Archive | July, 2011

insert page number.

29 Jul

Most writers have weird rituals and habits. Some won’t discuss a story, not even a little bit, until it’s finished. Some do the exact opposite. Mark Twain apparently wrote lying down. Vladimir Nabokov wrote his stories on 3×5 index cards, clipped them, and stored them in slim boxes. My true love, Mr. Billy Collins, only writes with a fine tip, Black Sharpie pen. Eons ago, I had a beloved, treasured Scripto pen that I called Blackie, which I used to write my stories with (when I used to write in longhand). And, yes, I cried when the ink ran out of Blackie. Anyway, most, if not all, writers have a thing they do.

What thing do I do? When I’m into a story, when I’m falling in love with it, thinking about it, weaving the tale and working on my character studies…I insert page numbers.

Prior to inserting page numbers, the story is a blank canvas to me, a rough piece of clay that I’m working with. But then comes this moment, this feeling, when I know it’s time to make it official. Weird, indescribable, dizzying, my ritual. It means that I’m ready for the progression, to see it through, to work with it until the final page.

That’s happening now with a story that I’m working on. I just inserted page numbers minutes ago…

Onwards! Onwards!

Oh, before I leave, in honor of that thing we all do:

defining a moment.

19 Jul

I want to watch you shave in the morning. I want us to take early evening walks in the neighborhood, moments before the setting of the sun. I want to make you laugh. I want you to make me laugh. I want you to listen to me. I want to listen to you. I want you to mow the lawn and take out the trash. I’ll wash the dishes, attempt to cook, and clean the house. Oh, and I’ll kill all the spidies and creepy crawlies that manage to sneak into the house here and there, because I’m pretty good at that. I want to sing at the top of my lungs in front of you. I want to show you my silly dances. I want to lose a little bit of my breath when you walk into the room. I want to like your friends. I want you to like my friends. I want to gaze at many, many foreign horizons with you by my side. I want you to understand that I will fall asleep anywhere.  Anywhere. I want to stay up and wait for you to get home if you’re ever running late (but I’ll likely fall asleep waiting for you on the couch). I want to be quiet with you (and there will be many quiet moments), reflective with you, loud with you. I want you to think you can excel where others have failed in getting me to 1) swim; 2) roller skate; 3) ice skate; 4) get on a roller coaster; and being ok with the fact that no, I will not do any of those things. (Well, maybe I’ll learn how to swim. Maybe.) I want you to understand that I really should have been born in a different generation, and I embrace that. I want you to introduce me to people; artists; music that I’ve never heard of. I want to be open with you.

So, just what is all of that above? My attempt to reconcile some feelings I’ve been having and my attempt to define a recent moment that affected me in quite a way. The short end of it: there’s just something about being utterly and completely myself. No silly facades, no fakery, not wanting to infinitely please the people around me, just me. All the components, all the facets, all the goofballery, all the seriousness, all of it.

(When a little girl grows up with no true, real appreciation for herself, and has everything about herself dictated by the opinions and judgments of others, she grows up with both a desire for validation and a desire to please everyone.) 

Now, related to the freedom that comes from being singularly myself, I spent some time in the company of a new friend some weeks ago. It should be stated what when I’m around, uh, certain new friends, I feel like a contestant for Miss America. “Yes, I want to save the children, I can cook, and I’m very smart.” I feel like I’m auditioning for the future. It wasn’t like that this time. For one thing, it was entirely and sweetly platonic. No pressure. But, all the same, I never felt the desire to assume a different facade. I never felt like thinking of the next, witty thing to say. It was an amazing evening of feeling self-honest and feeling solidly engaged in meeting a new friend and totally enjoying it. And it got me thinking about the future, which led to the italics provided above. Going a bit deeper, though, it surpasses things like the future or who I intend to spend eternity with. 

It is the blueprint for now. For everything and everyone.



Sincerely, Taj

Dear World, I have stuff to say, so get cozy. Here, I've got cupcakes.

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