At the turn of the year, my friend Austin Kleon posted about his annual logbook project, a record of events in a page-a-day calendar, from significant to mundane, equally weighted. I find it hard to resist projects that involve fancy notebooks and aids to memory, so I tried it.
I write fiction, and I don’t know if that excuses me. I am the mother of a small child and I don’t know if that excuses me. Every day the things I wrote were interior. What happened in my head as if it was an event. Because there were few other events, and even those were repetitive. Wrote. Took daughter to park. Daughter’s new words. Napped. Strange dreams. Couldn’t sleep. And then. And then. The things that went on in my head ran up against the limits of a single page. I’m not a journal keeper, and all this interiority embarrassed me. In those same cold months, I had finished writing a book of nonfiction, a very practical book, and I wanted, with my few spare moments, to begin a new novel. A few spare moments don’t really lend themselves to new novels. But one day there was a single sentence that I worked over in my head as I went through the cyclic events of my day. So I turned the embarrassing notebook sideways and wrote it down. With that I changed the purpose of the pages. I started writing a single sentence a day. The first one was this.
Only the person who slides between two lives can say “it was always you” and have it mean anything at all.