Take a painting class, learn how to say ‘I’m a writer’ in Portuguese, stumble upon fencing or lean your way to gardening. Try your very best to do anything but write a poem. If all else fails, open a wattpad account and scream about it from the top of your roof. At first, you will be nervous about hitting publish. You will put down your drafts and pace the house for three days. You will chip away at your finger nails. You will turn off your phone and refuse to answer the door.
“What if the world doesn’t tremble?”
At eleven PM on a Saturday, you hit publish. Your reflection stares back at you on the screen, begging you to put the phone down. You insist that the world is asleep. At three AM, you make yourself a coffee. You open wattpad and one star glares back at you. At least you believe in yourself.
It’s seven thirty. Surely people must be home by now. Curious minds don’t snooze the alarm. Surely, by ten o’clock, someone will have read your poem. You sit, you pace. You answer your phone and the neighbor’s door too, if she wants. Anyone who can hear about your poem is welcome in your house.
It’s four thirty in the afternoon. You are your own champion. You walk across your living room to the corner of your house, your designated study area. The wall is throwing up books. Burgundy and brown are sprawled on the floor and you jump clumsily over them to your air mattress at the corner. You can’t afford a bed. You can’t afford a desk.
The room is suffocated with only one window but you insist small spaces make you work better anyway. You insist you love your job at the supermarket, stacking shelves and cleaning floors. You are a writer, after all.
The poem stares back at you on your laptop. It’s a poem about a tree with pink flowers that bursts in the sky like lava from a volcano. It’s a rare house of birds planted up by the mountain side. The cotton candy flowers play with each other in the sky, insisting that the wind is far too much of a play thing to be taken seriously.
You check wattpad at eight o’clock, and you drop your clothes to the floor and crawl into the bathtub. You try to sink, but you know how to swim. You only leave when the Goosebumps on your skin start to feel like pebbles.
You write another poem. You hit publish instantly.
You decided to take online writing classes to sharpen your talent. Experiment with limericks and dip you hand in the bowl of sonnets. Decide you like to travel. With your last savings, fly to a foreign country and fall in love with a foreign man. Tell him that you are a writer. Read him one of your poems.
Watch as he scrunches his face, brushes his hair and paints a minimal smile for you. Watch as he grabs his phone and excuses himself.
The tree did not die. Should you kill the tree up in the clouds? Should you kill the beauty?
You decide his intellectual capacities are weak. You can never be with such a man. 7 missed calls and no calls back? Never in your life.
In Spain, you take pottery classes. You like playing with mud. You like to get dirty. You like the idea of possibility. You think about possibility, and Emily Dickinson’s hand in it. It’s a great idea, this writing thing. You’ve always had a passion for it anyway.
You struggle to pot, to paint and fence, to garden and travel, to teach and shelf. You decide you were always a writer.
You open wattpad again with a different account.
You go on dates to find love, but really you’re just looking for something to write about. Josh was interesting but he said you should be a cook. You are not a cook. You are a poet. Ted asked you to travel with him to Namibia but something you read on the internet about Malaria scared you off. Spain is no good a place to become a poet. You phrase and cancel, punctuate and bleed. You move back home because that is where the love is. Your mother adores your poems and your father gives them an approving nod. You little brother is always ecstatic when you read them to him, even though he does not understand them.
You see a boy you’ve met before. He says he’d like to buy you dinner. He asks you what you do, you say you love to cook. You fall in love and get married. You hide you poems and delete you accounts. You have a baby named Emily and another named Walt. Your husband can afford private school. Your children have private music and literature classes. It’s a good life you are living.
You own a big garden and speak a little Portuguese. Your husband teaches you children fencing and Pablo Picasso hangs in your library. At parties, people ask you what you do and you say you’re an event organizer. You organize events like dinner and Friday movies. You organize the dishes and the books in you vast library. You organize them for your children and husband. Remember to mention you are a good cook. Do not leave anything out.
“I heard you used to write?” someone at a party asks you. You deny it. Where is the proof?
At home, you let you children fall asleep on the couch and let your husband disappear for the night. You throw yourself on your Egyptian cotton bed, grab you phone and open a wattpad account.