner of the living room is littered with ashes. Not really. I touched them and they scattered. I touched them and they dissolved.
I feel impatient and very tall.
I'm between books, both as a reader and a writer. I finished an Alice Hoffman novel a few days ago, and the novels I checked out to follow just aren't cutting it. I need magic. I need a voice.
I finished editing the second draft of my novel last week, and am waiting to work more on it until I hear from readers (would you like to read an unpublished novel?). I have ideas for new projects, but I'm not sure if I should dive into them yet. I'm not sure I want to. I want to live in the world of this book for a little while longer. I like it there, though it's damp and dark and clotted, like a graveyard alone at night. You know no one is going to hurt you there, but still, still you linger at the gates, wondering if you should go in. Clutch your cloak a little tighter.
Today I finished an essay for a magazine that asked for it. I thought about starting another one, but it's not due until December. How strange to have people asking for things. I like it. Keep asking. I will keep delivering, if I can. I need to work on the poetry manuscript, and I am, but it's so hard to just jump worlds, switch coasts. I'm still in the graveyard, thank you. I would like to stay in the graveyard. I've brought a picnic lunch.
I often forget I'm in California. I default Ohio. Hey, you're in San Francisco, I said to myself today, walking the hill back from the cheese shop and the laundry and the dress shop. Those are California cars, California puddles, a California dress you can't afford in your brown paper California bag.
Late last night, I woke myself up by saying aloud, in my sleep: It's hard, it's hard. I don't have a map.
I switched to sad without warning. I came across one of those names on the internet. I looked for it for awhile. Then I said to myself: that's enough! I slapped on my headphones, turned on the printer, turned the photographs of my best friends and my mother as a girl to face me, pulled up the poetry manuscript file, pulled back my hair, pulled up my love for Gilbert Blythe and my friend the artist and my friend the cantor and Shara and Justin and Chris and Allison and Stephen and my students and my dead teachers and the lost and the lonely, said: Let's go. And did.