“This is the first day.”
“The first day of what?” JD asks loudly, competing with the sound of our VW bus’s engine and loose valves. It sounds like we are in a wind tunnel surrounded by chain saws and generators.
“The first day I’ve written in my head in a very long time.”
JD looks at me, not with skepticism, but wonderment at my statement. We continue to drive on the elevated highway with rain spraying our knees. The bus has rusted so as to allow water inside the vehicle during a downpour.
I explain to him that one of the most defeating symptoms of my pregnancy is the lack of a creative edge. I was up for a position as a columnist in an online magazine, but morning sickness cost me any amount of coherent thought and ability to type on the keyboard. Let alone the stamina to look at a blank screen.
For over three months I’ve struggled with feeling uncreative and void of self-awareness, save my astute awareness of when I need to run to the toilet bowl.
“Do you remember watching ‘Stranger than Fiction’ together last year?” We are driving down into the windward side of the island now. The rain has stopped now but our bodies are still as vulnerable to the outside wind as if we were riding on scooters.
“Of course,” JD glances my way for a second, but the road is tricky at this spot. It winds downhill and driving the bus takes much concentration. I am fearful of flying off the cliff, but then again, I’ve always been fearful of driving off steep edges.
Last year I saw the movie, Stranger than Fiction with JD, and both of us walked out of the theater feeling like our lives had changed somehow. I know now that the reason for the movie’s impact was my identification with the narrator, the writer of the novel that created and gave life to Harold Crick.
I write in my head… Most days. As I experience life, my little brain sets to work to find creative ways to narrate what is happening. I even have a mental ‘delete’ key to help me rephrase sentences and recreate paragraphs.
After explaining this to JD, who understands me and doesn’t think I’m crazy, I escape to my own thoughts. We are silent in the bus now, closer to home. The radio plays classic rock and JD sings along to Fleetwood Mac.
I know I will probably never be a writer. I read Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, and Joan Didion’s accounts of writing and know in my heart that I will never have the discipline to write everyday for several hours. Nor do I ever want that discipline. Locking myself up n a cabin with nothing but coffee and cigarettes sounds like a nightmare. Writing to me is like a fine dessert – a delight to create and consume, but never meant to be served three times a day.
And while I know writing will never be a source of income, I can’t help but be saddened when the craft escapes me. It is my own security blanket. The tangible tool on this earth which helps me navigate through my thoughts, insecurities, dreams, failures, and accomplishments… and the one tool that allows me to explore God with confidence.
I’ve entered into my second trimester, and am still just as sick as week 6 of my pregnancy, but if there is any glimmer of hope – it is that for one day, at least, I am able to write in my head again… and perhaps when I am not too sick to stare at a computer screen for long, you too will be able to share with me in the way I process life.