The city is emptying. My friends want to leave, or are leaving, or have left. Everyone imagines their lives will get easier with a dishwasher. Especially writers, so accustomed to pulling themselves up over the lip of meaning, resting themselves on a shelf of writing. Turning experience into material. With every polished paragraph my life will get easier. On Instagram the comedian jtfirstman, first a writer for TV, says that it was a long time before he realized that the writing would never love you back. No matter what you do it will not love you.
Filling that hole in the self. Every writer with ambition has a flurry of activity, let’s say the first ten years. And every writer with ambition must at some point realize that something else needs filling. My mistake has always been to imagine holding up a single page, or five, or a poem, or a sentence, or a paragraph, or a book, and imagining God will stop time, as in Borges’s short story “The Secret Miracle.” Writing about being killed in the street with a short story in my pocket. Time stopped to save a poem, not a life.
But now I am stopping time. I need more time with myself. I need to give back to what I have for so long neglected. Cassidy says that perhaps I will be like a monk, studying the medieval period on my own, in quarantine. If I didn’t find them so tedious I would buy a quill pen. Instead I’ve taken a huge leather notebook—gifted one year at Christmas, too big to ever use—and placed it on my kitchen table. I’m not sure what I will do with it—it is a place for intentions, transformation. A place to dream and to imagine. A place, overall, to grow—to kill that desire for quickness, to still the ego, to find a slow and steady way forward, in love and in myself.