The Trip I Took
I’m in gorgeous Glenarm now, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, visiting my beloved friend Rosie, finishing up the last of this trip I was supposed to take spring 2020. At the time, it would have been a year since I had seen her, and now it’s been three. Practically every step of the way, this trip has felt like that. The trip I would have taken then, but now.
I would have been in Germany promoting All Grown Up instead of All This Could Be Yours, as I did this time. The tour would have been twice as long, and different conversations would have been had entirely because of the subject matter of the books. In England, I would have done a road trip with my friend Louisa to a part of the country called The End of the World as research for the memoir, which I think would have impacted me leaning into that idea further in the book. And I would have visited this special place in Northern Ireland where my friend Rosie had moved when she left New York City for good (as I had not too long before), which perhaps would have been a chapter of its own in the book.
When everything happened that spring, I didn’t think I had to start over, but I remember thinking I had to regroup, reorganize, reconfigure. Touring, traveling, connecting with people – those were all the things I ended up writing about anyway. But the circumstances had definitely changed. The contents shifted. Perhaps I would have written it from a more carefree place had the last two years not happened. I don’t know if the ending would have changed too much, but I do think it would have been a different book if I had been able to take that trip. I’ll never know. The only thing I’m certain of is that I’m happy to be alive and be here now.
Closure is bullshit, I have always felt. A Western idea, invented to solve a problem, to give people a false sense of comfort so they can move onto the next place. I can appreciate it on a personal level. There is certainly a hopefulness to it. But as an artist, I find the search for it would hold me back. I say live with the not-knowingness, accept that you’ll never have all the answers.
The book I wrote was the one that I could write, but also I chose it. There are countless ways to write a book, and I just had to choose one.
People always wonder how to know if they’re making the right choice creatively when there are so many possibilities. I understand fear. I understand caution. But at some point, we must shake off the indecision and just move forward with our work. Choose your project. Choose your sentences. Choose your ideas. Choose your ending. It’s your trip and no one else’s.
#1000wordsofsummer starts on June 4. Have you started prepping yet?
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If I ever need to read a thing, it is this on this very day.
ah the wild garlic…