I recently went back through all the parts of L.L. Barkat’s “Rumors of Water” that I marked on my Kindle. (An aside, I enjoy highlighting things on Kindle because it doesn’t ruin the beauty of the book. But I hate highlighting things on Kindle because it’s hard to find them again.) This one sticks out:
“Sometimes writers tell me they want to write a book. I say, “Are you sure?'”
I am less sure than ever. When I was young I was sure. I had one dream: to write a children’s novel worthy of the Newbery. It’s still a lovely dream, but I’m wide awake. I don’t think I could write for L.L.’s daughters. They prove that readers under 18 are the most discriminating.
So I have done with my writing what L.L. has done with her cooking:
“I’ve learned that oranges and mint are a fine substitution for apple cider vinegar and black pepper.”
I’ve learned to substitute. Who knew I’d be so happy writing for a magazine? Who knew I would enjoy playing with poetry?
Some of this writing shift has been influenced by life itself, especially when it is unbalanced.
“Sometimes life has no symmetry.”
Frankly, I’ve had more asymmetrical years than symmetrical ones. I may not be able to write what I want, but I can still write. If that means 72 freaking cancer poems, then that’s what it means.
I’ve tried to set writing goals. I always fail. I told one friend that I gave up setting goals because someone in my family always gets sick and needs me. But it’s bigger than that.
“I won’t want to do them if they’re goals.”
Yes, that’s it. If it’s not a goal, then something new may emerge. Because that’s the one consistent thing about my writing, that its directions continue to surprise me.
“maybe all that’s needed is a quarter turn, a new series of steps.”
Thanks, L.L. I’ll wait and see if any of those white moths decide to rise.