my teacher's teacher
When I write I am a drill. Into the dirt with a narrow sharp edge and don't stop til the end. The muses click through the images at the eye exam and the last one is so crystal I don't need glasses anymore. Which, for me, is saying something.
my writing mentor is 75 and everything that she says is balsamic reduction. "we're alchemists, we turn shit into gold." I found Nancy the summer after graduation. I lost my own grandmother 6 months later.
The universe does its doing.
The first time I took her workshop I was clawing-my-own-guts-out depressed.
I wrote, and it was good writing, beautiful even, but it was desperate. In it the words were caked with my mind's melting, the kind of dry heave, other-worldly ache that depression drives into your core, a total excavation of my vitality's carcass.
I am nothing without my writing. I am a bread without butter what's the point kind of hopelessness.
Depression takes the clarity first. Then it takes it altogether.
Nancy doesn't get the anti-depressants.
This is where I am my teacher's teacher.
I have been at this since my hand could hold a pen. This is my second-nature and my fish-in-water, my own belly-button and my mom's life-long commitment to alcohol swabs. I am a writer.
But not without these pills.
I tell Nancy in the car last night I would not be this writer without this medicine. "Really!?" she demands.
I promise, I say.
"Wow," she responds.
Yesterday I finish reading my latest piece in the workshop. Nancy claps her hands and screams THANK YOU for honoring your gift.
At the end of the workshop she says "before you can turn the shit into gold, you have to let yourself feel how it broke you."
Nancy taught me that you can write your way into wholeness, without red pen, five drafts, or the girl in college who told me my characters were manic-pixie dream girls. (there's a forever fuck-you here whenever you need it, babe).
We are meant to do what we are good at.
I can't honor this gift without this medicine.
I do not swallow these pills to numb. I do not use them to escape. I do not wish to hide or mask my pain.
I live for these words.
The medicine lets me live.
Honor your gift. You're an alchemist.