I haven’t written anything, anything at all, in at least six months. In fact, I’m thinking about quitting writing altogether, but I have no idea who accepts these types of resignations. Perhaps this is the thing that keeps some writers going: There’s no one to quit to. When I retrace my steps to what brought me here, it doesn’t look so terrible on paper, and yet, I consider this last year an exercise in finding out what I’m made of. So far, whatever it is doesn’t smell anything like teen spirit.
Last September my daughter Sophie went to Kindergarten. The only thing I remember about her first day of school is trying not to hurl while watching her get on the bus. In December, I accepted an offer for a full-time job I didn’t know I was being considered for. I was happy to take the work, as I was eager to start meeting people who don’t have pink eye or strep. I did, however, make sure to get pneumonia just before starting. In March, I quit working out. I decided it would be easier to buy bigger clothes than make it to the gym. In April, I turned 41. In February, my dad became seriously ill, and in May he died after a 60-year battle with a disease he didn’t even know he had. June was a blur, and here we are in July. Pretty soon I’m going to need more new clothes.
This is how it happens, isn’t it? I had big dreams, big aspirations that have shrunk and decayed over time, and now even the smallest of those little goodies seems unattainable. Grad school, authorship, a real career, some kind of entrepreneurial pursuit: I’m losing sight of how any of these things are possible. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing: the laundry, the dishes. I will keep coming to work in the morning, and leaving sometime later. I will take care of Sophie. I will wear a rubber mouthpiece to bed that keeps me from clenching my jaw hard enough to break my own teeth. Learning to knit has been fun. I’m due for a mammogram! And maybe I’ll just start writing something—something smaller than an essay but bigger than a tweet—every single day. Maybe it’ll be fun, and if it isn’t, I can always quit. I think.
Jody A. Reale