My Mental Milkcrate

Once upon a time, there was a woman who had a blog...

Where do you keep your muses?

Thirty-seven years old, happily married, mother of two. And still holding one imaginary lover.

The first one is the best. Cherished and remolded over the years; pressed through playdoh; sketched stickfigure-esque again and again, never quite the same, but always mine imperfect.

Once upon a time, we told stories about love, abstract and cerebral, coded in longing—crack me, hear me, believe me, stay stay stay—unbidden forbidden wordplay flirtation.

His skin is walking around somewhere without me, unregrettably. I keep the part of his soul I created, and let it sweep my hair back in any breeze.

Men with(out) Restraint

All my life, my consent has remained. Fully within my body. Yes, boundaries bent in non-verbal wanderings. But respected inside the please-do-please-don’t tension of sexual exploration. These men (these boys!) with mossy, growly laughs catching on vocal folds resentful of release. I cavorted unviolated, as if the murky entitlement of masculinity could not catch me.

This should be my right. Instead of misplaced gratitude to former lovers. Accept my acrid thanks for preserving my faith in you.

Am I so rare? Fear instilled statistically. 1 in 4, 1 in 4 women. But how many men perpetuate this caution? 0 for 10, these men of mine, too small a sample to extrapolate. Did they—in obscure corners, with other women—remove restraint and break into bodies half-closed and uncertain?

Survey, please: would you, given time/opportunity/immunity, make her take it all?

Tipping Point

If this isolation has any purpose, perhaps it is to force these hands to transcribe something. Anything. Unconnected or unrelated, but present. A frenzy of phrases tumbling around my feet. Come to order. I’ll pen them in.

The Purpose of a Piece

I’ve been working on a piece of writing off and on for three years. At first it was just a collection of scenes, saved in separate files. Memory flashes, really, with no framework. Then I started assembling the scenes and discovered I’d written 15,000 words without any connective tissue. Once the framework and support material was worked in, the word count was sitting a little over 30,000 words, and I still had more story to tell. So at this point, I’m going for broke to see if I can manage the final 20,000 words to push it into short novel territory.

I’ve had some good support along the way. One of my friends has offered some much needed suggestions and, just by reading the work, helped me keep focus. But one of the things that happens when you bring in other people is that the subject of publication comes up. I’ve had to spend a lot of time defending my decision not to attempt broad publication.

The biggest reason is personal. I’m telling a story that is not wholly mine. I was part of it, but I have borrowed the clothes of someone I loved years ago and I don’t have his permission to revive our story in this way. If I were still in contact with him, the story could not have happened, and the story is a really terrible reason to get in touch with him again (though thanks to the internet, he was embarrassingly easy to track down). I’m not sure the way I cannibalized our relationship would stand up to his scrutiny. A few people have suggested I publish under a pseudonym, but that avenue seems passive aggressive.

However, I have some professional reasons for not wanting to seek publication. It’s simply not worth publishing. I say that being intensely proud of my story. I love what I have written. I am happy to have written it and I am excited to see it to completion. But it would need a professional editor before it went to a literary agent before before before… I’m not willing to pay for that whole process for this work, and I’m possibly too close to the material to allow professionals to do the work I would pay them for.

This story is catharsis and proof of concept. I have no interest in airing my personal therapy session to the public (it will be available privately once it’s done). But now I am confident in both my method for writing a long-form story and my ability to churn out a large number of words. Which I hope will some day lead me to write something worth the agonizing process of getting published.

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