9.22.2009

Status: pending

I haven't listened to my iPod while commuting in a long time. Nothing against it; I just simply have too much to read in this life. A subscription to the New Yorker is both a blessing and a curse. Fantastic, fun-fact-filled articles... and a time suck like no other, on a weekly basis at that. Last night, though, I slipped on the headphones from my gym bag and found myself swept up by the striking contrast of a silent New York City. Faces, buildings, all mute- as the soundtrack plays on.

At times like these, I am plunged headfirst into characters. I become one myself. If my life were a television series, this week would be the season premiere. The camera pans across the city, tracks down the central character as she walks towards the subway in Union Square. She always has a new haircut and clothes; it is, after all, a new season and there are future DVDs to come.

If my life were a television series, what would the narrator say behind the opening scenes of this season? How to fill in the blanks since we last left her in the spring? How to describe the summer? I wondered what images would sufficiently represent my summer, what the Yearbook would look like. The fact that it was almost indiscernible from my spring concerned me; time has made a milkshake of my memories and I am losing definition behind what was when and with who.

Camera pans to subway, where she stands, surrounded by L-train commuters. It is hard not to feel epic with a song blasting out the noise of the subway around you. I cannot hear these people complaining about their days. Instead, I am struck by how easily I can imagine what they looked like as children.

I am brought again to character. To emotion, to feeling, to moving, to crowds. My fingers itch to write as much of it as I can translate from the reality, but I am far from a keyboard. Instead I stuff my imagination with phrases and thoughts for a later time. This stuffing happens often. It's the de-stuffing that is consistently lost when I'm interrupted by a text message or I come home to a conversation. Need time to de-stuff, I think and my subconscious laughs. Right after this week's New Yorker is finished.

*

"So Jen, how's the book coming?" Numerous times in Europe. "Are you writing? How's your book?" From my brother. I flick away these questions. Irritated. My brother presses: "Jenny, you have to do it, ok?" "I know. I'm just... busy." "Ok, just make sure you make time for it."

If you all only knew. If you knew what a complicated relationship I have with the task of words, the joy of creating them and the heavy organizational job of finding the space to write them. A million plans per day about how I will now change my days to find time to write. But the gym! And other creative projects! And I don't want to lose my French! And maybe if I was supposed to write, I'd fight harder to find time. And maybe I'm supposed to contribute other types of creative projects to this world. And there are so many books to read at the library! For free!

Then, suddenly, I'm in the subway with a ballad blasting in the background of a million evening commuters and I know it's coming. Somehow it will happen. A little patience required.

Thanks for asking. Yes, there is a book in me. No, I haven't found it yet. Yes, I think about it most hours of most days. Sit tight. It's coming.

3 comments:

Chris said...

Great post - don't worry, it will come.

Avi said...

Perfect post.

Maybe write your novel… on a blog?

I know you must have read about cell-phone novels in Japan…

Anonymous said...

People ask me that all the time about my thesis. And it's very frustrating. yes, some days i work on it, but some days i can't be bothered. I always want to respond, "don't worry, i'll let you know when i'm done!"

bisous de clermont!
Erica