This is not the story

you expected. It doesn’t start at the beginning. There’s no music. There’s no soft opening. There’s no early bus ride through the fancy part of town. There’s no spirit. There’s no idea. There’s no reason to be taken seriously.

She makes a game of collecting sex toys. One from every city.

She has a dull pain down the right side of her body.

She writes about her mother.

She eats banana peppers and quinoa.

She likes putting things down. Putting things down and looking at them is like her favorite thing.

God bless America.

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This is the Story

Of a writer who spent the morning sneezing and slurping expensive coffee and searching the inter webs for queer hash tags and cheap flights.

This is the story that jumps back in time to last night when the writer went to an expensive diner with her two writer friends and together they sipped Miller High Life and couldn’t finish their hash browns.

And it’s pride. Happy pride.

The writer writes about all the mornings she has wondered what it would be like to kiss LP. In a dark high school gymnasium.

Open mouth. Lots of tulle.

This is the Story

of a writer who calls herself a writer.

The writer is also a waitress, an intern, a performer, a playwright, a teacher, a wife, a pet owner, a renter, a feminist, a sister, a driver, a fool, a clown, a wife, a gender, a size, a name.

The writer jumps time to tomorrow. To 4pm therapy. The writer looks forward to Wednesdays. Wednesdays are her favorite days of the week.

The writer looks forward to speaking to someone. The writer has taken a liking to self care; haircuts, side projects, cover letters, resumes, yoga, acupuncture, cupping, therapy, produce, sleep, tarot cards, temporary work, reading, writing, HBO comedy specials.

The writer jumps back to tonight. Sarah Silverman at a low volume. Lots of open tabs. Some unopened mail. The plunk of kitchen water.

And the clicking of keys.

This is a story

by the writer about the writer for the writer. It’s a simple clean story that begins right now and has no ending.

It takes place at the table next to the cracked open window. On the table is a half eaten yogurt cup, a bag of tortilla chips, a calendar, a black pen, a tea caddy from Holland, a basket filled with art supplies and post cards, a pink box, some bananas, a picture of us in a frame on our wedding day, hair.

There are two cats. One eating out of a red dish. one sleeping at the foot of the bed.

This is the Story

Of last night when Megan (affectionately nicknamed Slim) quoted Amy Poehler of all people. She said,

you have to know when it’s time to turn in your kazoo.

Apparently Amy Poehler worked at some kind of burger joint right out of college. One of those places where you wear funny hats and sing songs into plastic mouth pieces any time a stranger claims it’s their birthday.

The writer knows that

lots of people wait tables. Lots of people wait tables for a very long time. Lots of people make lots of money waiting tables.

Ann Patchett writes of her days slinging fajitas.

The writer spent all of yesterday afternoon at a temp agency; taking tests, and signing dots, and getting hungry.

Temporary office work. Filing. Answering phones. Proofreading.

Kind of like trading in your kazoo for a blow horn.

This is the story that jumps back in time about ten years when the writer waited lots of tables at the adorable cafe on the first floor of The Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue.

And one quiet July morning the writer was serving a strange mother and her three beautiful children hot dogs and cappuccinos, and the strange mother looked up at the nice writer and said

you in school honey?

No, not right now. Said the writer.

And then the strange mother looked down at her three beautiful children and said

see kids, this is why you have to go to college so you don’t end up working a job like this.

This is the story

Of a writer who wrote Meghan Daum, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed… down in her notebook. She has to read that. And the new Maggie Nelson.

People ask. People have to ask. Just have to ask the writer the question because the writer is in her mid thirties. And because the writer has been married for three years. Because the writer is not destitute. Because the writer seems relatively happy and able bodied.

People can ask. That’s fine. Anyway, the writer presents herself very open and very curious. So

have at it

Do you want to have kids?

(She says she isn’t finished researching all the angles).

This is the story that jumps ahead to this morning when the writer went to yoga for the first time in a while and the writer felt the power of her body.

This is the story

Of a writer at a writerly event, the kind of event where you have to get there late to be on time. The kind of event with complimentary cupcake and complimentary two buck chuck. The kind of event that is boring to a lot of people but gives you a big rush because it is a look at a world that is a world that you might have a place in.

You are tagged with names that say emerging, and former, and student. And performer. And it’s not that you don’t identify as a performer. It’s just that you are tired of performing. Always have been.

And this is the story that jumps back in time about twenty minutes, against the wall. Leaning. Leaning next to a nice accomplished writer probably exactly your age. And she, the accomplished, asks you if you are a writer. And you say, I write.

I just got my MFA?

And the accomplished writer says I think you can start calling yourself a writer now that you hold an MFA.