memories / revising / writing

I Am That Girl

I’m close to finishing this revision, but so much of what I’m doing is tied up with worries of what will happen to this book, what people will say or think, or not say or not think, and I wish I could get rid of all that. Go back to a time before, when I didn’t think about it because I couldn’t fathom being published and I didn’t care.

A long time ago, writing was all mine.

I am in the apartment alone for the next couple days writing in a makeshift encampment in the living room. My eyes alighted on a book I’ve had since high school. There are my doodles on the front cover.

This book was a gift from my friend Maggie—I’d forgotten, but she’d written an inscription to me on the inside—a friend I met at my first-ever writing workshop, Simon’s Rock.

The book opened to this dog-eared page:

A woman who writes feels too much,
those trances and portents!
As if cycles and children and islands
weren’t enough; as if mourners and gossips
and vegetables were never enough.
She thinks she can warn the stars.
A writer is essentially a spy.
Dear love, I am that girl.

—from “The Black Art” by Anne Sexton, my favorite poet when I was 16 years old
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