Though I started this blog in 2009, the earliest entry I kept is from 2011. Those first posts, now deleted, evoked memories of lost friendships, of the ability to find solace in laughter, transcending, however temporarily, the haze of heartbreak. It was that heartbreak, in fact, that prompted my more serious pursuit of creative writing, culminating in acquiring my MFA in 2013.
A lot has happened since then. Moored to the Connecticut condo I bought in 2008, I envied friends marrying and moving out of state, or pursuing lifelong dreams on the opposite coast. Dulled with loneliness, my needs were simple: a better-fitting position while I wrote “on the side,” and a relationship that would last. It was during that quiet period I chose to get a job in New York City and eventually rent my condo.
Fast-forward to 2018: I live with my husband in Woodlawn, an Irish neighborhood in the Bronx, and have found a position I truly love. In the meantime, creative writing, for me at least, cannot easily be done “on the side.” Like meditation, I do it in short, inspired bursts.
Quite frankly, I always have, even while churning out my master’s thesis, an autobiographical first novel (they always are) about that haze of heartbreak. Its hyperemotional prose revealed still-raw scars. I’ve tried to go back, preserve the few snatches of clean narrative in between the glut of adverbs and self-conscious dialogue, but I am now, perhaps, too far removed.
Ironically, virtually all craft books on memoir advise choosing a topic that has been emotionally processed enough to avoid an overdose of angst. Perhaps I should have focused on something less charged until ready. Now I no longer care enough to make it a better effort, at least not until I think about it more.
That brings me to the crux of this entry: it is likely my last. I would like to follow my interests—a more robust meditation practice, creative writing, combining my passion for writing and mental health—on a less-sporadic level. I want to pour myself into work meant for broader publication. I want to push past a propensity to produce neat, happy endings, as if writing buttoned-up conclusions could echo into real life.
Often, I try to carve out bad memories as if digging a bullet from the flesh. That, of course, is the opposite of what a writer should do, especially because bad memories, though faded, are rarely forgotten. Because life, in its sweet ambiguity, a subject wrestled with in this blog, is at times a mess we cannot organize, or sweep out of sight. It is time to face those messes head on, without hyperbolic handwringing or cheerful epilogues, and write about what happens next.