well, the month of july began with a holiday, a rush to get the kids off for the summer, my residency for school, and then a relocation to a (much) larger home just a few blocks away from the place we’d been sequestered to for the last four years.
a lot has happened, and there’s no real way to address it all at once, so it’s just going to come as it bubble back up to the surface.
during the residency louise hawes had us do an exercise during her lecture (you’ll forgive me for not expounding on the lecture, the notebook is still in a box somewhere in the office) where we imagined a number. not any old number like a conjurer’s trick, but the age of ourselves back at a specific point in time where we can go back and assure our younger selves that everything will be alright.
now before i go any further, just to show how perverse the universe is, when i came home i was catching up on some reading and i realized i hadn’t finished reading a new twilight zone graphic novel coming out this fall that i hope to co-review (sort of) with little willow over at guys lit wire. but the point of the tz story was a man goes back in time to his younger self to tell him that these are the best days of his life, that as an adult he can see that. but his father (!) ends up telling him (in all his fatherly wisdom) that you can’t tell your younger self things like that, it’s something you have to learn. well, duh.
but for the purpose of louise’s exercise we’re all picking numbers and i first write sixteen then cross it out and write eleven. we spend a few minutes writing to ourselves and i find telling my eleven year old self things is sort of silly. i mean, i don’t want to scare him that in five years the family goes through some major upheavals, and that school and whatnot are going to get a little crazy and that he’ll finally have a real girlfriend and…
five years. eleven plus five is sixteen. and then it hits me that all the stories i want to write feature protagonists or are aimed at kids, mostly boys, either eleven or sixteen-ish. and the stories i want to tell for each are appropriate to the sort of things i would tell my younger selves, both of them. i’d be telling the eleven year old me to keep having fun and not be afraid to do all the things i think about, and i’d be telling the sixteen year old that, yes, it’s all crazy, and then i’d lay out a scary fake future to make me do things differently and change the fabric of the universe.
but, whoa. louise sprinkled some pixie dust and all of a sudden it’s as clear as day who i’m writing to and why.
i’ve always known i was writing for myself, and not just the “for the pleasure of it” writing for myself but the actual writing to the younger me. or the both of me. i’m not writing period (because, honestly, the 70’s have been made cliche) but it doesn’t matter because the issues i’m dealing with are pretty much unchanged. boys behaving like boys and learning their lessons the hardest way possible, because they can be stubborn and have some pretty confused priorities. that’s basically the difference between boys and girls, everything else is just detail.
so the settling in will still take some time, but the boxes are in the right place and slowly each is getting opened and finding a new home within a new home. the writing is happened apace, each page like a box being opened, words finding their homes, a story settling in to become a new version of an old me in a new location.
and it feels good to be back at the keyboard.