It’s a Sunday morning and I’m looking outside my window at the street that’s only just beginning to stir with life. A woman across the street wearing a hiking backpack walks quickly while trying to untangle her earbuds from her sunglasses.
Behind her, another woman is examining the object in her hands – an oriental lantern with red tassels hanging from the bottom, the kind you would buy in the ‘apartment’ section of an urban outfitters. In this instance, it was likely picked up off the street – discarded housewares from a millennial tenant likely moving from one place in Brooklyn to another.
On my side of the street, a man wheeling a squeaky shopping cart rummages through the trash bin on the corner; having found nothing worthwhile he spits in it and proceeds to the next.
Quiet moments like these are very short lived on Graham Avenue, and can only be witnessed in the very early morning. To my astonishment I realize that I can actually hear birds chirping! But alas, in just a few moments this serenity will be buried. First with a layer of truck engines rumbling onto the street; they have already started to roll up to the storefronts to idle while their contents are unloaded and their colossal presence rattles the air.
“You’ve been sitting there for 20 minutes. Why don’t you turn off your fucking engine?” I think to myself as I sip my stale cup of coffee and place it on the windowsill where the sunshine will radiate a bit of warmth back into it. (Word to the wise: enamel mugs are certainly pretty but they don’t actually insulate).
Then a B43 turns the corner, bringing with it more clatter for the cacophony. As it breaks to allow passengers off it releases a high pitched sibilance before lurching back into motion with one last violent soundwave created by the turbines and pistons that push it along.
At the furniture outlet next door an old man opens the access pit to the cellar and then reemerges with a hose; he is going to spray the sidewalk. It’s a daily ritual from which he never strays and yet there is never a reason for it. I suppose he just likes very clean pavement…
Now I’m staring at my computer screen in yet another attempt to write something worthy of actually leaving the inane pandemonium of my draft-box and I am paralyzed. With all of the disastrous things that are happening in the world right now, inserting stories about my life into people’s newsfeeds just feels tone deaf and solipsistic.
I can’t bring myself to do it.
This attitude solidified itself after I posted my last piece an entire year ago, and as evidenced by my lack of published work since, you can see the powerful force of inertia that it’s become. For the past 12 months, every time I’m about to submit a piece I’ve written I think, “How dare you? What could this possibly be contributing to the world right now?”
Which is very strange, because it’s not as though I’ve ever had illusions before about what people actually like to read. I don’t write about politics, I don’t write about race, or feminism, or mental illness, or gender identity, or global warming – or any of the more pertinent matters that affect my peers today.
Except when I think about it… maybe I do.
My headings aren’t overtly about those issues, but my piece titled, “Courage to be Joyous,” could just as aptly been named, “I Have Depression and These Were Some Thoughts I Wrote During a Very Dark Episode.” Great click-bait! Right? Except that isn’t my style. Never has been. I’m not trying to make a statement, I just want to connect.
My life experience is colored by my depression, my female body, my fears, etc. And even though my writing is personal, it doesn’t mean that others can’t find it relatable.
It is not my intention to ‘state,’ but it is my purpose is to ‘relate.’
Cool. Can someone make that a t-shirt for me?
Anyway, here’s to writing again and to not giving a fuck. I wish this same sentiment for everyone I love.