Orange civility

Sometimes when I read books by people like Michael Perry or Shauna Niequist or Anne Lamott (thanks, book club) I find myself filled with a jealous civility about the work.

orangesI like the work. But deep down, I am as much of an orange as Claudio in my wrong belief.

My belief is this — given the right opportunity, I could write poignant essays about the world that would make people like me laugh and cry all over the space of a lunch hour. I could fund the profound truths about being neighborly and living in small towns and cooking and nature and all of it.

I am resolute in my jealousy and ignore the facts that I am generally not a good neighbor, do not live in a small town and find nature as an allergy attack waiting to happen.

This ugliness has cropped up again because I’m still floundering on getting back into the writing groove. I’ve dabbled in some pages, but I’m not sure about them.

I harbor this resentment because I want to be these writers. They all this time (or so I think) to pour their hearts out at the keyboard, so draft and redraft until it hits the perfect pitch.

My brain tells me this is ridiculous. These people are parents and teachers and spouses and writers; I know this because they write about those things. Whatever glorious life it is I think they are living in my head, I’m sure it’s not. Maybe they have days where they get to live the writing life I dream of (full-time, with the never ending pot of good coffee nearby). But I bet they have more days where the kids are sick or the chickens need tending or the caring for other people interrupts in necessary ways and the writing gets put away for them too. Again.

And then there’s the fact that I’m not really an essayist. Fiction is my medium and a blog post is as close as I can get to an essay.


I’ll get through book club, probably coming away with more of this emotion for another few days.

The good thing I’ve found is that given time — hours, days — when I look back on having read these books what I remember most is how much I enjoyed them.



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