I write on the tiniest sliver of a desk. In the space of wall between the sliding wooden doors of my bedroom and the built-in shelves of movies. For Field Guide, I wrote here for hours nearly every day for 2.5 months. Staring at this monitor, this weird photo of my kid in a black cowboy hat, the serpentine wires of the computer hardware. I played Nada Surf’s See These Bones (Live) on repeat. For days. Listened to The National’s Boxer. It’s dark in this living room/dining room/office. The box ceilings, the walnut woodwork, the looming maple trees blot out the sky. I remember it as struggle. Coming like a supplicant to this desk every day to write a martyr’s tale. A quiet tragedy.
I remember the misery of my relationship. The loneliness. I remember pouring my claustrophobia and isolation into the book. I remember the joy of writing a child. His perception. His goodness. I remember the days when the dogs cocked their heads at me as I paced around acting out scenes. Hollering dialogue. Cackling like a fucking lunatic. I remember the madness. The seizure. The way the characters take the story from you, and run ahead.
Alone in my head. My planet-sized ego tender as a dumpling. Always the difference between the clarity of my intention, and the letters on the page.
I remember the hardness. The food. I remember the delicacy of memory and heartache. I remember Kelly telling me to write the joy. I remember the snow falling. The truck on the road.
Last night, Field Guide won the Lambda Literary Award, while G and I sat on the couch watching Spirited Away. The disconnect of the writer’s life. From mind cave to public act. When they phoned to tell us, Gavin and I jumped around with our arms raised, hollering. The dogs cocked their heads at us. The scene painfully familiar to them.
3 thoughts on “Prized”
I get this. I do. Completely. Yet, it’s not me…it’s you. And I applaud you. I do.
I get the disconnect. I get the cocked heads, and not just from dogs. Field Guide is a beautiful book, subtle, layered, surprising. I am glad it managed to surprise you with this award.
Thank you both. Bett, you encouraged me in the darkest dark. And I’ll be grateful always.