There are friendships like circuses, waterfalls, libraries.
— Vladimir Nabokov
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy.
Remember her hair in the morning before it was pinned, black, rampant, savage with loveliness. As if she slept in perpetual storm.
— Cormac Mccarthy, Suttree
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
People who are harder to love pose a challenge, and the challenge makes them easier to love. You’re driven to love them. People who want their love easy don’t really want love.
I want you to stop making me sick.
I want you to go away and not stay away.
Could you bring me razor blades when you come back?
and a sandwich of begonias and glass?
On a balmy summer day when you feel young and fresh and slender. Partly because you make me feel higher than any drug possibly could, partly because you make me feel like I’m worth loving, partly because you can make me feel warmer than the sun. It’s hard to believe when I’m with you that I could feel this childlike and safe. A giant sense of relief is lifted off my shoulders because I now know that I never have to spend another night wondering if anyone could ever adore me on a cold winter day when I have a puffy face and stomach and my scalp is itchy and my mouth tastes like blue cheese and my jeans no longer fit and I start to look less like the person you first met and fell in love with. I don’t have to get my eyebrows waxed or buy the right skin creams or go to the gym after work and buy jeans that make my ass look good. I don’t need to trick anyone anymore.
When a relationship starts with, “This isn’t going to be a thing, right?” and then progresses to, “I just don’t see myself being with one person forever,” as ours did, it doesn’t really matter how long you are together. You never really feel stable. There were wonderful, dizzy times when we were perfectly coordinated, and there were others where I felt adrift on my own like a synchronized swimmer who never learned the routine.
I want you to miss me. I want you to recognize me in your morning cereal and the voice of your favorite singer. I want you to wonder where I am when your fingers are stretched beneath your waistband, when you’re lighting up, when you’re tripping up the uneven step on your basement stairs. I want you to think of me when you look into your teacup and your rearview mirror. I want you.
You are terrifying and strange and beautiful. Something not everyone knows how to love.
Those doing soul work, who want the searing truth more than solace or applause, know each other right away. Those who want something else turn and take a seat in another room. Soul-makers find each other’s company.
I still catch myself feeling blue about things that don’t matter anymore.