This weekend, I’m helping my husband’s grandmother move into a yurt. I feel funny saying this word, like I’m helping her move into a plastic yogurt cup. The pictures on the website are lovely, though. Nothing to do with yaks, apparently. The whole trip is something of a surprise, since I was planning on grading a bunch of English papers this weekend. To be honest, I’m really not sure which one I’d rather be doing! But I will take my knitting and my notebook, and a camera– and will probably not have a chance to do any of those things, since I’ll also be taking my child. She is a full time activity, that one. Right now, as she is at school, I don’t really know what to do with myself. I mean, I do. I’ve got laundry to fold and a floor that won’t vacuum itself (Where’s that Roomba? And this is a kitten video, so you really should click on it.), a bunch of papers to grade, and some unpleasant finance-related phone calls to make. Also, I could go to the store and buy a bunch of bricks so I can build a raised bed and start growing winter vegetables before it is actually winter. But the mom part of me always thinks in her absence, “Wait. Somebody important is missing. Shouldn’t you be answering questions about fairies or kittens right about now?”
But, so, anyway, I will be visiting a yurt.
As for writing, I have been plugging away. Slowly. Granted, it is a difficult spot. With all my fearful little heart, I would like to chuck the whole thing in the trash bin and give up writing altogether. I would be so happy for thirty seconds! So free! And then on that thirty-first second I would be despondent. I have been escaping into a notebook since I was twelve, so it would be really silly to think that I would all of a sudden stop. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about audience, though. When I was little, I was my audience, and I knew that nobody else would ever read it. I actually finished things, but of course they were shorter things.
Who is my audience now? When I was in school, my audience was the teacher of the class I was writing for. Also, there was a friend in those writing classes, and every time I was putting the finishing touches on a story, I’d wonder what he would have to say about it. What questions would he ask? What would he make fun of? He never did make fun of me, really, but I would imagine the snarkiest version of him anyway.
Who is my audience now, though? Just me again. I really need to change that.
Today, I met a friend for coffee. Well, I had coffee and she had tea. She had tea at a place that roasts its own coffee, which I find funny but whatever. She is a badass who can drink tea all over town. And bake apple pies. And who thinks I am a badass because I use a wooden spoon instead of a mixer. She is confusing bad-ass with cheap-ass, but that’s okay with me, because it’s working in my favor.
While I was putting sugar in my coffee (What is that saying about how coffee can never be too dark, too sweet, or too strong?) a very familiar looking guy said he recognized me from a reading I’d given a few years ago. Whoa. A few years is right. I have to do actual math to remember how many years ago it was, because I’ve only given two readings in my life– one when I went into the program and one to get out. 2011 minus 6 (Iso’s age), minus. . . Wait. When did I graduate? See, already, the math is fuzzy. I was so shocked, I’m not entirely sure I said thank you. Sometimes when people (like me) are rude, it’s not because they are asses, but because they are kind of shocked that you are saying something nice to them.
And then I thought, “So, I once had an audience.”
Now the two ideas are dueling for prominence in my skull. The first idea is that I should not have been rude and clammed up. The second, about audience, is threatening to linger. And it feels like both thoughts are impossible to solve in any way. Oof. If I wasn’t such a chicken, I would find an audience. If some dude could remember me from X years ago, then certainly I could find myself an audience now.
When I finish something.
Two great tastes that taste great together: