Writing this at forty-nine minutes after midnight on a Tuesday morning when what I really should be doing is a) assigned readings for my Psych class; b) writing a paper for said Psych class; and c) working on my work-in-progress, tentatively called Untitled Sci-fi Masterpiece #2. Great title, I know—just haven’t found a greater title yet. Don’t feel like thinking about the first two on that list, so instead I’ll just ramble on about that work-in-progress a little bit. Right now it’s about 17,000 words and I’m only at the beginning, or maybe the end of the beginning, of the outline. Things go well and I don’t become sick or otherwise stop writing and it’ll be novel length. If that happened, it would be the first time I produced a story over the thirty-thousand mark. I think maybe that would be cool, and by cool I mean really awesome and amazing fantastic.
Been writing a lot these days. Nothing much else to do, really. WF doesn’t talk to me anymore. I feel like I’m off-limits, on quarantine, like I’m occupying a no-fly zone, and all of that hurts sometimes when I stop and think about it for a moment. And I guess it hurts also because I feel like a villain in all of this. We were both part of a community of writers, and although she was a relatively new member she had already made quite an impression. Many of the writers there respected her for her obvious talents, and because she was smart, too. People, myself included, sought her opinion, wanted to know her thoughts about various subjects. And toward the beginning of April she had become tangled in a conversation with yours truly, which in hindsight appears to be the beginning of the end, and surprise surprise, two weeks later she was gone, needing a break, on what she called ‘a hiatus’. And I don’t really care what she says about me playing only a small role in that. Fact is, she had workshopped an excerpt of her novel only five days before deciding to pull away, and I don’t believe she posted knowing she’d soon be taking an extended absence. Just doesn’t make sense.
So it’s been about three weeks since she officially left, and in that time I’ve been feeling a little unmoored, cut loose. Just floating around in a limbo of a friendship that probably never was a friendship in the first place. Really wanting to just forget about her and the whole thing but finding it difficult to do so. Would like to be Joel from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind right about now, sitting in a cramped lobby with a trash bag full of memories. Except it wasn’t ever that personal—I barely knew her, or knew only an idealized version of her. Or maybe I’m downplaying things here and knew her quite well, at least on matters mutually important (writing). And although she has recently returned, albeit in a very limited way, everything is different. Her comments are somewhat brief, curt. The last piece I wrote here, entitled My heroin my hatred, I posted there, and maybe this isn’t surprising, but she didn’t comment on it at all. She just Liked it, you know, with the Like button, and I viewed that more as a gesture letting me know she is still there, still reading. Not necessarily that she enjoyed or even cared about the piece itself, but that she had not left. But it’s all so different than how it used to be. We were each other’s biggest supporters, commenting on every single thing posted. And now there’s this kind of passive-aggressive … silence. And I still can’t help feeling like a villain, and for what I don’t even know—for being forward enough to tell her I thought she was a cool person and that I liked her.
Big fucking deal.
But I regret saying anything in the first place. Wish instead that I’d hidden my feelings away, played it calm, cool, and smart, explained my motives in some sort of friendly, detached way. Because then at least the illusion of a friendship would still exist, and I’m okay with illusions. I don’t mind the lies I sometimes tell myself.
In an email I told her I wouldn’t try contacting her anymore. This was after everything had already gone to shit. I meant what I said, too—the truth is I probably won’t ever try again. That is kind of the person I am. I don’t want to feel like some loser-stalker, some creep, and certainly don’t enjoy feeling like the bad guy when all I’ve done is been supportive. I’ve had bad days from time to time, of course—pretty obvious from some of these other entries the kind of issues I have. And I’m sure that is not ever fun to deal with, especially when he’s dumping all of his emotional baggage at your front door. I’m sure after a while she just wanted me to take everything and go away. And that’s what I meant by tangled up there. How do you tell someone you’re not interested in talking anymore, to buzz off and go away, without hurting that other person’s feelings? There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer for these things.
But up there I also said I probably wouldn’t ever contact her again, and I say probably because I can see a day somewhere down the line when she workshops another piece, and I imagine I’ll be a sucker and send her another six page, 3,000 word critique—just maybe not via jpeg this time, and sans the Starbucks coffee stain. Because I’m a nice guy. Because I believe she is an extremely gifted writer, and the novel she’s working on has tremendous potential.
But sometimes I look back at how much I have helped and supported her work and I am mad at myself for being so generous, so pro bono with the hours of my day. She’s said over and over how great the help is and whatever, but … I dunno, it’s like repeatedly hitting the same note on the piano—after a while it becomes part of the background, hard to even hear.