Real Life

(Not that I could ever do a headstand, not in a million years)

For the past few days, I haven’t been able to do any real writing. I’ve done the final edits on an essay that will appear in February, and started gathering thoughts on a review I’ll do of the new Karen Russell collection of stories, “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” (spoiler alert: terrific). I’ve prepared for and done an interview for something I’d  really love to get the chance at (!!)  On a walk I thought of the first line for a short story: “Lola was water skiing, a thing she would never attempt in her true, waking life.”

And there’s been a lot of “real” life: trips to the airport, subbing at the library, a birthday cake to bake, the cleaning up of cat vomit (who ate that sugar cookie, huh?), and much standing in lines while telling myself that the poor person behind the counter is the one I should feel sorry for.  

But no real writing. No startling myself with what I think. No unbidden tumble of images, or  sudden, lovely connection between disparate parts. No file rasping against my brain, no urge to stand on my head to see if that might dislodge the words I need. When you’re used to writing every day, not being able to sets the muscles twitching. In some weird way, your real life starts to feel inauthentic.  Where’s the core? What’s it all about, Alfie?

It’s a commonplace in writing workshops to say, “You don’t find the time to write–you make it.” Simple to say!  Lucky for us as we rush about, the stories remain curled up in their lairs, waiting.

One thought on “Real Life

  1. Nicki

    One of my treasured toys was a stuffed dog named Rags. He was soft and cuddly and comforting and a relatively poor substitute for the real dog I was not allowed to have but still, I loved him. Many years later, when I finally did have the dog I had always dreamed of, I discovered Rags in the attic. I decided to see what King, the real dog, would do with him. He destroyed him. It was an oddly satisfying circle and fitting end for my childhood toy.


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