In the interregnum, after Los Angeles and before I split, my stepmother and I had a cold war to go along with the regular version. I would go out to hang out with my friends, and we wouldn’t talk about that anymore than we would talk about anything else. When I would come home, sometimes, not that late really, I would find the front and back doors locked.
So I would go around to the side yard and clamber up to the roof of the sun room. The storm gutter couldn’t bear my weight, but it made a convenient guide, and the downstairs window sill was as good a step as you could imagine. The window would part with just enough force, a satisfying silent grunt, and I would clamber over and creep past my sleeping younger brother, up to the third floor that was mine alone, since my older brother took off, with my ancient TV, my own air conditioner, the terrible fake wood panels, and my own space. Then sleep, and the next morning, cold indifference, never betraying that anything had happened at all. And that’s how it went until, one night, my friend Vi dropped me off in her dad’s used Mercedes, but then the window wouldn’t budge, and would remain locked until the day I walked away, and so I made the arduous trip back down the gutter, for some reason much scarier than the way up, and went to sleep in the garage.
For me blogging has been, for all of its inherent ridiculousness, something like the feeling of pulling the dull quiet weight of that window up; it’s been sneaking in the side window when the doors of the building were shut, knowing that the indifferent figure that had done the locking could not notice me creep inside. For a little while, people fooled themselves that the blog had nailed the door open. But the world doesn’t work that way, and today the kind of people who had once championed the blog over the newspaper now mock the blog, because they are in a hurry to get somewhere, always eager to take their anxiety to some other place to be anxious in, and it’s same as it ever was. I don’t really mind. Window or door, the point is to reach the third floor.
Now, more and more, I find the window once again locked. I am lucky in that writing has never been a vocation for me. I have never felt the pressure to break out in that way, or to break in. I am finding more and more that I can write for money if I want to, and I’m grateful. The question is whether I can write and do what I set out to do, too. I have a dean problem. But that’s how it goes, that’s life. Besides, there may still be other windows. Either way, the grunting weight of the window has been enough, the moment of uncertainty as you throw your back into it, the strange comfort of feeling it slide its dull way up. And for all of it, in the end I think all I’ll remember is the sandpaper grit of the roof tiles on my hands as I pulled my way up, the feeling of getting away with something, and the Connecticut moon in the Connecticut sky.