I moved to a new home last week. It’s got beige carpets, sloping roof and enough shelves for all my books. I sleep with the skylight ajar and wake up to drifting conversations between runners panting in circles around the park beside. I open my eyes each morning to the sight of trees and sky. The rustling of leaves, and patterns from a lingering night. I remember to give myself time to get used to the idea of a new place and people, of a new morning. And when I get out of bed, I try not to stoop, I try not to let the world get to me, not so soon.
The sun has almost set, and I’m on the floor in my room, sitting very still, waiting for inspiration. And I’m smiling because I know that writers are the only artists who expect to get somewhere by waiting. I understand that writing is what teaches you. That writing leads to ‘inspiration’. To which I say, “I’m here, ain’t I?” But as with every retort, there is a hint of fear in my defense. Just keep writing, they say, but I’m too scared to make a move today. I’m scared of touching mediocrity and liking it. I’m scared of our eyes meeting and our hands brushing. I’m scared of not looking away in time, of letting a smile curl my mouth. Of seeming inviting, almost cajoling. Stay, why don’t you? In a room full of sculptures, I’m scared of turning into one, craved from stone, a life unatoned.
I fidget with the veins of grape stems, each green glob twisted and torn away. I’m hungry, but I haven’t reached the word count for today. I type furiously, then delete it all. Mediocrity is a sin I refuse to commit. But nothing good comes from not moving forward either. So here I stay, struggling through trenches, and then some more. I massage my face with the palms of my hands, my eyes focused on a point above the shelves. A few more words, I tell myself. But what I really want to do is to put on The Smiths and fall asleep. Get under that blanket and pretend it’s all a dream.