There are things that I feel like I can’t write on an iPad or a phone or maybe at all, but at least with a keyboard it feels more distant. You don’t touch each individual letter the same way. It’s more intimate, somehow, naked on the screen. But maybe it’s the content itself, thoughts I only dare voice inside my head. If I do write it, I’m afraid it’ll make them true. And if I don’t? I fear I’d lose something fleeting but so, so important.
I hadn’t come across much of his work before, but James Tissot is rather exquisite.
Then, recently, I came across a culture diary she kept for the Paris Review in 2010…
If I’m using a pen (as I often am, though I have been known to edit my drafts with eyeliner) I’m usually tinkering with things I’ve already written.
Sometimes nowadays I write little sections on my phone. I can do it with one hand if necessary! I know a lot of people resort to this nowadays, but I’d love to know exactly how many.
I’ve found the subway/writing on my phone surprisingly effective. Something about the enclosed, restless nature of the subway makes me feel compelled to write as if on deadline. Only sometimes, though. I am just as likely to get distracted by the people watching.
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934 (via debourbon)
I don’t really like to think about the past. Nostalgia, sometimes, as a fling, but mostly I like leaving things behind. I forget things, things that other people remember. I get surprised when people I once knew remember me. I have little to say to them. At some point you make decisions, you change your life. You become some other version of yourself, and the possibilities of who you might have been fade and die.
I don’t mourn that loss. There is not much in my past I think fondly of, though it wasn’t unpleasant. It’s the future, an imaginary future that I fixate upon. I obsess, I imagine possibilites. I lose myself in them.
The other day I started cleaning out my room, emptying boxes that held strange, miscellaneous things. I used to keep all my ticket stubs for concerts and theaters, boarding passes for flights and trains, momentos from some night so many years ago. The other day I threw nearly all of it away. It was simply taking up space.
Today was my last day at the office where I worked for the past year. A year is a long time. Enough for a routine you memorize, a comfort you enjoy. But I was free and that was all that mattered.
I think about writing a memoir, sometimes. Sometimes it feels like the only thing I can write. Sometimes every short story I write feels like autobiography, even when the plot isn’t true. But what matters is creating the narrative. I deleted my Facebook because I hated that it tied me to a past I couldn’t control. There were other people in it, other perceptions and voices that didn’t fit the version I wanted to create. Is that awfully narcissistic?
Isn’t that what writing is? Forcing my voice, my stories, my language onto your world. It’s invasive, manipulative, maybe even destructive. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking, and this is simply a voyeuristic thrill.
A writing teacher told me that sentimentality and melodrama are the enemies of good writing. I think he was right. The trick is finding that in between. That subtle twist in your gut, without being obvious that it’s me.