Sunday, July 23, 2006
It was, in fact, a really weird moment. It's Saturday night and we're celebrating Nicole's 25th birthday. We began at an Italian restaurant, where I calmed my nerves with a glass of very dry merlot and ate all but one of my mezzaluna. Rachel, Leslie and I arrive fashionably late. Fashionably only because I say so. We were actually painfully late - thanks to me. The drive in was filled with colorful bitching. We'd all had bad days, all had somebody pissing us off or driving us crazy and over a million things threatening to make celebrating Nicole's quarter-of-a-century event impossible. But when we finally made it, there was the rest of our party, three fashionable gals lined up on one side of our six person booth. Drinks already washing down a zucchini appetizer. After the merlot and mezzaluna, three of us went outside to have an after dinner cigarette. We chatted about myspace and blogs. "You're blog is fucking amazing," Megan said. She told me how she'd read through it and laughed and cried, "and you're just like, writing about your day..." she said. It was very kind of her - something I don't take egotistically. I don't think it's amazing. I read Stephanie Klein, This Fish and Benjamin Wagner. They're good writers. They're amazing. Me? I'm just trying to learn. Since I have begun taking this writing thing seriously, people have been very kind to me. But compliments are hard for me to swallow... But for that one second, "fucking amazing" was flattering. And I thought to myself, I really am a writer. That's what I do. I write. Somewhere, somehow, I crossed a line. The line between thinking one day you could be a real person, with a real profession, a real future, a real life - and being that real person. My life may be unbalanced....light in love and heavier in work than play - but it's a real life now. I used to sit around and dream about being a writer in Manhattan...covering stories...picking up rugelach at Zabars on a Sunday morning and reading the Times at Starbucks - having just returned from a trip to Africa or Peru or Israel. Spending a week in a podunk town in blue collar America writing about what real hard work and hard life looks like. It's slow going. I have to keep myself in check. I can get myself so nervous and so worked up over stories that I completely fall into anxiety ridden writer's block. I bitch and moan about interviews before I have to go to them... I stress over navigating this seed of a career I think I may have started and wonder if I'm going to the right school, taking the right classes, reading the right books, really writing stories well enough. I wake up and go to sleep feeling like I don't know what the hell I'm doing. But the thing is...I bitch and moan - but the minute I sit down with an interview - I fall in love with them. With their story. No matter what it is they're doing. And I think my stories aren't good - but then I get an email from an editor suggesting I look for full time work - saying that I could get it easy, that I already have a reputation and respect and recommendations at the ready. And that, to me, is fucking amazing.