Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Books, Writing, Life

Oh, that's right, I have a blog. It needs updating.

To say I don't know what this blog was, is, or could be, is an understatement. I've felt extremely lost in this space for months.  So, I look at the header to remember why I come here, why you might come here. And I try.

I love to write about books but, these days, the mere thought of putting words to my feelings about books, which I take so seriously, is exhausting.  I've been keeping a Book Map all year, which outlines what I've been reading by where the book takes place. So this is a geographic representation (details if you click here.)  I apologize to Australia and South America. But hey. I got Antarctica. I sure 'nuf did.

As far as writing goes, I'm getting a few words a day, just to get through the first chapter of a novel whose code I know I'm about to crack. I just know it. (This is code for, I believe too strongly in the possibility of miracles, in gushing geyser-like fountains of ever-flowing words.) I've embraced snail pace. I've got a karate kid inside me crushing my ribs and my brain cells are diminishing by second. This is what I'm able to do.

I'm living it. I could write of stroller research, of nursery painting, of putting together Ikea shelves, of trying to understand breast pumps and flanges, of trying to get people to give up their subway seats for me while I wear a winter jacket that no longer closes shut.

I could write of swimming, the brief twenty minutes a week when I feel weightless, when I feel that who I've been, who I am, and who I might become, is, finally, strangely, wonderfully, all one person, under the haze of chlorine, in between roped lanes, with the lifeguard who calls me sweetie and wouldn't let me bend down to reach a fallen locker key.

She told me her own story and I'd tell it here, if I could make sense of it, a story of missing pieces, of having always wanted a little boy, instead discovering she would have two little girls, to which I exclaimed twins!, and the sad confession that one had passed away, before blowing the whistle and her gaze shifting, her story finished, but unfinished, the way most stories stay.  I think of this lost little girl every time I swim. I think of the life, comma, header, left behind.


  1. "... her story finished, but unfinished, the way most stories stay." You have such a way with words (even if they are just a few a day). :)

    Your book map is cool! I'm going to have to show my google maps obsessed son!

    And I see Blankets on your map! Yay! You finally read it. I'm dying to know what you thought!

  2. Your map is way cool. And your writing is too :) The swimming story...oh yes...unfinished...when is your due date? Hope that karate chopper gives a break here and there!

  3. Your writing is gorgeous, Melissa. And who cares if you only write a few words a day. When I was pregnant, the only words I wrote were in my pregnancy journal, so I admire you for continuing to work on your novel at all.

    The lifeguard's story is heartbreaking.