#writeingrief Day 21
I remember what it used to be like to read a book. I could devour a book, a series. One book each day. I’m not a fast reader naturally, but with practice I became faster. I was a very focused reader, so I could just jump into my book and block out the world.
Reading is different now. I had to reread Looking for Alaska last year after Alaska died. I couldn’t read anything else. I tried, but I just couldn’t get through a book. It was work. My mind couldn’t focus on the words. I couldn’t jump into the world and disappear no matter how much I wanted to escape from my own reality. I read Alaska again thinking that maybe it would help me press the “reset” button as a reader. I don’t know. It sort of worked. Or at least I have read a few books since I finished my reread of Alaska. I’m not reset, though. There isn’t a magic button for going back to the reader that I once was. I haven’t devoured a book like I used to since Alaska died. If I have, I can’t remember the title. I have reread books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I have listened to audiobooks. Audiobooks are so much easier because I can be doing something--cooking or putting together a puzzle or walking or cleaning.
Reading isn’t what it used to be.
Writing now has similar obstacles. I was geared up to do nanowrimo this year. I had an idea that has been brewing for years. When day one rolled around, and I struggled through 500 words (500 really shitty, off topic words), I knew that it probably wasn’t going to happen. I even tried to just write whatever came out thinking that I could just nano 1667 words a day no matter what. I didn’t need to write the novel I had been planning; I could just write whatever I needed (perhaps a sort of writing reset). I didn’t do that, though. In the past few days I have come to see Write Your Grief as my nanowrimo for this year. I think I need to write this before I can write anything else. I can’t force a novel that doesn’t want to be written yet. And, honestly, my novel is probably not a novel anymore. It’s a memoir. Not the memoir that I have been writing for years, but a new story. This story of my grief and life with grief. Life in this land of baby loss. Fuck I would love for it to be a different story. Some stupid bullshit struggle that I would have had. Or some novel that was a decent idea that I may or may not have gotten around to writing.
I remember when I could turn away from the pain of the world just enough to get lost in a book or a story that I created. I remember when I could write without stopping. I remember when... None of that matters now. Not really. It’s just the past and the Can’t Have. Now I breathe even though it hurts and smile even though my face muscles don’t really remember how. And it’s not the genuine smiling that is awkward. It’s the smiling out of politeness that feels like a betrayal of my face.