done and finished
For the first time I am thinking a lot about product. I am at the end of my second year here in graduate school, and looking at starting a thesis. I am interested in all these pieces I have compiled and complicated my life with for the last two plus years. Some of these things have been with me for nearly seven. Other than here, in this space, I have never put anything out into the world, never to be mended again. I have never fixed my writing into a completed state and this comforts me I have discovered. Always unfinished means always improving. So then, what of years from now when I see the work and I cringe because of course it is not done, nothing is ever finished. My father tried to tell me the difference between those two words, done and finished, and clearly I never listened.
Recently I am spending a lot of time writing a collection of nonfiction essays. They sound much like how I sound here. They are so different than my fiction that I feel as if there are two, perhaps three, writers in me trying to climb out hand over foot, standing on the throat of one another to get nearest to the surface. As if the surface will provide something other, something more, something perhaps like a product of all this work.
In my nonfiction I talk a lot about things that would make my father uncomfortable if he read it, things like starving myself and things like sleeping around and being twenty in Los Angeles, and about his mother dying. I am in such a learning process that people have said recently to me, you are in the woods and cannot see the trees. I don’t understand the metaphor and it makes me tired and need badly for a drink when I hear it repeated in my circles here. I think the issue is I have no idea how I got into a goddamn forest in the first place and why exactly one would need to see the trees.
Maybe I am holding on too tight to all the pieces, and the act of letting them go, finished or done or undone or whatever. Maybe it will open a new space for the next me to write all of this all over again, and surely those pieces will be other and different and breach an entirely new surface we cannot see yet. I do not know if that is at all true.