I‘m wearing pajamas all day long. A pair of flowy, navy blue cotton pants with white owls wearing pink glasses, sitting on branches together, little blue and pink hearts in the background. The best part about these pants, aside from their comfort, is the white lace trim around the waistband. It really ups the cuteness factor. On top a simple sky blue, slightly cropped t-shirt, just a little bit of belly skin peeking out. Completely wrinkled, which might bother me on a different day, but not today. Bra is purple, meant for sports, and it will be discarded as soon as I’m done with my laundry. Maybe I’ll do some sit-ups later, but probably not.
I work with a woman who comes in and greets you with, “So what’s on the docket?” On the docket is a whole lot of relaxation, my friend, a day filled with comfortable things and comfortable thoughts. First up is a warm cup of coffee, seasoned with dark chocolate almond milk and a few sprinkles of cinnamon. I may have a second for the warmth. This entire week it’s been rainy and cold, a far cry from the heat Sarah and I endured last week while camping in the Shawnee National Forest. I sweat more in those two days than I have in my entire life, and the taste of stars outside the city left me hungry for more, sad to come back to the dreariness of early fall. This may sound dramatic, but it feels like the sun will never shine again.
The weather’s got me a bit stir-crazy. I feel happiest when I’m outside, and although summer is my favorite season, I’ll take the bug-free hikes fall has to offer. On top of the weather I dealt with some back pain, likely caused by lugging a cheap backpack around on our fifteen mile hike last Saturday. We pushed past branches and spiderwebs, walked up and down trails made of uneven rocks, placed our feet in the same spots as the horses and traversed green-speckled gray rocks. My blue and pink Nikes got their first hole, a little one on the side of the sole, and I know getting rid of these shoes is going to be painful. They’ve been everywhere, man. Not as many places as Johnny Cash has been, but enough places to wear them down. This summer they walked up the Virgin River in Zion National Park, trekked through sand on Colorado’s Rabbit Valley Trail Through Time, and weaved in and out of iron-rich rock formations at Bryce Canyon. They’ve been local, too, marched through the mud in Palos Heights’ Swallow Cliff Woods, on nicely paved suburban sidewalks and atop a treadmill at the rock climbing gym. I love you, shoes. Thank you.
I’m writing today because I haven’t been. It takes its toll. When you feel like you’re meant to do something in life, and you just keep on putting it off over and over for no good reason, you start to feel like real shit about yourself. That’s been weighing heavily on my mind this week, too. I’ve felt crippled, unable to write while one of my short stories hangs in limbo, a perpetual “In Progress” next to its title on Submittable. It’s been nearly two months. I labored over that story for hours and hours, read it at least twenty times, and even though as a writer you’re never one hundred percent pleased with your work, I felt pretty good about this story. It’s about an old woman from Maine who decides to leave the state for the first time with the ashes of her sister and brother-in-law, a cross-country drive to Death Valley. I wrote it before our trip to Utah and found that actually experiencing the desert helped me fine tune the story. Imagine that.
This is only my third submission as a twenty-seven year old writer with three drawers full of stories. So far I’m one for two, my first publication in a small journal on the Fourth of July for a personal essay about cleaning a toilet at work. I jumped the gun on my first submission. It was horrible. I read what I sent and couldn’t believe what I’d done. The most god-awful spelling and grammatical errors, things people who know me would tell you I never do. This was after almost twelve hours of fine tuning, my eyes crossing by the end of it. I got halfway through the story, read past seven stupid mistakes before I stopped reading. A real shame, since the story itself isn’t half bad.
Sadly, I looked at the story I sent out recently and realized that the formatting got fucked up in translation. Grammar’s good, spelling’s good, but the format got all janked up somehow, even though I spent almost as much time making sure that was perfect as I did on the actual story. Such is life, though. Maybe they’ll overlook it and like it anyway. Or maybe they’ll look at it and shake their editorial heads in shame. Get your shit together, lady. This is unacceptable, imperfect. Who do you think you are?
So I’m writing this blog today because I have to write something. I’m telling myself repeatedly that not every single thing I write has to be a god-damned masterpiece. This is practice. This is keeping the juices flowing so they don’t dry up completely. I mean, I will give myself credit for journaling, which I do almost daily, but there is something a little different about the words I keep to myself. This is pretty much what it sounds like, and I can’t put my finger on what’s different about it, but it’s just not the same.
I’m making butternut squash soup for dinner. I’m going to put all my laundry away when it’s done. I’m on my second cup of coffee. There’s a hole in my shoe and it feels like the rain will never stop. On the docket is relaxation. Comfortable things and comfortable thoughts. I might open one of my three word-filled drawers and pick something out at random, something I don’t even remember writing. One thing is for sure. I’m wearing pajamas all day long.