My Writer’s Notebook: a Summer Brennan Essay Camp Write-Along School for Ants
days 2 and 3 together on account of being a ghost
All I managed yesterday was to look at the reading list and see “The Smoker” by Ottessa Moshfegh. An essay that I loved. I thought, “oh good I can ‘cheat’ and just write up a quick reaction. Then my brain kept feeling like an overstuffed pickle jar smashing on a tile floor so I did not just write up anything.
I still feel like I cheated myself on the reading yesterday so I went back and read “Ghost Story” by Maggie Smith because someone tweeted a different Maggie Smith piece that came out yesterday. Why not two Maggie Smith essays in one day? The one called “Ghost Story”, published in 2020, couldn’t be as heart-breaking as the new one. Of course that was a silly assumption. In fact, reading these two essays in the “wrong” order made “Ghost Story” even more haunting.
One day I got a bug up my butt to try and trace my family tree as far back as I could using a bunch of different shadey genealogy cites. On one side I ended up finding a girl from Edinburgh, Scotland who married a boy from Schwarzwald (The Black Forest), Germany before they moved to the American colonies. I doubt this fun couple are truly in my family tree, but I hope so! For obvious reasons I immediately identified with her. How would she feel about my moving back to Europe? Also, is there a different name for the American colonies these days? Settlements?
This is something called a Five Things Essay that Summer uses and I will make it to Five Things. This is one of the five things. Is this cheating? Who is handing out the Summer Brennan Essay Camp Write-Along School for Ants grades?
Out of all the ridiculousness that is the movie Zoolander the one thing that takes me out of the fever dream and makes me say, skeptically, “what?” is when Derek and Hansel are in their David Bowie-judged walk-off and Hansel sticks his hand down his pants and somehow pulls out his underwear in-tact. I fully believe that David Bowie would judge a male model walk-off. But the underwear? No.
When my head is pounding and I can’t locate my usual amount of energy, I feel like a ghost. Incorporeal and therefore unable to affect my own life. I know what I need to do, what I want to do, but they pass through my hands when I reach out. Like how I pass through each hour, each day. Until I can feel the ground under my feet again.