Sometimes I lose stuff. Almost never but usually all the time. Like when someone says let’s meet at X and I say, Okay. Call me when you leave.
Then I put my phone down and get ready, get kids ready, then don’t know where phone is.
Where is phone? I search. Everywhere. Under clothes. Down in the bathroom. Where was I when I had it? And I can’t believe how much ground and mess I’ve covered since that phone call. It could be anywhere. And what if they’ve already called and it’s buried under my underwear I was folding when I made the plans? Or maybe it’s downstairs, or maybe they haven’t called and it’s in a totally obvious spot? Are they already there? Should I just leave without the phone? But what if they haven’t even left yet? What if they’ve decided not to go? Where is my phone? Where is my phone?
This happens only like six times a day to me. I need a landline.
One time I was sick of losing my money. I was telling my roommates about this problem and then as a joke, stuck a wad of cash down my bra.
This is where I should keep it, I said.
Yeah, they said.
I was so funny back then.
So then I got busy and forgot the money was there and eventually ended up on campus. I was walking along when a boy I sort of knew but not all the way knew, came running up.
Ann Dee, I am so glad to see you. I have to print up an ad for my class in fifteen minutes and i forgot my wallet. Do you have any money?
Sure, i said. Because I knew I had some cash.
But then I couldn’t find it. What? Where is that money.
Hang on, I was telling him.
I check my pockets. My bag. He’s saying oh please, please find it.
i’m getting that crazy feeling, the feeling I had just been discussing earlier and oh wait . . . .
Oh. I say.
What? he says.
What? Do you have it?
I mean yes.
I put my hand down my shirt and hand him a sweaty wad of dollar bills.
He looks at it. Looks at me. Looks back at it.
Thanks, he says.
And that was the end (I did wonder if he’d ask me out after that but he didn’t)
This is a long long long way to say I have been searching for my BIRD BY BIRD book for about an hour. I finally found it but what is my problem? I’ve talked about this problem before, my meandering messy everywhere way of living both my real life and writing life. It makes everything so much more complicated: simple tasks turn into huge ordeals. What takes some organized, disciplined, all-together people five minutes, takes me three and a half hours. It’s aggravating.
BIRD BY BIRD. Have you read it?
I have been struggling with my book I’m writing. The writing process has felt bigger and scarier and whatiffier, I know that I’m going to have go back and rewrite rewrite rewrite maybe a thousand times and I haven’t been enjoying it. I keep thinking, is this worth it? What am I doing? Why is this so hard? There are so many other ways I could be spending my time.
Then I started reading BIRD BY BIRD.
Anne Lamott says,
But I still encourage anyone how feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do–the actual writing–turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.
Sometimes I go through life, particularly my writing life, letting small things get me down. I let things outside of writing, things that are on the periphery, rule my center. The thing is, the joy is in the writing. When you hit a scene, when you finally discover who a character is, when you realize that the first fifty pages are crap. Even that is exciting. because you’re getting somewhere. you’re becoming better at what you do. you’re making a story real. And true. And better. even if it is in the least efficient way possible.
I’m trying to relearn how to let myself go. To let my characters barge over my plot and put me in my place because I’m realizing that’s the only way to write it right. I need to have fun and let everything else go. Only then will I get back to the real reason why I write. Sweaty money in my bra.