(why would Ms Jones be writing at five-minute intervals when she’s running late for a hot date and there’s an entire mess all over her kitchen floor ?).
It’s a drug.
I was 15 and trading notebooks with Mo every night. Wherever she left off, I picked up. The journal was, stay with me, in the future. And we were constantly calculating to find out whether the days you and I are sleeping through right now were going to be occurring on a Wednesday or a Saturday or–
The notebooks contained transcripts of conversations, with some parenthetical stage direction, that accompanied bogdonavich-style suitcase-switching capers. Abroad. Fountains included. And sex. It’s the sex part that got really good, and then was forever stained when I learned 15 years later that Mo was creating a fictive bed for the murderous actions of her father. A cypher I didn’t comprehend until way way…
…way too late. Beyond redemption: Late.
Mo and I could write during musical comedies, center orchestra, not exactly infuriating my mother, but placing ourselves so very very outside of the typical musical comedy audience reaction, that she had to admit she was disgusted. We just didn’t care. We had to find out what the next thing out of Sport’s mouth was going to be.
Mo and I could write all night. In class. In cars. Moving or still. At assemblies. In orchestra pits after losing my standing invitation to orchestra center. While testing. While eating. While sitting on infinitely long strips of white sand. While slamming guava juice and rum in front of her wicked smart, but not smart enough, mother who would grumble and grumble and grumble as she made red marks all over the writing of local college students.
How bad can it be, i wondered.
Pretty god damn bad, Mo said.
Should we read it?
Never did. All longhand all the time. No margins. Both sides. Smaller and smaller to conserve paper, then no line breaks, then the reduction of stage direction to punctuation only: ellipses, colons, the occasional underscore. Then a destruction of our architectural penmanship to defeat readers who picked up the stacks and thought they might give it a whirl.
Mo’s mom took all the writing, now weighing in like a bursting closet, and threw it in the garbage can by the garage. I think the thing that got me about it was that Mo didn’t fish it back out. I fished some, crying, but not all. Later we took to destroying it ourselves: fire. We also took to suicidal gestures: cutting. All of these things were preemptive strikes. We were preparing a bleak tundra for our approaching agressors.
I don’t like stepping into a club without a pen, even though I’ve given up being able to bring a notebook every time. Satisfied that people think I’m reviewing the show, I dip back into the alternate stream, the one therapists resist aligning too closely with digested reality. Why do they resist? I mean…
I know why *I* resist.
So I curse promoters that print on both sides of the paper, end up shredding a cocktail napkin with a scene right outside a prison somewhere, end up being thinner due to a habit, end up face down on the mattress, end up in the future remembering something that hasn’t taken place yet, end up writing while it’s all going on, while the notes get hit, while the date gets hot, while the clock ticks, while the baby, and this is drastic, gets thrown out with the bath water.
On my shoe, on my hand, on my thigh, on my sandwich wrapper, on my cup, I am writing between the lines of the writing while you are talking, while the lights go down, during the meeting, at the bar, in the line waiting to check in or check out, pay, for you to fall asleep, for the nausea to go away, for the night to end. Slideshows, movies, lectures, panels, and all travel.