Months have passed again without my visiting this place. The world turns, and the world turns. I have been writing, just not here. I committed to journaling for a hundred consecutive days, so the words that normally spill into this place have been diverted there instead, like a river forking, carrying its water to the same sea, but travelling its light a different route. And the poems have been coming and coming. My body brimming with them, my bones humming with their bright particular music.
A week now, since I got the news that my first collection will be published in the Spring. I remember thinking, So this is what yes tastes like. As happy tears fell into my beer, as the pub spun. The weight of all that work, the years of words, the book, there and then gone - fallen out of its life with me, quiet and small, and out to live its own life in the bright wild world. Is this how a mother feels when her child is pulled out from that tucked place under her heart? There it is, after all that growing in the quiet - fully realised, and breathing. A part of the world now, free of your body, free of your blood.
I am flush with happiness. But there is also a part of me that is small and scared. How I want people to be tender with this soft thing I have made. How fearful I am of it failing, of my tiny fledgling falling, not flying. Which would mean I have failed, and fallen. That my words aren’t good enough (and my words are the best thing I have). I need to let go of that sense of dread, and be glad, only, that my words will exist in the world at all. That my mouth will not be their only home.
A confession: on Saturday, C and I went to the bookshop in the city. I found the place on the poetry shelf where my book will fit – after
Plath – and tested the way it will feel. To touch a finger to the shelf
and find my name. It felt like belonging. Like my life had both shrunk and
swelled to fit that slender space. The sweetest of beginnings, which is also
the sweetest of returns. The coming together of me, and home. Paterson
(title quote: from "Elegy", by Aracelis Girmay)