"I am a writer and my job is to steal life in order to paradoxically amplify and magnify life, my job is to at least attempt to reveal life to you in finer, more astonishing detail than you have ever before seen it."
A Better Woman, Susan Johnston (1999)
When she was young, it was easier to accept his departure if she knew he loved someone else. Now it makes no difference, because she recognises the problem: he does not love her.
The problem with love in our culture, with the very word love, is that its meaning is not self-contained. It extends beyond the word, constructed by the relationship in which we speak it. So if I tell my mother, ‘I love you,’ it encompasses only familial love, though I love her as my best friend. And if I say ‘I love you’ to my best friend, it is that friendly kind of love, even though I love her as a sister, as my own flesh and blood that I would give her if she needed. And to my lover, ‘I love you’ means forever, happily ever after—even when I only mean tonight.
Writing process: Find a prompt. Write. Only figure out months later what you were writing about. Get the fuck out of there.
Some radio show hosts were talking about Sliding Doors the other morning. I’m a nerd, so I just think of them as turning points—those moments in life when I make a decision that seems like any other, and only later I realise that I’ve completely changed direction.
I interviewed for a writing job about a month ago. The company called me while I was preparing for a race, packing gear bags and the like, hiding out in a cabin with intermittent cell coverage. Then I couldn’t interview on the original date because of a friend’s funeral, so I pushed it back a day later.
By the time interview day rolled around, I was ready to cancel. I was sad. I was stressed. I was scared of another one of those most pathetic rejections: “We think you’re overqualified.”
Like many of those who told their stories to the radio show, I went against my better judgement.
And I was immediately glad I did, because I felt a real connection with the people and the place. I felt like I was a part of it long before I left the interview. I felt like I was a part of it from the start.
I’m still glad I went to that interview. I accepted the offer, and I’m loving my work.
I was up late and not really sleepy, so I decided to write a little something for Trifextra: Week Fifty-Two. Click the title of this post to read it. Or click the Trifextra link and find me in the list, if you can.
Alice’s Diary (a snippet)
So we walked and talked and I marvelled at our deepening, almost spiritual bond. It felt electric, like lightning crackling between us. But then I looked up and realised I was foolish in attributing a meteorological phenomenon to a personal connection, for even though it was only mid-morning, the thunderheads grew ominous above.
Whatever happened to the mystery?
Once upon a time, words were mysterious as it was deemed they should be. They lingered longer, invoking a magical languor that tied us to the pages we slowly turned. They spewed forth and spattered over us, filling all the spaces. They always said something, but it wasn’t always what we heard. Sometimes the words shape-shifted in the aether and became new beasts in our minds. But now the masses beg for plain-talk, forgetting the art of expression; the mystery is gone.
I’m getting a wisdom tooth extracted tomorrow. The reason for the extraction is that there’s no opposing tooth to halt its progress, much as I described in this piece. The process is nothing like I described in this piece. I did feel a little shaky afterwards, though.
So when Trifecta: Week Twenty-Nine's prompt was 'decay' I immediately thought of the dentist. Dr Le also warned me that my wisdom tooth was making it difficult to clean my molars, which could cause decay.
I didn’t want to write about that sort of decay, so I made some shit up.