Katie Boland has been acting professionally since the age of nine, is currently filming a recurring role on the CW series, Reign, and in April, 2013, she published her first book, Eat Your Heart Out, a collection of short stories. Ahead of her January 8 visit to Brockton Writers Series, she stops by the blog to talk about beginning (to write) again.
“It’s hard to move forward when you don’t know what way you’re facing.”
– John Lennon
Writing came to me like a gift, like something I didn’t deserve. It was like shaking hands with the love of your life on a hot summer night, on a street corner in Montreal, the day after you were supposed to be gone already. He wore a blue shirt and I wore a pink dress.
Becoming a writer, like him, it hit me like a freight train. Like him, writing found me when I wasn’t looking for it but needed it most.
In the just over a year I had with the man I met on a street corner, the so far and maybe ultimate love of my life, there was a lot of rap music. There was dancing, talking, reading, watching, travelling, a voice I felt like I’d always known, his hand on the small of my back and sleeping well for the first time in my life. There was a lot of happy.
There was not a lot of writing.
“Can you imagine if we’d never met?” I asked him.
“I don’t like to think about that,” he said.
We broke up a month ago. Things I didn’t like to think about are now the reality I live in. Here I am, waking up every night at 4 a.m., jolted by an alarm I didn’t want to set. I feel like everyone else lives on Planet Earth. I live on Planet How The Fuck Did This Happen? Planet Make This Go Away.
But mostly, I live on Planet He’s Gone.
Lying awake, I have come closest to understanding that God, (or whoever), doesn’t fuck around. He gives but He also takes and doesn’t need to give back. I have been forced to accept that time and loss are enemies and best friends. I need time to move past this, but the more that passes, the more what I’ve lost is really gone.
Last night my friend Molly looked at me in Café Diplomatico, an Italian joint on College Street that’s very popular and not very good. “I wrote an article that comes out tonight,” she said. “It’s called ‘Don’t Cheat On Your Loneliness.’ I saw that written in a bathroom stall. Isn’t that perfect?”
Last night, in a taxi I didn’t need to take, I thought, “All I do lately is cheat on my loneliness.” Why shouldn’t I? How do I be true to something I hate so much?
“Write, I guess,” I heard a small voice say, then I sighed. I don’t want to write, I thought. I want this to be over.
Last night, at 4 a.m., awake again, I listened to that small voice because it’s really hard to ignore when my house is so quiet.
“Write,” she said.
She told me that through writing, one day, things will change. That one day, everything I write won’t be for or about him. With fingers pressed up against that keyboard, the lingering sense of him will have faded. That by writing — not by texting other men, not by seeing psychics, not by visiting rock stars in North Carolina — I will have not cheated on my loneliness.
I fell asleep.
I woke up again hours later. Today is the first day since we’ve broken up that I’ve sat back at this computer.
Of all the things that feel true lately, and there are many, the following remain the most shining and resolute. Writing and lovers will scoop out my insides, the parts that I don’t like, and show them to me. Only by stretching myself in the direction of loneliness will I come back again. By writing alone, listening to a rap song he would love, I will see what happened between he and I not as a tragedy but as my becoming. One day, I won’t miss him like this. One day, I will hope everyone gets to fall in love like we did. One day, I will understand why this happened.
Until then, I’ll write.
Katie Boland visits the Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 – full of beans Coffee House & Roastery, 1348 Dundas St. W., Toronto (7pm, PWYC) – along with J.M. Frey, Michael Mirolla and Sherwin Tjia. Come early (6:30) for a talk by author Cory Silverberg about crowd-funding and how writers can put it to use.
The Brockton Writers Series blog returns Jan. 1, with our J.M. Frey feature — have a safe and happy holiday!