Dear Book, Dear Writer
October 18, 2021 § 22 Comments
By Julie Lambert
I’ve thought about you for so long. I’m a little scared of you. What will happen when I release you? What story do you want to tell? Am I seeing you clearly? I don’t know. I don’t know if I can do this correctly, in the way that I want you to be created. I’m stuck right now. I don’t know what you want me to do. Where you want me to go? I think I know the way, but I’m open and listening. Can you whisper to me? I promise I’ll do my best to let you lead the way. I trust you. I really do. Do you trust me? I know it’s hard. I know you’ve wanted to hide. To keep this secret between us. Why do we have to let everybody in on it? I feel that way, too, sometimes. I want to go back to just living a normal life, doing things that normal everyday people do. But I know I wouldn’t be happy. Would you? Do you want to be permanently affixed to the bulletin board, always as a notecard? I mean, what happens to a notecard? It gets thrown away in the trash when it’s no longer relevant, no longer serves a purpose. Or do you want to be pages? Pages in a book? Yes, books are sometimes thrown out, too, but not as often as notecards. I hope people value books more.
Okay, now what do you want to say to me? I know, I haven’t heard your voice in awhile, I’ve been distracted, running after the quick fix, the sparkly trappings of a writer’s life— writing residencies, more classes, more books to read— but I swear I did some of that to develop my relationship with you. So that I could understand you better. You know this is my first time, right? I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what’s required of me. I don’t know what’s at stake. What’s that? Right, I’m talking again. Sorry. I said it was your turn. Okay, I’ll shut up, but one last thing. Could you just drop me some clues every so often, just to let me know if I’m going the wrong way or moving in the right direction? It would really help me to keep going. Not a lot, just a few crumbs. Right, okay, I’ll stop.
You’ve asked me so many questions I don’t know where to begin. I’m fine hanging out here on the bulletin board. I’m not in any rush. What I’m saying will have as much relevance today as it will tomorrow. Remember what I said to you earlier today, “hold it lightly?” I know you’ve got so much going on in your life. So many things you’re trying to tune into. I appreciate that you almost always commit Tuesdays and Thursdays to visiting with me. No one else does that you know. You’re the only one who comes up in the attic to talk to me. But I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I’m okay and I kind of like my time alone, but I want you to be ready. I want you to be prepared for when I’m ready to talk because once I begin, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop. Have you set aside some time for me before the kids are out of school? Before this summer? Because we’re going to need it. I need to get off this bulletin board before the summer. I’m kinda tired of being vertical and I can’t hold myself up any longer. I want to behave and lay down on the page. Not for too long, though, because I know once the readers come, I want to be in their heads. I want to dance and play in their minds. Don’t you think that’s the place I belong? I’ve been in your head for so long, I’m finally getting some air and I like it, but we both know the only way I can stay alive is to be passed on to other people. Not in a bad, contagious kinda way, but in an ever expanding sort of way, a continuous conversation. That’s what I want to be. Can you help me?
Julie Lambert is a nonfiction writer, poet, and women’s health and wellness activist, currently working on her debut memoir, Shed 1,000 Bodies. For twenty years she’s worked with organizations and individuals to improve women’s and children’s lives through education, health and wellness. In the past five years, she’s studied creative nonfiction and poetry with some of the most well-known and respected writers working in these genres. Her personal essay, “Mother’s Day,” about postpartum depression and psychosis was awarded 2nd place in Hypertext Review’s Spring/Summer 2020 Nonfiction contest. She is a graduate of The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop 2021 with T. Kira Madden, and The Writer’s Hotel 2019 with Meghan Daum. The Illinois Arts Council Agency awarded her an Individual Artist Support grant of $1,500 in 2019, and she’s been an invited storyteller at the KGB Bar in NYC, and the de Maat Studio, Second City in Chicago. She has a BA in English Language and Literature from Smith College, and a Master’s in English Language and Literature from Loyola University Chicago. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and four children.