“Are you still writing?”
Writing isn’t my job anymore, but I write every day. Notes to myself in notebooks I keep close to my side, away from prying eyes. I write hopes and fears and to-dos and notes and lines of code.
Even I, though, wonder why I no longer write here.
In everything I write, there is a thing that I am writing about that I do not speak of. That I refuse to articulate. Whether it’s love or loss or a half hidden anxiety disorder, there is always something huge under the surface.
I write like an iceberg.
That’s why my style jumps from place to place, why I pull in poems and speeches and works of art. Like funhouse mirrors, they obscure as much as they reveal.
One of those chiaroscuri still lives where you wonder if there’s a shape in the darkness or if it’s your imagination. In the changing light, the shadows cast by paint strokes seem to move.
Like me at a party, I flicker from place to place, nervous energy in perpetual motion. If I keep moving, only the dedicated will be able to keep up. If I keep writing, I can keep speaking the truth without ever having to consider that you’ll hear it.
Every once in a while I will claim a corner and sit on the back porch railing and give you a piece of my mind, bold and invulnerable under the night sky.
What am I not writing about now?
I’m not writing about how I can’t keep running, how I can’t keep moving. How I must, for my life, be still and focused.
See, I want something. I want something so badly that last winter I said no to ski dates more often than I said yes. I said no to the mountains and woods and freedom more often than I said yes. (Should I have said yes? These things are medicine, but they are also time. I do not feel like I have enough time, although I whisper the words my partner tells me: “The universe loves and supports you in all that you choose to do, and you have an abundance of time.” Whisper that to yourself. Try it right now. Whisper it with the almost cliché, embarrassing sincerity that forces you to believe it.)
See, I am going to be a professional programmer.
I say that now.
“Hi. I’m Liz. I am going to be a developer. It’s nice to meet you.”
I’m not writing about that because it’s not interested in writing about it yet. For a long while, I was pretty bad at it. And then less bad. And so on. It will be a good story in retrospect, but right now, I’m in the middle of it.
Perspective makes the heart grow fonder because the view is more expansive, like an aperture opening to welcome in more light.
The things that are, perhaps, the most interesting to write about aren’t things that I really want to write about. It’ll either be too much or too little.
For me, I mean. I won’t be so arrogant as to dictate to you what your definition of lagom is. Define that for yourself.
I have miles to go.
Shall I write about this – this morning after our walk, Nova jumped on the couch next to me. And after a few minutes of pets, she lay down and pushed her head into my lap (tentatively) and I screeched and massaged until she fell asleep with the weight of her pressed into me.
We camped a few weekends ago, and when it was time to sleep she curled into a tight ball next to me. I draped a vest over her back to ward off the chill. I wished she would come into the bag with me as I tried in vain to curl into a ball, too.
Doesn’t work the same in a sleeping bag.
I bought a new sleeping bag last week. One with enough room for me to tuck my legs up. There’s room for her, too, I think, if she ever does want to come in.
A few days later we slept half the night on the back porch, warm breeze like a balm. She curled up with me then, too, even though she could have slept sprawled out on the whole bed.
This is enough, but it’s all so saccharine, don’t you think? With each step we take together, I add more to my love song to Nova, my heart’s own companion. But sugar isn’t interesting alone.
I stare out of the window on gray days, daydreaming of Faerûn and Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms.
I wonder if I should drink more.
I wonder if my grandmother was a Swedish citizen and if she was, if I would be able to claim citizen by birthright. I am made for high lands.
I press “pay now” on my very last student loan payment.
I’m building soil, I tell myself. One does not become a developer in a day.
I am certain of this. Nothing and no one will deter me.