Friday, December 14, 2007

“What do you write?” My coworker asked at the register as when I told her I had come to buy the notebook to fulfill my yen to write.

“Uh, selfish, self-serving, self-interested prose.” I tell her. She replies with something snappy, but it would be out of character for me to remember what it was.

The yen to write was more a yen to write here at work; to write in public. This, I have always loved, a combination of my two passions—writing, and appearing deeper than I really am. It’s been said of me, when I am writing, that I have a certain aura, that I am different and special and everyone notices—said, of course, by only one person, and only one time, but as it confirmed a secret lifelong suspicion of mine, I will presume he was saying what everyone else was thinking. Ah, the clarity of drunkenness.

So I wanted not just to write, but to be seen writing. To spark the curiosity of others, be on their minds. When I write, I glow. I am focused and intense. I am mysterious and beautiful. I am literate and captivating and ten pounds thinner. Truly, this is the real me.

Thusly, it’s been so disconcerting that I haven’t written in months. This had occurred to me recently, at first with no real concern to it, but increasingly, I realized the urge to write was as absent as the words themselves. This had me feeling, sometimes palpably, nervous. I did not want to write—had my many flighty ambitions spread me so thin that I had finally abandoned the one thing I’d remained true to for years? The one thing that had outlasted every fleeting phase and get-rich-quick scheme, trumped my overdeveloped need for instance gratification and, largely unintentionally, developed over the years into the acutely honed skill that it is, so evidently, today.

Despite this fear, it’s not really accurate to say that the dormant lust for narrative had suddenly awakened within me. Indeed, with very occasional exception, there are only three great motivators in my life: self-loathing, avoidance, and the desire to eliminate split-ends.

In truth, I had gone shopping after work, for lack of reason to go home, and I’d picked out several pairs of size ten pants to try on. Old Navy would have you believe that you are one of three types of woman-- a diva, a flirt,or a sweetheart—and that this classification is in direct correlation with the placed you prefer your pants to rest on your hips. More accurately in correlation to that preference, to my mind, is your ability to accept your actual pant size: you may, in personality, be a diva, but if you are a size ten who fancies herself a size eight, you will not be leaving the store with low-rise jeans. As for myself, in size tens that would have confirmed my status as a mid-rise flirt, a daunting and important decision made through the process of elimination, I looked like the half-stuffed sausage that the butcher forgot. It would seem that in the months of lethargy that have crept slowly in between me and my former, fitness-driven self, I have slipped past my last-chance-for-self-acceptance size of ten. All evidence seems to indicate that I am now a size…oh, I can’t even say it. But it rhymes with "shame."

Faced with a dilemna such as this, a wise woman corrects herself, asks the clerk for the next size up, buys the pants that flatter her body for what it is, and revels in the self-confidence of a real woman. Without that wisdom, a rookie mistake is made: she buys the too-small pants anyway, having no doubt in her naïve mind that within a month or two, she will work down to her preferred size. And the new pants will act as incentive!

How many times have I made that mistake? But no more! I bought a shirt.

The newfound knowledge of my increasingly “real” body instilled in my a great motivation, through the aforementioned self-loathing, to exercise. This quickly gave way to a greater motivation to avoid exercising. And what a great time it was to start writing again.

My hand has gotten sore, I’m clearly no longer acclimated to this kind of work, and I find myself frequently distracted by my hair as it falls to frame the view of my promising notebook. I stop to examine the split ends, one by one, wishing that I could afford some revolutionary therapy whereby a specialist would strengthen my hair by criticizing it’s weakness. This prolonged and obvious contemplation of my own hair portrays, perhaps, the exact opposite image than that of the deep and mysterious literate that I so vie for. I get embarrassed when I am caught doing it, and this has happened once too often, lately. So I am writing here, at work, in public, to dispel this heinous misconception.

My hair looks great when I write.

On with it.

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