Abigail and I came across Isabel and her dog Dot the other day. They used to be Weekenders. But once Governor Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses close statewide, they became permanent dwellers in the acreage next to mine. Isabel is an architectural historian, filmmaker and children’s book author, who recently decided to tackle the learning curve of memoir and essay writing. Guess what we talk about?
Our segue to writing this last time sucked the air out of me. A family member, who popped in for a visit said, “Have you met the writer who lives next door? I think she’s famous.”
This relative was either suffering from a head injury or seriously overdoing his medicinal use. Neither was the case, but you can understand my lack of oxygen. Because why would he think that? Oh, right. He read my license plate— REWRITES.
Jump back to 2018, when I could bask in the rejuvenating love vibe that comes from an in-person Kundalini Yoga class. In the parking lot my carpool pal said, “Maybe if you change your license plate to PUBLISH, you’ll land an agent and that book deal.”
Good grief. Was I sending the Universe the wrong message and enabling my misbelief that nothing I wrote could ever be publishable? I didn’t lose any sleep over this, but I did give the notion careful consideration. And when it was time to renew my plates, I thought about it again.
Why didn’t I make the switch?
Simple answer: it was easier just to renew.
Heart answer: rewrites are my life. Not because I believe what I write will never be good enough. But because showing up and facing the blank page, or the purple prose I fooled myself into believing was noteworthy is an adventure I wouldn’t want to miss. It’s more exciting than any job I landed as an actor, and more rewarding than any degree or certification I’ve received. Because there is no end to the learning curve. Each story, each draft demands that I boldly go where I’ve never gone before.
Flash forward to Isabel and Dot, who was now lying in the road taking a nap while Abigail was eager to mush.
“What did you tell him?” I said.
“I told him you are a writer, and I wish I was more like you because you write every day. Writing is really hard for me.”
“Yeah, it’s hard,” I said. “Some days, it feels like nothing works. But when you go back in, something always sparkles.”