My brain was a cluttered room with thoughts thrown about like scattered clothing.
It’s been hard on me, not being here.
Three and a half weeks of unintended sabbatical feels like an entire season. During this “season,” I’ve had a birthday, a fever, a death of a friend, a health scare, an existential crisis, a reconciliation, a flying adventure, an obsession with the guitar, a cure and a revelation. It was just normal life. But as you can imagine, a couple of those would stop me writing mid-sentence, and this is precisely what happened at the beginning of May. I received the worst kind of news – a death. I won’t be writing about it. But because of it, I stopped writing about anything. For a time.
That only twenty or so days have gone by since that moment is beyond my comprehension. May has been jacarandas, thermometers, live music (so much of it), dances of friendship, visits to the clinic, and an array of fountains while scouting locations for my script. So many events, sensations, and about-faces have taken place for me. I shouldn’t even write such a sentence, because I’ll be compelled to give examples and make the task of this soft comeback more daunting. Whatever needs to find its way out will either do so now, or be buried in a wakeless sleep. I’m a little boat and too long afloat to imagine I have any control over the sea that sways me, and I’m not collecting any additional loose ends to graft into the “crazy tree.”
At least by “wakeless sleep,” I’m designating a romantic mortuary. Do forgive me for any death-related poetics. There’s far too much mystery and yes, romance, associated with death to deny it its literary moment, even in a little blog, especially when the blogger’s head was filled with it, namely her own, for part of the month. I’m a stubborn hypochondriac: when I get sick, I think I’m going to die, but when I need treatment, I refuse it. Either way, I’m shockingly alive and obstinately healthy all over again.
In terms of Gunmetal Geisha, I was drowning in an alphabet soup and expected relief once I made it to dry land. But instead, when the daily alphabet posts reached letter Z, I went through separation anxiety. I slipped into a depression about it, which of course, is not known for getting you back on track.
Then came the self-doubt. Your blog is of no worth and you’re a fool.
I had lost a sense of purpose, and for a person who is happiest when most productive, this was a tiny…death.
A well-intentioned friend didn’t help. In spite of all those who wrote to tell me they were waiting for the next post, and could I please hurry, I was affected by the one person who said, “You’re a good writer, dear, but I’m tired of reading about your life. Write something bigger than you.” Such as my death? I wrote an entire stream of consciousness on my death. Maybe I’ll post it here sometime.
I was dismayed at his words. How could he, of all people, not get that “my life” is the wrapping for GG?
As much as questioning the value of GG threw me off balance, I felt abandoned even as I had abandoned it.
And then, I hit on the beginning chapters of a book I’ve been struggling to write for a couple of years. I could never get far with it because I didn’t have a beginning, and without one, there was no natural flow. Imagine my joy when it occurred to me that Gunmetal Geisha is a treasure trove of markers neatly dispersed for me to reference for the novel, which is a coming of age story with autobiographical elements.
Who am I kidding.
The story doesn’t contain a single phrase of fiction. Only some inventive name changes.
I then contented myself that if GG had no other value, it was at least a rich, organized outline for the novel. Without it, my brain was a cluttered room with thoughts thrown about like scattered clothing. But inadvertently, GG had picked up and placed them tidily on hangers. And it turned out, it was underneath the laundry piles that my beginning chapters were hiding.
So I’ve been writing my book. It’s flowing. It keeps going and going. Writing a story is watching it reveal itself to you, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the most fun anyone can have. With that, you’d think I might part ways with blogging. But I realize, the outline aspect of the blog is only a bonus, a GG by-product.
The truth is, GG lives for its own sake, and I’ve been dying to come back.
Here I have license to structure words in ways I wouldn’t in a novel or a short story. Here I get to break the fourth wall and speak directly to you. Here I get to put everything that doesn’t fit in a novel but yearns to be expressed anyway. Too many people think of a personal blog as a fluff-fest. But I echo the many others who know the beauty of a blog lies in its capacity to be whatever it wants.
It’s true that people’s personal tastes can contaminate the experiences that bring us joy, as my friend’s well-intended “write something big” did to my little geisha dance. But it wasn’t for long.
Because I’ve missed you and I’ll be sticking around.
- There is endless value in self-expression, no matter what form it takes.
- People’s tastes being different than our own can contaminate our experiences. It goes without saying, don’t let it.
- More importantly, I learned not to end up in the role of accidental contaminator of someone else’s joy. (Go ahead and like a crappy reality show, I will not scoff. Not out loud.)
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