A Mid-month Check-in/The Letter

Friends.

Things aren’t going well.

I never set a target word count for April, instead intending to get a workable draft for a collection of short stories and poems, which on the surface seems like a much more forgiving goal. It’s not. Word count would have been so much easier; I wouldn’t be sitting here side-eyeing at every finished and unfinished piece wondering where I could find a campfire to chuck my laptop into.

Not including blog entries like “Bringing Unsexy Back,” (though technically that could fit my project specs), here’s a rough breakdown of what I’ve accomplished (or not) this month:

  • Words written: 7,846
  • Number of separate pieces: 23
  • Number of pieces I barely remember writing: 3
  • Number of those pieces I barely understood upon rereading: 1
  • Number of times sloppy handwriting made “cool” look like “cod”: 3
  • Number of times I shouldn’t have been using “cool” as an adjective: 3
  • Number of times cigarettes/beer/liquor are mentioned: 25
  • Pieces about men:  9
  • Pieces about women: 5
  • Pieces not specifically about either: 9
  • Seasons of TV shows binged while trying to write: 4
  • Number of times I listened to Saturnalia: 7
  • Number of times I listened to Abattoir Blues: 5
  • Number of times I listened to Grinderman: 6
  • Number of times I looked for something different and returned to one of the above: 1,763
  • Pleas to social media for new music: 3
  • Short stories read in hopes of inspiration striking: 15
All-work-and-no-play

the best first draft in the history of drafts

But here’s a draft of a short piece called “The Letter,” as proof I’m actually doing something. Incidentally it doesn’t reference cigarettes, beer, or liquor, nor was it written with any of the above referenced albums or TV series as a soundtrack.

The Letter

I prefer to think my persistence simply paid off—better than thinking it was an act of desperation, or a lack of better options. It can’t be that. Options were ample and good; I had my choice of strangers to share a bed with—if I’m honest with myself I’ve always got options—but I ended the night in yours.

You seemed surprised by the attention.  How could a man like you be unaware of his charm? Don’t you realize you’re pretty? You haven’t seen your lips with my eyes, haven’t heard the timbre of your voice with my ears. You don’t know the touch of your hands.

You said I could stay, but I’m not the kind of person to overnight for convenience. ‘You can stay,’ isn’t ‘I want you to stay,’ and I’m vain enough to care about the difference. I feel like you can appreciate that. It’s nice to feel wanted, isn’t it? I wanted you, and I’ve always been plain about that. There were times I could’ve been more forward. “Are your tattoos someplace you can show? If they’re not, can I find them with my mouth?” But by the time I debated the moment had passed.

You’re daunting, so certain in the things you know and so proud of the clarity of your opinions. It makes you funny. It makes you harsh. The combination leaves others eager to impress and terrified to disappoint. I listened more than I spoke, not because I couldn’t contribute but because I like the sound of your voice. I like the look you get when you’re enthusiastic. I like you. You’re interesting, full of stories and skills I know little about. You’re perplexing. Your temperament throws me off balance in a way few ever could. I don’t know where I stand with you, or if I’ve ever crossed your mind enough to hold a place.

The part of me that’s soft with human vulnerability hopes you enjoyed yourself, is desperate to please. My arrogant side is eager to satisfy, liked you momentarily more when you said you wanted to fuck me. The selfish majority is just happy I got what I wanted. I almost left without a word in the morning, preferring rudeness to the awkward remorse of overstaying.

Maybe I didn’t do it that morning but I’m beginning to feel I’ve overstayed now. I’d believe anything. That you’re too shy or nerdy to reach out to me. That you’re terse because you’re tired of hearing from me, but you’re too polite to say. That you just don’t know what to say when we aren’t face to face.

I’ll lead by example, say what I mean. Nothing’s changed. Like always, I just want to banter about mutual interests, and fuck you.

Thanks for hanging out, everyone! I’d love to hear your feedback, or commiseration, or any good jokes you may have heard this week.

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