It’s been twenty days. I’ve been working every day and night I can. I haven’t gone outside much. Maybe three times? Last night was the first time I drove in two weeks. I took a walk on Monday, and stared at my feet, mostly, even though the scenery here is beautiful. I think I’ve talked to two adults face-to-face. And two children.
It’s November. It always happens like this. I’m writing.
I hear it’s been snow flurrying. I work in my basement, so I wouldn’t know. There are no windows down here. But it must be chilly, because the boiler behind me keeps firing up. I hear my kids upstairs, dancing and jumping. Sometimes, if the big one jumps hard enough, debris crumbles onto my bookshelves. I yell up, “Enough!” I am the monster in the damp, damp basement. I am the evil groundhog, burrowed, telling the children to stop having fun. Yesterday was her birthday and though I came upstairs and participated, it was more like an out of body experience. The real me was not driving her to piano lessons, stopping for pizza, singing happy birthday or snapping pictures while she blew out the candles. The real me was sitting here in the basement trying to figure out the one missing scene that will tie these two hundred other scenes together.
I’ve had more miscommunications via internet than ever before. I am not in people mode. I may have lost friends (real and Facebook) by saying weird or stupid things. Mostly, it’s just awkward over-wording. Ironic considering I’m polishing a manuscript, and pleonasm is my daily enemy. I haven’t cleaned the house or gone grocery shopping. I’ve changed only a few diapers and have no idea how dinner got on my plate most nights. But I do laundry, because the washer and dryer are in the basement, like I am. So that’s something.
Ask me nothing. I am unreliable. I’m not really listening. I try, but I won’t be here again until all the ends of my story are tied in neat little knots and are combed just right. You might ask me Does my hair look okay? Are these jeans too tight? Is it okay for me to schedule the car in for a service on Thursday? You can’t trust my answers. I have no idea what you’ve just said, even if I looked you right in the eye while you said it. I could be in dire need of something, but if you ask me if I need anything, I will say no. I’ve worn these pants three days in a row and this sweatshirt has holes the size of forest animals. There is a patch of sticky grape jelly on my elbow. My glasses are filthy. Opaque. I don’t smell, but I look like I should. I need a haircut.
But by Christmas, I will have another book off my desk. This one’s been tiptoeing behind me since April, bothering me to finish it, so I can move on. The next one is already tiptoeing behind this one, casting a shadow on a shadow. And though this may sound like the ranting of a person unhinged or unhappy, this is where I am happiest – in the shadows of November, burrowed, writing.
Something tells me someone here can relate.