I was just sitting there, trying not to watch the Forty Year Old Virgin that was mindlessly playing on the TV, when my two year old niece, a bright, very busy little girl, came up to the couch and smiled at me. I smiled at her.
She climbed up, sat down beside me and put her head on my shoulder. Two minutes later she was asleep. Just like that. If a unicorn had come out of the wild woods to sleep in my lap, I couldn't have been more enchanted.
"Awwww! Look at that," exclaimed various brothers and sisters in law.
"Awwww," said my husband, looking up. "I'm not surprised, she's very comfortable. I like to sleep there myself."
We were all gathered to celebrate Keith's Mom's birthday yesterday. It was fun. I can't get over how different a person I am now. I laugh all the time. I talk easily. I'm frequently funny.
It's not so much that I'm bizarrely different. It's the opposite; it's like I'm more truly myself than I've ever been before.
At dinner, my ten year old niece had cut all the fat out of her steak and my mother in law was telling her how all the flavor was in it. She made a face of disgust. I looked at my niece, an awkward and frequently sullen child with pale, limp hair and a face just beginning to lose the milky innocent quality of childhood. Then I met her eyes and held her gaze, though the sheer power of the grace inside me.
"When I was your age," I told her, smiling, "I hated the fat too. I spent hours cutting off every tiny piece of it. Now, however, I eat it." I leaned forward, my eyes sparkling. "It's delicious," I told her, as it were it a great and marvelous secret.
I wasn't talking about the steak, of course. I was talking about life. I hope she heard me. I think so, because a great light came up over her face and then she looked down, smiling a secret smile.
Hold on, I wanted to tell her, hold on and don't be afraid. You'll grow up beautifully in the end. There's so much hidden joy and so very little to be afraid of.
I was right about my plot. It revealed itself as I went forward. I haven't been able to write for the last two days and so my story is all backed up in my head, restless and heavy in there. This is going to be a much better story than the previous one, and much, much more challenging. But I love it, I love it even more than the last. It's intoxicating.
Writing is like standing on a shore of words, a great chaos of words. I cast my line in and I pull out something that's alive, that wriggles on the hook. I do this hour after hour after hour, sitting at the computer with the sun on my face and Pandora pouring out seamless music.
I take the private vision, I take the thing I desire the most, my own private world, and I draw it out. I draw it out like a magician pulling an endless handkerchief from his sleeve, line by line. I cloth the naked vision in language, I secure it with words. The vision lives outside of me then, bright and glittering with the sharp edges of its new definition.
I want to be an author so badly. I can't deny it. I want to be professional, I want to be published, I want to be prolific. I don't care if I'm not famous, I don't care if I never see the Time's Best Seller list, so long as I have a little group of people who love me for letting them into my world.
That's what I want. I want my words to speak to someone else, to teach them something I could never have guessed when I wrote the words down. I want my words to live outside of myself. And I'm going to work at this and work at this until I make it happen.
If I have to go to college to make this happen, then damn it, I'll even go to college.