I write at a desk two gay men helped me pull from a dumpster and load in my truck. The legs are bruised, and its paint’s coming off.
I write in a chair my best friend gave me. Right where my thighs rub, the fabric’s torn and the cushion sticks out.
Stephen King suggested it, so I write in a corner facing a wall.
I also write with music on.
Best of all, I write in my bedroom surrounded by books. Meaning I write inhaling the sweat off the cadence of other writers: blood, tears, and come never hurts either. Sylvia Plath, Marguerite Duras, Lidia Yuknavitch. They took me there, so I write from the edge, sure. Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman. It’s more like a little unraveling. Come back down to Earth.
I write from a trailer I bought from the son of a woman who now lives in a nursing home.
I write from a trailer park.
I write from a desert surrounded by mountains. Republican country, a blue state.
I write far away from anyone who cares about my MFA.
Writing doesn’t make ends meet, but selling insurance does. I did that six years, and then five months after I bought the trailer, my former boss laid me off.
Virginia Woolf said a woman needs money and a room of her own to write. Now I’m an adjunct college professor. I write without health insurance or any financial security at all. I write while my son plays his Xbox. Writing as a single mother is selfish. My son plays his Xbox too much.
I can write walking the dogs, cleaning the catbox, doing laundry, doing dishes, doing yard work, vacuuming and sweeping, cleaning the refrigerator, cleaning the stove, cooking dinner, making breakfast, taking a shower, falling asleep, waking up. Sort of.
When you write in your head, you lose stuff.
In graduate school, a male mentor told me single mothers never finish books. I didn’t want an abortion. My son is the best thing to happen to me. Three books like stillborn births near my feet.
Where did the time go? Portrait of A Female Artist In Middle Age. I write from a place that doesn’t feel sexy, admirable, or brave. Still, my father tries to convince me I could write a bestselling novel and become rich and famous one day.
“No, I won’t,” I tell him.
“Why do you do it then?” He wants the answer like everyone else.
“Love,” I say. After all, when was there time for a social life? Writing is my boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife.
So here’s where I write. If I live into my nineties or suffer a stroke like my grandmother, my son will have to put me into a nursing home. But if I’m still writing, I won’t die alone.