I thought about writing something on here for my 29th birthday, but then I thought - maybe this ought to be an Instagram post instead? Which isn't a sentence that pops into my mind very often... to me, Instagram can feel like such a daunting place, because of the immediacy of responses that it allows and provokes. Increasingly, though, I'm beginning to feel like I can allow this dynamic a place in my life, too - alongside whatever it is that I get from my other talking spaces, like this blog, or my manuscript. Acknowledging this feeling and running with it feels like personal growth, in its own way: admitting that I would like to learn how to exist alongside the demands of other people, even while holding on to the central pieces of myself.
A while ago I was talking to an old school friend who also creates art, about how writing a book is kind of like talking to an invisible friend - encompassing this fantasy of being endlessly and thoroughly listened to, without interruptions, and without the imposition of any demands. Working on a book has felt like that for me: like a kind of retreat into my own little hidey-hole, where everything happens exactly as I say it does. But now, as I progress ever so slowly with the thing, I can feel that a part of me is trying to poke its head out into the open again, and reach for the sunlight... avail itself to the external world. Okay then - so be it; this stuff probably moves in a cycle for most people, anyway. Probably the dream is to have one foot in the world inside, and one foot in the world outside; that's what I want for myself personally, as an artist.
When I think of what it feels like at this point of writing, I think of that very famous Winnicott quote: "It is a joy to be hidden, and disaster not to be found."
In thematically related news, I've signed my payment forms, which means that 'The Story of Body' is coming out in print very soon, in the Colorado Review. This essay is basically the story of my childhood and my twenties, so I still can't make it through the galleys without tearing up. But in a way, I also feel relieved that other people are going to be able to read it soon. I feel very lucky to be here on planet earth, making art and making money and spending time with my husband, whom I love. Using all the beauty that is available around me, to tell the story of my life.
What a wonderful thing it is to be alive.