a relentless grey since dawn

Here’s the thing. I sat down with the intention of writing something pretty. But I got about five sentences in, when I realized that I was writing the world’s dullest commonplace book. It was all banal clichés and pretty descriptions of nothing. And, for once, I don’t want to talk in metaphors.

I’m working on a new poetry book. By that, I mean it will be done shortly. I’m in the middle of sorting out the cover art. I don’t have an exact ETA yet (sometime in February). But it’s called I Don’t Love You Pretty.

The past couple of months, reading and editing, I’ve gone through the evitable,
“This line isn’t bad!” to “This whole thing is total rubbish!” cycle. It happens. It’s unavoidable. My dear friends always seem to know exactly when to hide the matches. But, reading things over, I’m proud of this bloody book. There are pieces of me in it, because no poem springs out of a vacuum. But only one poem is really me, entirely. The rest are things I tried to capture. Moments I wanted to rescue. Shadows I borrowed from other people. Imagined conversations. Worst fears. Stilted hopes. As the title suggests, it isn’t always pretty.

It occurred to me as I was re-reading, today, that I’m not always good at letting things be. And a part of that, I suppose, is an issue of control. To willingly let go of control is a leap of faith. It’s a thing of trust. It can be both freeing and scary. To put something out into the world and go, “Here, this is mine.” It’s terrifying in all the ways it should be terrifying. Because if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a risk. And all good things are, in their own ways.

Joan Didion once wrote, “In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.” To an extent, I believe that’s true. Writing is always meant to show, like a mirrorbox (shout out to Trinh T. Minh-ha): it reflects a certain spectrum of things. It all depends on the angle, the lightning, and how much you close your eyes.

But I digress.

Reading through this manuscript reminded me that I messy things. I like the honesty you can find in fingerpaints or a kiss at three a.m. I like storms, because they’re beautiful – and then either create or destroy. Yesterday, the skies were a relentless grey since dawn. Then, in midafternoon, as if someone flipped a switch, everything changed. The skies were full of sunlight, and everything glitter. Life is like that, most of the time. It can be a dark wreck, only to reveal something beautiful. Something miraculous. Something worth fighting for. Something worth the storm. Because, really, it’s the messy moments and things that brings us back to ourselves, isn’t it? It’s the chances we take. The words we dare to say. The love we light like a candle in the dark.

Writing a book – any book – is a lot like falling in love. In the beginning, it’s beautiful. It’s perfect. It’s new. Then it gets…difficult. There are times where you want to run, where you can’t put two sentences together, and you really wonder if you’re doing it all wrong. But then, you take a breath and really look at what you’ve made. And you rediscover why it all started in the first place. If it was easy, if it all just fell into place without a fight, we wouldn’t really love it. Because nothing worth having, worth making, worth possessing, just falls into your lap. Nothing ever spontaneously comes into being, darlings. You have to make it. You have fight for it. You have to take risks for it.

(All those things apply to writing and love, dear hearts.)

So, soon, this book will be a thing. Which is scary. And wonderful. And scary. But I hope you love it, mess and all. I won’t light it on fire, before you get a chance to see it. Although, to be fair, this is glorious weather for a bonfire…

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