I could say that I haven’t been writing because I’ve been busy unpacking and settling in, but it wouldn’t be the truth. Or it would be, at best, a half-truth.
The unpacking part is certainly true. As of yesterday, all the books are out of their boxes. The clothes are hanging in closets or folded onto shelves. The living room is no longer awash in packing paper and bubble wrap. Two boxes of clothes and bedding and towels are waiting in the entry for me to find the appropriate charity to donate them to. The dining table is completely filled with artifacts, small things of varying vintages that are—or were—precious to me and are waiting to have their fates decided. All that is true, yes, and all that has taken a lot of time and energy. But not so much that I couldn’t have written had not something been standing in the way.
I’m not even sure I can articulate what that something is. I guess if I could I’d be writing about it. It has something to do with displacement and untangling history so I can fully find myself in the present. It has to do with starting a new life in a new city and wondering how on earth I got here. Not the driving part. I cherish those five days. I felt freer, alone in my car with my Christmas cactuses and my computer and little else, than before or since. Sometimes I just want to load up again and head out to nowhere in particular.
There is nothing dramatic or exciting about the slow slog of putting together a new life. Friends take time to make, and first you have to find them, you have to figure out places where they might be hiding. A gym. Volunteering. Cold-calling friends of friends, something that is as daunting as cold-calling in any other context.
I spoke with a friend in the Northwest the other day, someone with whom I can open my heart. At the end of the call, she said:
Accept what is.
Let go of what was.
And have faith in what will be.
I’m working on it.