After an awkward start and stutters and apologies of interruptions of. “No, what were you going to say?” “Oh, sorry, what was that?” my dad finally said to me as we were talking on the phone, “I have so much to say to you when I’m not on the phone with you.”
“What do we talk about?” I asked.
“Oh everything. I talk to you when I’m working or cooking dinner.” The lack of easy conversation may have been due to an intense emotional confrontation on my part just the week before (perhaps a future essay topic) but the point I’m making here is that I get it. I feel the same way about writing. This morning on my run I was so excited about everything I as going to put down on the page [that I wasn’t mentally censoring]. When I made coffee this morning I thought about everything I was going to publish and lamented that I didn’t have my notebook and pen in front of me.
And then, at the designated time, as I was getting myself ready to write I thought,.”Well, maybe I should just do this later.”
And then, with the notebook finally in front of me…”Damn. Why do I always know what I want to say when I’m not about to write it down?” like so many thoughts are crowding the the tips of my fingers, shouting, “don’t forget to tell them about…” but fingers are skinny and with so many letters and words just dying to pour out they clog the veins so that the pen hovers just above the page in anticipation ready with that first pen stroke. What if it’s a bad one?
It’s not that I haven’t written. I have this blog. But it’s inconsistent and it’s inconsistent well because, I have to tell you something: I am an imposter. Not a real writer. I am a true wanna be writer and even worse: in need of permission to write and to publish and even need permission to not give a fuck what you think.
A friend, David, was in town visiting from Mexico this past week. We did nothing but gab and walk and shop and eat….and gab and walk and shop and…eat. As we were walking on Fillmore approaching yet another steep San Francisco hill my mind moaning. “I don’t wanna walk up anymore god damn hills!” David started in with a twinkle in his eye. “Oye, Sarah.” he said. “If you join a triathlon team [a goal of 2017] you should get to know the people on the team and then write poems about them.” He said all this jokingly and continued, “I mean you’re a writer.”
I stopped. “DAVID!” I said.
Thinking he had offended me hearing the unintentional aggressiveness of my tone, he started to stammer, “No…no…what I meant was…”
I put my hand on his arm. “It doesn’t matter what you say for the rest of this trip.You just called me a writer.”
“Well, you are.” he insisted.
Last evening, after he had boarded the plane, I opened my facebook feed and saw that a good friend and mentor Susan Ito had published a post about her #fiveminutefreewrite (you can read about that here)and invited others to join her for the month of January. She also linked Vanessa Martir’s challenge of 52 essays in a year [that’s one a week]! and invited her followers to join along in that as well.
I don’t know if I know how to write an essay or not. But to not write, to not publish, to not be known, as selfish, ego-maniacal, and amateur as it may be, is to try to squash an elephant. So here we go. Starting 2017 off with Susan Ito’s# 5minutefreewrite a day and 52 essays….oh, and another round of Solo Performance with Martha Rynberg. Well, it should be a busy first couple of months this 2017.