There are many, many things that I would never write here. Some bits are too delicate. If I opened up my hands, they would blow away. I would lose them. And many of my judgments are too painful for the interested parties. Too painful, and also ridiculously temporary, as fallible as all human conclusions. There’s no sense in upsetting people with one moment’s verdict. They might be rendered “not guilty” the next time, and then nobody’s better off.
I do like to pluck up a weed in my brain and try to praise it. Or smack down an insect of my own dervish craziness. Nonfiction is good for examination. Maybe someone else can look at it, as awed as I am by its construction and its invasiveness.
Fiction is different. I’ve written four long pieces of fiction– none of them, perhaps, the least bit publishable, languishing as they do in the netherworld of “novella.” Since fourth grade, I have wanted to write a novel. My fourth grade version was also too short. It was made of diary entries by a black girl in the Jim Crow south. Whatever possessed a privileged midwestern white suburban girl to write about such things in a big blue binder, during the Reagan administration, is a question I won’t bother going into here. The point is, after all those years, I’m still waiting to write a novel.
I loved novels from the first ones I read, the way they were more real than reality. They were my friends, sometimes more reliable and calming than my human friends, and my drug, and my lovers, before I had been in love.
Every time I have tried to build a novel, zap up my own Frankenstein monster, I stitch the final stitch and realize he is about four foot five. The pieces I had stretched that far. They made what they had to make.
Four long pieces, over fifteen years of writing, seriously, like scribbling and typing and reading and asking, and semi-seriously, like wearing red lipstick and appearing troubled. Three-ish years of crafting, and one-ish year of interesting myself in scraps of dead things, collecting. I’ve been in a collecting phase, lately. Letting some pieces rot. Some fall out of my pockets. Some still have veins in them. Some are ready to bloom with fresh blood, impossible as that sounds. Some muscle will wait, energy invested, never drying, never weakening, ready to be stitched and struck alive.