An old journal

Two embattled writerly forces: the necessity, the requirement, of a reader on the other end and the anxiety which arrives at the thought of anyone reading the…words. I might call it work if I had the guts. In fact, yes, I’m going to call work. My work. Why the hell not call it work when that’s what it feels like (I mean work in the best sense of the word: a life’s work; your best work; etc.)? If you really think about it, it’s the work that needs the reader, not the writer. And it’s the writer who fears the reader, not the work. So maybe the writer should just get over herself.

The journal

is bound in soft, caramel Italian leather. It came from Venice in my sister’s luggage years ago. It has a large water stain on the cover. I haven’t written in it since May, 2016. It seems I was wiser three years ago than I am now. In the diaries, I spend a lot of time meditating on plants. I stamp here and there the thoughts of superior minds:

When time is reduced to linear progress, it is emptied of presence.
— John O'Donohue
Not everyone wants this conventional little life you’re rowing your boat toward.
— zadie smith
Art is the act of triggering deep memories of what it means to be fully human.
— David Whyte

The best part, though, comes in the four or five entries devoted to the topic of co-sleeping with my first born, who was less than a year old at the time. The entries are together an unpolished essay grappling with the idea of sharing a bed—and not only a bed, but a body, breasts, hands, arms—its maker seeming to fear that nothing, physically speaking, will ever be hers again.

But it is mostly a celebration of the baby.

It wonders when the fullness of his cheeks is gone whether the broadness, spacious planes of flesh, will remain. It wonders what we and our body will be like down the road.

Molly NevinsComment