The persona a writer [or a musician, poet, playwright] projects on the page isn’t the one who makes phone calls, waits tables, sings in the shower and the car, and studies some Saturday nights. She’s not the one who comes when you call, cries when you hurt her, or laughs at your joke that isn’t funny – that just isn’t her at all.
When I forget that the girl who is me on the page isn’t all of me and is more than me at the same time, I slip into vulnerability. Sometimes she’s exactly who I want to be, or who I was years-months-weeks ago. Or yesterday. She’s strong when I break down, and calm when I lose my mind. At times, she wants what I want, but it never works out for one of us.
Phrases swam in my head while I filled in crossword boxes on the train tonight, long alliterations like 7down and two short staccato thrusts like 1 and 14across. But I couldn’t put them together into prose or even finish the crossword. My pen stuck to the page because I thought for a moment that she was me, and all of me on the page is too much to share.
She hasn’t woken up on the couch in that home in East Grand Rapids, or danced with Morgan in the Maple Ridge when it was the Arctic Inn. She can only do what I make her. And I can’t make her do those things just yet. You see, she’s only ever been to Michigan City in a rough draft and she’s never been –
Some things are yet too deep. She can’t go there without me, and I’m not taking her today. Just so you know that we’re not the same.