Tonight in class we’re discussing one of my favorite writers, Stuart Dybek.
Like many things, I owe Danielle thanks for introducing me to his work. She took me to a reading while we were working at NU together, and that’s where I picked up Coast of Chicago. This collection of short stories quickly made my list of favorite books. I still think of Pet Milk occasionally while riding the El.
The way he’s captured Chicago—the neighborhoods, the people—I’ve romanticized it all. Between the music and the silence in Chopin in Winter. The simplicity of Lights. The raw, yet still strangely beautiful story of Hot Ice. After reading and re-reading Coat of Chicago for three years now, I’ve finally picked up another one of his books, I Sailed with Magellan. His writing is gritty yet so beautiful.
This is the writing I want to be doing. But I’ve definitely hit that gap. You know which gap—the one Ira Glass spoke about. That gap. And I’ve hit this gap so many times before. It’s the point trying to write is almost like asking me to slice open my veins and bleed everything that I am out into words. I hate how terribly cliche that sounds. I freeze up. Become afraid of my limits. I hide in my hole and think maybe if I keep this hidden, keep this thing that I’ve put so much of myself into away from the public, maybe everything will be okay again.
I’m afraid of the things I hold closest to me. Afraid of failure. Afraid of abandonment. I see this in my passions as well as my relationships. I don’t always know a way around it, if there even is one. I just have to push on, keep going. Enjoy the good times and not give up. I have to accept that some days I will be that crazy girl, some days I’ll stare at my notebook for hours, some days I’ll have shitty writing. If I keep going, maybe one of these days I’ll stop writing this same post again and again.