The days of not writing spill over one into the next - it's too early, it's too late, I'm too busy, I'm too tired - but if I had to say what's really been tripping me up... it's that I'm starting to discover a place for me in the world.
I am, by nature, something of a loner; and that's especially conducive to writing, given that it's such a solitary activity. Like many loner writers, I found a place for myself in the big city... any number of them, really... where I could be in a crowd of people, and still, in many ways, be quite alone.
When I actually made the leap into writing as a more full time gig, I knew that I could easily cut myself off from the world, and I worked to fight it. And when economic circumstance pushed me into working at Starbucks, I felt that, too, would ease my sense of isolation, force me, in some way, to remain incontect with the public.
All of which has worked out in ways I never quite expected. Life and economic realities led me away from Boston, back to New York, out here in Westchester. And where I used to disdain suburban life for so many reasons (13 years in Manhattan means the Manhattanite will never fully leave you), the necessity of living in it and with it has made me find virtues as well as flaws.
Westchester is, more than many suburban counties, a collection of small towns; yes there's Yonkers and New Rochelle (and, I suppose, White Plains), but the combination of a great deal of wealth and zoning that favors limmited development means many parts of the county are collections of homes surrounding small town centers, and I do mean small. It's amazing how often the words "cute little gift shop" can pass one's lips.
I looked around this week, with all its stresses, and realized that, for better or worse (and mostly better), I have put down roots. I find this odd. I don't quite know how it happened, but there it is. I have become entwined with a network of fellow Starbuckians; I have begun to know my neighbors; I have become more involved in the lives of my customers.
(This, by the way, is something we are supposed to do: Starbucks believes that "customer connections" are key to the business, and we make it a point to get to know you and your habits. When you tell your friend, cheerfully, "I'm so amazed they know me and they always have my drink ready", it means we're doing it right... that's what we were trained to do.)
And so I know Nancy and David and their rambunctious boys; I know Stacey and Stu and Lesleigh and Mark and Scott and Jerry and Wayne and so many more. I am, for the first time in years, participating in a local community theater production, and I will be onstage in Annie in just a few weeks. All because Chris, the nice lady in my store who appeared on Broadway in the show, told me they needed more men.
As I stood on the bare stage this past Monday, I felt more alive and more at home than I have in ages. Rehearsals are only just starting, but it's been an invigorating, challenging, joyful process and doing this, I realize, is feeding my soul... as one of my coworkers said this morning. It's weird - having roots, feeding my soul... watching the flowers grow. I could learn to like it here. In a place. And maybe I can write from this place as well as the loner place. We'll just have to see how that goes... won't we.