Madly, as if my skin will slough off. As if there is a timer full of sand in my body, as if there is a boundary I'm about to smash against like a glass bottle, as if I'm dying of thirst and writing is water. Diamond-clear and streaming.
I don't always feel this way.
In fact, I almost NEVER do.
This is happening, furiously, I think, because it's winter break, it's winter break, there's this freedom (and urgency) in knowing I don't have to touch the real world I live in - the world of alarms and emails and planning, grading, vexing so hard my face breaks out - so I'm reading and writing like I'm starving. I feel untethered and focused and lucid. I feel happy. I feel like I need to do this as much as I can until I can't. Is this what running feels like? Running downhill? Furious and fast as a landslide? Does this feeling sound familiar to anyone?
Usually, I'm guilty. I'm not reading enough. I'm reading too slowly. I'm not writing because I'm tired, and there's laundry to do, and it's time to microwave leftover chicken. I'm not writing, usually, because I'm drained, I'm crying or wanting to, I'm taking melatonin that dissolves into strawberry blossoms on my tongue, I'm stress-dreaming, I'm creaking awake before the sunrise, I'm not as on-point as I want to be. Usually. Why is this my usual life?
I don't know how other writers make peace with the moving components of their lives. I feel turtlish compared to them. I like quiet. I like to read a story and hold it over my heart a few days before moving on. I really loved Brandon Taylor's essay on the short story economy, and how to actually digest them. I'm devouring Carmen Machado's Her Body And Other Parties this week - like 2 stories a day (there are 8), and I'm learning a lot. I think, in part, because there's less traffic in my head.
There's much more quiet.
There's so much less stress I feel strange in my body.