The Thin Place – Part II

pierce_ramshacklehouseWhat am I supposed to do with this place?

Oh, I could try to sell it. List it with a realtor, but I suspect I could go years without so much as a low-ball offer.

I give up. Let it rot!

I hate every warped, weathered board. Let it topple in on itself and sink into the earth where it stands. Let it turn to dust among the rubble of its foundation stones, never more to blot the view of the world beyond with its desperate neediness.

My god, it stinks! Mildew, rust, fungus, and rotting leaves turned black with their dissolution adding to the foul perfume of death!

[Well now, that was a pretty shade of purple prose now wasn’t it? My editor would roll her eyes clean out of her head over that sentence. Well, I get like that when I’m emotional.]

I suppose a little context is in order—Heh. You know, my editor is always on me about maintaining context. I have a tendency to drift away from the point. Drives her nuts! You see, I’m a writer. Well, that is, I’ve authored two indifferently received novels, along with several articles for various periodicals all of which were unremarked upon and un-syndicated.

I was in the midst of research for a third novel when Emily was diagnosed. I worked fitfully on it throughout her illness, not so much to make progress on it, but to distract myself. As the end drew near, I was completely at sea. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t string two sentences together at a time. When she died, I gave up on the project and returned the advance to the publisher. My agent assures me I can pick it up again when I’m ready, but I can read between the lines too: I’ve burned that bridge.

For the last six months I haven’t gone near my office. I can’t bear to sit in that chair or stare at that cursor sitting alone on a white screen, blinking at me like someone tapping an impatient finger demanding, “Well?”

As a matter of fact, this is the first time I’ve written anything since before the funeral. I don’t know what possessed me to pick up her journal and start writing. I guess I’m afraid that having lost all that mattered in life, I’m afraid that if I don’t put something down on paper, I’ll lose my voice too. I’ll simply crumble and vanish without a trace, just like this weedy, pile of a house.

Good grief! The light’s almost gone! Have I been here so long?

Funny that: in the old days—which I’ve just christened the time before Emily’s illness—I could really get in a groove when I was writing.

As soon as Em left for work, I’d clean up the breakfast dishes, pour myself a fresh mug of coffee, then saunter to my office still in my pj’s and bathrobe. Once I settled in to write, I wouldn’t look up again until I heard her car in the driveway. As soon as I heard the tires crunching on the gravel drive, the spell would be broken. I’d greet her at the door looking just like I did when she left, with a cup of ice-cold coffee and stupid grin on my stubbly face.

What days! What a feeling! There was a comfortable ache in my shoulders and a pleasant feeling of accomplishment. My head would feel light again, after having purged it of the myriad words and ideas that accumulated there since the day before demanding structure and expression. Ah, the perverse joys of writing!