Drip Drop

by jkatejohnston

4 November 2015

Dear Max,

My diary is going straight to pots. I’ve been working on my fish book, a little every day—well, most days—trying to be like the drop of water that hollows a stone. But what if I’m like the drop of water that just goes drip?

A few days ago I started reading The Folded Clock, by Heidi Julavits, and I liked it pretty well. It’s a diary—sort of. And she’s funny—often. But I’m better. And then she mentioned some detail of her life that made me want to know more. I think it was that she has blond hair. I turned to where you’d expect to see an author photo, but there wasn’t one, so I looked her up online.

Turns out we were born the same year and graduated from college the same year and got our MFA’s in creative writing around the same time. Only she’s what most people would call a writer, and I’m not. She’s published several novels and edited a little magazine and lives in New York and teaches at Columbia. She met her husband at an Arts Colony. During the summer she lives in Maine where she has a writing studio that used to be a chicken coop.

I don’t want that life. But I envy lots things that I don’t really want in the end, and a literary life is one of them.

I had to return the book to the library before I finished it because it was overdue and someone had a hold on it. Another spurt of envy. Because doesn’t that mean that her diary is popular? And I long to be popular.

(next day)

My head is full of a case I’m taking to hearing this morning. I woke up at three thinking about it, all these plans for what to do if the evidence comes this way or that or some other way. And I was thinking back to my envy of the published life. How wrong. It’s a privilege to have your head full of anything. (So often my head is just busy and bored and full of nothing at all.) And I don’t have to worry about making money off my writing.

I still envy that woman for her summers off work and her writing studio. But my time off work never gets filled with writing anyway, and I doubt it would be any different in a chicken coop.