No Excuses

Every day I tell myself, today I will write.

I don’t ever write.

Every day I ask myself, what is it you want to say?

Nothing particular comes to mind.

I keep wondering, if I were to write a story, where would I start?

And how would it end?

And what in the world would fill the pages in between?

Until now, this dormancy was excusable. I had other fish to fry. Others’ lives to coddle. Others’ dreams to stoke. Life was full of busy moments, overscheduled and slightly chaotic, but mostly it had purpose. I was a student. And I was a girlfriend. I am no longer the former, and although still the latter the tables have turned just slightly. As quickly as the thesis was submitted and the anticlimactic ending of graduate school ensued, so too did unemployment. In the blink of an eye, the unstable half of our relationship was suddenly looking pretty damn secure, as I was thrust abruptly into the purposeless life of joblessness. No longer did I have a degree to earn or a supervisor to impress, a mentor to worship, an internship to complete. All of that was behind me. The life I knew just yesterday had vanished forever.

Now there were no excuses.

So with no real place to be we went to the only place we really knew. We carefully packed up the most precious pieces of our life and organized and stored the others. A friend moved in and we moved out and over the course of a shockingly quick twenty-four hours we wound our way south to Colorado.

Unlike every migration of our past, temporary move was strange for two reasons. First, because Colorado – always my mecca – has always been to my west. My internal compass was set accordingly – all good things lie to the west. The Rockies. The sun. The sunflowers. Not any more. Here we were on the winding roads and narrow lanes of east-bound interstates hauling our lives south and east, two directions that have never held much allure and yet we were going to our favorite place on earth. We were going home. Secondly, it was strange because for the first time ever I wasn’t totally convinced that Colorado would be better than where we already were, than Seattle. Now that was a sentiment utterly and completely new to me. Colorado had always been better….than everything. Not this time. This time we found ourselves nostalgic to leave something with which we had fallen so swiftly in love. For the first time since we had left Colorado four years before we had found a new rhythm and a new family that we were tempted to linger in forever. Finding that contentment anywhere other than the perma-blue skies of my adopted home state was entirely foreign to me. Lucky us. Two places to love.

Regardless, within just twenty-four hours of wrapping up all Seattle obligations we found ourselves driving through the night, through the Rockies, up the winding road and through the gate to our not-so-little lookout at the top of the world. And here, now, I have no excuses.

Six weeks of nothingness. Maybe more.

For the indefinite future I have nowhere that I need to be. Not a single person to report to. Not so much as an assignment to complete or an alarm to set or a deadline in sight. Quite the contrary, suddenly mine was a life of limitlessness. And it is invigorating and horrifying all at the same time.

And yet while I find myself accountable to no one whatsoever, I am just as suddenly acutely accountable to myself. I don’t have anywhere else to go, nothing to be distracted by, and a perfectly large table beside an even larger window, looking out at the winding slopes and enlivening sun of Colorado. Where better to write? Where better to try?

But what do I say?

Where do I start?

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