It’s 10PM when I finally respond to her text. She’s asking me when exactly I’m leaving on Saturday, probably to see if there’s any way we can see each other. We’ve been trying to find time to meet since we were last together a few days ago, but she works and I’m going home so it looks as if there will be a weeklong gap.
“This kinda sucks.” I text her as I near my stop.
I’m unable to hear any inflection, so her response gives me pause. “Busy schedules and all.”
“yeahhh. come over now?”
We live exceedingly close to each other, and while I could very well walk I choose to take the train back one stop. There is something beautiful about being wanted like that, wanted to such a degree that she finds a way to get you over. And there’s something beautiful in the freedom of New York’s subway system. I’m on and off all day but never tire of the meandering purpose it gives me. No matter where I go or why, I always feel like I’m being taken somewhere important.
This sense of importance hasn’t quite given me an existential purpose though. Or at least a sense of purpose that I can hold onto without question. As I make my way to her place I realize that I’m still in a funk from the evening’s class. In class I find myself mute, flitting back and forth between internal musings and attempts at following the conversation. I want someone to stop and ask me what I’m thinking just so I can say that I have no clue what’s going on anymore. I think there’s some wisdom in that statement. It worries me that I can articulate so much, so effectively I imagine, through my writing yet fall dumb when in public. I don’t quite know what this means and I begin to wonder whether my sense of permanence as a writer is well founded. My anxiety is there of course but I can only blame it for so long, especially when I’m at a point where my confidence is near to overflowing. I suppose it’s burgeoning arrogance, not confidence.
This leaves me questioning what I’m doing with my writing; all of this self-exploration, and all of it in the public domain. I know that even if no one was to read these words I would still be punching them out. But this desire to examine every minute facet of my being, and to do so in a manner in which others can follow along, worries me a bit. It feels like the correct process, especially in those moments where I slip away from the world and find myself composing in my mind, the words flowing as easily as water. Still, what I’m composing isn’t literature, it’s this, what I have right here. The only redeeming factor, if it’s of any worth, is that it’s a small glimpse into the being of a developing writer, if in fact I am a writer and if in fact I am interesting enough to listen to. I don’t even know what worthwhile writing is. I only know what I feel, and I’m beginning to pour it out instead of letting it stew in my mind.
I’m reveling in this newfound freedom of expression because of how long I’ve lived in a personal shell. It helps that I believe I am somewhat capable as a writer, a belief fueled by hints from my peers and professors. Some say things outright, while others only in their behavior or fleeting exchanges that require a bit of interpretation. Part of what makes me wonder whether I am producing anything of worth is how some people appear to expect me to say things that validate my supposed writing abilities, yet I inevitably end up feeling like I have disappointed them in that regard. Many times I don’t have anything to say, and I discovered long ago that if I don’t have anything new or stimulating to add then I’d rather stay quiet. Too many people interject in conversations just so that they will have said something. To make matters worse, I can sit in class all day and listen to people discuss the intricacies and merits of writing but I can’t seem, or rather don’t care, to follow most of it. Is it me or is it the conversation? Perhaps we’re discussing the wrong thing.
I realize as I leave class with my classmate, a fiery redhead with whom I share a common mindset, that whether I am capable of understanding what is said in class or not, all I really want to do is push those academic thoughts aside and live. We as “artists” spend so much time sitting around glorying in our shared trade, distilling its every process so that we can find a magical method to genius, that ultimately we fail to simply allow ourselves to feel. Everything needs to be intellectualized for some people. Everything needs to be put in terms that provide dictionary definitions of what is being done. I want to get away from that, but as the redhead and I walk along together all I can think to discuss is writing, unsure of what to say or how to share a congenial moment before we part ways. The last thing I want to discuss, especially after class, is anything related to literature or writing. I want to live and experience but somehow I find myself stifled.
Maybe that’s why I’m going to see my texting lady now, because she’s as far removed from writing as I can get right now. Even so, as I sit down on her couch maybe fifteen minutes after our exchange, I slip back into an old and familiar state of insecurity. We’re exchanging awkward conversation even though this is our third time together. Perhaps this is all we’re meant to be, which I am ok with. I want the companionship but I’m not quite sure if I want the commitment, but I am woefully inexperienced when it comes to hookups. It’s the same with another classmate. We share so much in common that it makes our times together very easy and enjoyable, but I still hold back. I want to wander around I guess, experience more, but still have that nice warmth of female companionship, most clear to me when I wake up pulled up close to one in bed. It must be that desire to live freely, without an explicit societal purpose. To just experience and enjoy, and then spill it out onto the page if possible to see what there is to discover. That is about as clear as I can get it right now. I’ll just keep plugging away.