that I realized I would not be successful. ever.
that this writing group, which came so suddenly after I “put my desire out into the universe,” is not, in fact, some answer, some guide to get me to where I want to be, but another passing site along the way. why would I have thought otherwise?
that I will not be an essayist any more than a short story writer. In that delusion that I was on some course, that there was a path, a trajectory and I was on it, I got a book on making a money as a writer and another on best essays. And they both, briefly, gave me dreams. Dream One: that stupid sniveling, crippling book [Scratch], rather than about learning to sell one’s self, or how to land a copy writing job or pitch, was one story after another about success. And so I let it carry me: I imagined publishing a few articles, nonfiction essays that I could use to secure an advance. and an advance would be an argument for a third child, for another two years just to work on craft, for writing as a vocation, not a hobby. This stupid book did not serve me except to give exacting detail of a fantasy. Better to have some vague desire, and know it as an impossibility, than to have concrete knowledge of what others attained, but you will not.
Dream Two: that I could find a form. More abstract, and more pathetic. the introduction by the series editor to best american essay 2015 discusses what an essay is. in doing so, he talks about essayist as demoted stylists: even at their most excellent, they are the forgotten cousin among the other genres. He says essayist find their form after failing at others. and yes, yes, it’s sad, but I thought for a day and a half, that’s me. were I to condense the writing I find most appealing, the genre which most adequately expresses who I am, the way I think, it would be the essay. I live in ideas, I want to express them, more so than character or plot, which are ultimately just a tool to get to the idea. So live in the essay. Embrace it.
i hear my mother’s voice now: why can’t i succeed? i’m not sure. partially because i can never get past this, get past the abjection to actually finishing a project. ideas and plots and characters will all die out here in the wilderness with me. their unfinished worlds crumbling because i do not have the ability to believe. i’m sorry. i would have been some one different had I been given the choice. but this is it.
I want to be sustained on something other than dreams. I want to just know that this is all I am and have that be enough.