Dear Ian Frazier,
I still cite you as my favorite writer. Well, you and Jane Austen, of course, but you two reside in my literary heart, probably playing cards and somehow discussing why I decided to decorate my literary heart as a 1960’s bachelor pad. It might take some getting used to, because when you snap your fingers a bed or a record player comes out of the nooks and crannies of the room. But I’m sure you and Jane Austen would some use it as a bonding experience.
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing, Ian Frazier, and the answer is, frankly, I miss you. That seems a bit forward actually, I should clarify that I “missed” you, rather than “miss” you, as the latter implies a past relationship and the former implies I was targeting you with a misdirected thrown tomato. I mean the former.
Now seeing as you are (one of) my favorite writers, Ian Frazier, I was stoked to see that you were heading a panel at The New Yorker Festival this past weekend. The place was near a shop I work part-time at too, so I started to have these delusions of running into you nearby, somehow intriguing you to ask how I was and then I would —
That’s it. I wouldn’t do anything. I would probably say fine and scuttle off, Gone to New York securely in my bag for that perfect moment I entertained that morning wasted on me and my nerves.
That’s really what would’ve happened because I frankly have had a hard week, Ian Frazier.
Yeah it was just one of those weeks, where you just want to throw the towel in and return to that Midwestern City or Southern State — which in my case is true — and live in the glorified past because it’s, frankly, easier.
My back hurts, Ian Frazier. My feet are sore. I have moments when I wake up at three o’clock in the morning and can’t sleep until six. And I know I’m full of unworthy complaining right now, Ian Frazier, but last week was a week I wanted to be well and done of dreaming and trying and romance.
I’m a New York implant, Ian Frazier, and while I had my second-thoughts about moving here and trying — a word I mean in the sweater in the fitting room sense — but I kept it up because I had plenty of optimism on reserve. My boyfriend asked me the other day, as I melted into a puddle, what was making me try and I made a watery joke of it as I blew my nose. “Pride,” I said immediately. “A way to keep up my chocolate addiction.”
Which, now that I write it out, sound pathetic and slightly shallow of me, but after three no response back interviews and a tireless amount of cover letters and resumes, I feel extremely justified in feeling this way. Because as much as I keep trying, it certainly feels like all of that had to be a clear sign that I was well chewed and ready to spit out, right?
That’s the thing, when can I justifiably throw in the towel and head home and take a sensible job?
I keep trying to pump myself up with the idea that I’m not done yet, but I’d want even a modicum of relief to show me that I’m doing something right. Instead, I look at the writing I abandoned because I’m tired when I get home. Instead, I stopped reading books because I should be looking up job listings. Instead, I tell myself that later on I’ll be able to drink coffee again and read and write and enjoy sitting in a cafe, other than feel the need to buy a big coffee just so I could sit there for a designated number of hours because my freelance job doesn’t have room at the office.
I want an office so bad, Ian Frazier. Listings try to tell you that it’s nice to work from home, but it isn’t. You feel lazy and like your laundry’s taunting you from the basket. People think you can get mail all the time, and people think you’re not working because you didn’t leave you bed and are online all day, when you really are writing stories and trying to keep up with deadlines and prop yourself up. People tell you that you probably shouldn’t have left that Souther State to work in an apartment. That’s what people tell you.
And I started to hear them, Ian Frazier. As much as I sound like a big complainer about all of it now, I was really good at deflecting all of the awkward questions about what I do and where I work. But now, I just take it, rather than defend myself.
So I wanted to see you that weekend. I thought I could actually, and I saved up to buy a New Yorker Festival ticket to sit at the panel and just see what you had to say. I ended up chickening out, Ian Frazier.
But I didn’t want to meet a hero or worst — show up and not even try to talk to you — so I avoided it altogether, and that to me was a big signal telling me a hard truth. Because why wouldn’t I want to meet the author of one the book that changed my perspective on writing? Why wouldn’t I even attempt to go see him just hear what he had to say?
I should try harder.