What it takes


October 1, 1980


ďThirty days hath September,Ē and then October begins, wearing the dusty clothing of autumn and the frayed edges of winter on its sleeves.

Soon the chill will come and Iíll be forced to turn up the heat, and the wind will blow through the alley in its typical winter gale.

Soon it will be time to huddle up and forget the outdoors again, forget the sweating swaying trees that come with the spring, as last through the summer, and expire in the fall.

Even as I shudder at the threat of cold, I ache for the holidays, somehow still enamored with the thrill I got as a kid around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In some ways, these things have more meaning now than they did back then, with old ties that I cling to and old friends I need to keep at my side and how my two closest friend, Pauly and Hank, will continue old rituals we established long after family traditions failed as I weave through the tangled mess of love and all its frailties again.

Weíve spent so many holidays together I can almost predict the events before they happen, like snap shots from past get-togethers projected onto the upcoming ones.

Colorado University has officially accepted my girlfriend and if things remain as they are now, Iíll likely be joining her there, just as joined Louise near there a decade ago, one more repetition, and a sense of fate that holds my life in the palms of its hands, and makes me realize how little choice I really have, and makes me ache already for my friends that I will have to give up in order to make this trip possible.

I will miss them and the rituals, knowing that they will gather as they did when Louise and I wandered the west, and they will think of me as they did then, making it so that I am with them in spirit if not in the flesh.

The place we celebrate changes, but it is a place in time that we preserve. It is the thing that holds us together, and strangely, the things we want for Christmas, are things we will find in the past, not the present or future Ė a scary concept that even scares me.

Yet, it is October 1 and I sit here with a thousand things to do with none of them getting done. There is always something else to do. But the thing is, all I want to do is write, and writing takes time. Often, it takes away from other things I also consider important, even takes time away from my being with Pauly and Hank, and yes, my girlfriend.

They are all part of my life and I neglect them, but Iím trapped in this, and struggle to find a way out. This thing I love most isolates me from those I care about most, even my family.

Yesterday, Dr. Hauser (one of my literature professors) told me that I will make it as a writer, and while I have huge gaps in my education, my writing is incredibly powerful, and all the other problems can be worked out.

Yet I know very well my writing isnít what it ought to be, and that there is a terribly long way to go before I can attain anything remotely resembling greatness.

This idea of greatness is more than a little funny since so many things in this world are called great without justification. I hope Iím not one of them.







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