AWP. I am excited, not-excited, nervous. This happens every single time I travel somewhere–choking anxiety followed by the push on through, the resolution, the one step in front of another and eventually you’ll get there.
Matthew Kabik, who is a pretty smart dude and all kinds of wonderful besides, has written an open letter to the writing life that pretty much sums up my current frame of mind, irony of being on the edge of attending a writing conference notwithstanding. I am sad reading it, and also so relieved. Yes, yes, yes someone else feels the same way. Yes.
Somewhere in the past ten years I started believing that writing could do something for me that it can’t. What that something is, I still don’t know. Or maybe it’s just that I thought writing would solve a problem, and it is, it does, but the nature of this problem is that it never goes away, no matter how many times you solve it, or think you solve it, or come close to understanding. There is always another thing to uncover.
Last week I went to Toronto and had lunch with the spectacular woman behind KissCut Design and we talked art and work and life and hard times and I felt, walking through the Toronto sunshine later that day, a little like my old self. Excited like my old self. Hopeful like my old self. I am hoping that this feeling will come back to me at the conference. That I will search and see it and pin it to the ground and wrestle it and myself back to some kind of truth, together.
There has to be another way, I tell myself, even as I dream about flying away altogether and starting a new life somewhere else. Something more than feeling stuck where you are, grateful and also guilty because you don’t love your job, because it drains you even as it’s easy, because you feel buried under how grateful you are for the money and how tired you are from working all the time and then coming home and trying to work all the time when you’re there. The words feel so much smaller than they used to, so paltry, so unimportant.
There has to be another way. There has to be another life.