Four years ago I moved to New York with my best friend. It was - let’s be honest - a weird, confusing decision born out of some romantic stereotype that (I think) maybe everyone develops towards that city at some time or another. I was going to be a writer. I was going to be writing in a cafe some dark, grey evening and I was going to be discovered and given money to do what I’ve always wanted to do. Literally - I have always wanted to do it. I have always wanted to write. I was 9 when I wrote my first short story. It was about my dog. I was 11 when I devoted my young life to writing X-Files fiction. I thought - ah ha! I have found what I will do forever. This is it.
I was 15 when the show was cancelled and I realized I should probably start writing about something else. So I did. When I was 16, I submitted and published my first short story in a small literary magazine. I was published a few more times throughout college and then, when I graduated, I moved to New York. And I spent 3 and 1/2 years figuring out that you do not have to be in New York in order to be a writer. And actually - sometimes New York is possibly the exact opposite of where you have to be in order to be a writer. I was working a full time job, commuting 10 hours a week, and getting home too exhausted to do much besides feed my cat and collapse in bed.
So I left. At 26 I quit the job I’d had for years and I packed everything I owned and I moved back in with my parents. And I told myself the only way you can do this - the only way you will be able to do this without hating yourself forever - is if you actually sit down and write something. And then you have to send it out. And then you have to get it published. And then you have to move to Scotland.
All those things are happening. Slowly. I wrote a book, I got an agent, I got an editor and a publishing company, I got accepted into a master’s program in Edinburgh. I’ve spent this summer editing a book that in some ways took me 3 weeks to write, in other ways took me 26 years.
All this is just a long way of saying that I started this blog in 2008 and it’s been great in nearly every way. It taught me to write for an audience and it connected me with readers in a way I’d never really experienced. But as all things eventually do, this little piece of internet has run its course. This is me in New York, this is me sort of floundering and unsure, and I’d like a clean place to start over and fresh and new.
I leave for the UK in one month and I will be starting my new blog when I get there. I’ll have one more post here to give everyone the link. I hope you follow me to my new internet home and I hope (let’s be honest) that you all buy my book and stay in touch and keep sending me all your lovely messages that I sometimes reply to and am usually too embarrassed to reply to.
And allow me to be incredibly lame for about ten seconds and say - in all sincerity - do not follow your dreams anywhere. Rope them in and tie that knot tight and pull them to you. Make them come to you. If you want to write, sit down and write. You don’t have to be anywhere special to do it. Wherever you are - just drop everything. Just make the time and sit down and do it.
You can also apply that logic to anything else you want to do and to anything else you want to achieve.
Like Scully says in the first X-Files movie: “DON’T THINK. JUST PICK UP THAT PHONE AND MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
At the end of my dream last night I sat in a car across from a beautiful woman and she held just the tips of my fingers as we barreled down streets left bare and destroyed by the last, final virus. Only a handful of people survived and we were among the lucky ones and we sat eating strawberries and laughing and I have never felt such a feeling of wellbeing - such a feeling of belonging, of peace, of surrender. I woke up and it was dark and the house was like an empty shell around me and as much as I strained my ears in the absolute blackness of it, I couldn’t hear anything. Not even the air conditioning straining out of the vents or my cat upstairs or the incessant stream of fireworks my neighbors have kept up all week.
A few days ago I drank boxed white wine in a glorified barn - one long, sweltering room with a lousy band and a dozen scattered relatives. Afterwards we ended up at this bar and then afterwards afterwards I threw up acid vomit into my cousin’s toilet and I remember thinking how double vision is just that - a perfect duplicate of the world copy-pasted just off center of this one. My niece slept next to me on the couch and I tried to figure out how to crawl from this world to the other world, just to see if there was any real difference between the two.
In the morning everything was back to normal. I had a headache and a bad taste in my throat and I drove home barefoot and spent the whole day watching movies in my bed. My cat approached with caution. As if - and maybe I am just projecting - as if maybe he knew I had been so close to crossing over and had only narrowly managed to make it back.
Anonymous asked: Do you have a Goodreads account?
I have maybe the most uninteresting goodreads account in the history of the site. I logged in today out of curiosity and it’s been over a year since I last updated and my total “books read” is 10. (I was just thinking to myself, though “I need to read The Bell Jar; why haven’t I ever read The Bell Jar” but according to goodreads, I have read The Bell Jar. Is that what the site is for? For people like me, who read books and then apparently erase all memory of said book out of their head?)
I don’t know, it seems sort of gratuitous to me. Does anyone have a strong case for goodreads, either for or against?
The upside of leaving New York City and traveling three hours north to Connecticut to live with your parents in their (furnished) basement with your cat and the half of your worldly possessions you managed to fit into your (to be fair enormous) car is that you are afforded the sort of quiet that New York City has never and will never afford anyone. You can take a breath; you can lay back on a bed; you can stick your head out of a window; you can write until you are physically ill from the writing, until you hate writing, until you would literally like to do anything in the entire world other than write, ever again. You can dust off old sheet music and sit down to play a piano you’ve neglected for years and you can spend time perfecting the perfect french manicure and you can cut all your hair off and read an entire book in an afternoon on the hot hot impossibly hot deck.
There are upsides, and the key is to keep remembering the upsides. Keep repeating the list in your head. Tape it to the walls of your brain and read it off to yourself before you go to bed.
You might be lonely. It might be very, very lonely, but you are getting things done and you will not be here forever. In fact, in three months exactly you will board an airplane and move to the other side of the world. But until then, you are here. And there are upsides.