I’m hoping for a song that will come to me while I’m asleep
Because I can’t lie, so I can’t write
-Typhoon, “Hunger & Thirst”
“Pay attention while you’re teaching,” she says before I leave Arizona. “It will give you a lot to write about.”
“You should write these things down,” he says when I tell him the things that were said to me behind closed doors. “One day you’ll look back on them and realize. Maybe one day you’ll write about them.”
Writing is all I do. I eat sadness and spit out writing. I fall in love and spit out writing. I see empty benches and abandoned headphones and I spit out writing.
I write everywhere. I write on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. I write on my blog. I write text messages. I write poems on the Google Doc where I house them all, 55 pages and growing. I write in the small journal I carry in my purse. I write in the big journals I keep in my room. I write haiku on the white board on my fridge. I see everything and I spit out writing.
These days I almost write too much. I keep writing because I can’t capture, anymore, any of the important things happening around me.
It will give you a lot to write about, she says. But what about the things that were said to me behind closed doors? What about the bright, soft, innocent faces that greet me in the mornings? What about the stories they tell me—in the schoolyard, in the hallways, behind closed doors? What about my triumphs and my regrets? What about the stories no one tells—the secrets that play out behind closed doors?
I came to this work because I feel so much love it hurts. (I left the previous sentence purposely vague.) But it seems now I am stymied—limited in the work I love (the writing) because of the work I love (the teaching). Because Pueblo is a town full of closed doors.
I would like to teach for a long time. But at some point I will need to not teach, so that I am able to write. It seems like my whole life is tipping toward this, driving me ahead toward an unknown point, at which I am doing this one thing, this only thing. The point at which I am unburdened by the closing of doors.
I can’t get this idea for a novel out of my head. It’s not clearly defined, but what keeps drawing me back to it is the idea that I could, through fiction, create some accountability for all the things that have happened this year. Perhaps I could tell stories that taste the same as the ones I can’t tell right now. Stories that carry the same weight without publicizing the burden. I don’t know.
But even that novel, I can’t write. It seems like I’m carrying too much to plan out a fictionalized account that simulates this pain. I’m overwhelmed sometimes. I’ve slept for 14 of the past 24 hours. But I am sitting, waiting and watching.
It feels a lot like holding my breath. It feels like waiting in the cold for the tow truck to come. It feels like being alone in a room with one skinny window where the light never shines through. All I’ve ever wanted to do is open the doors. One day maybe I will, but I can’t right now.