I wonder why I continue to subject myself to such regularly scheduled disappointment. Why should it matter whether my name is attached to some words that have made their way into the arena of public scrutiny? I did not even keep my birth name. It would be my husband's name in print, just as well, I suppose. I never took to my given name. I do not feel defined by my maiden or married name, and yet a name (whichever one) is all that would stand between my writing and a stranger's eyes. It's inscrutable, really.
Perhaps when enough well-meaning souls suggest that it's only a matter of months or circumstance before you will be known to many, you can't help but believe them. Even if it's only reflexive kindness that your loved ones are offering, like homemade dinners on injury or the birth of a baby. A salad and dessert too?
I want none of this to matter. I might hope to be JD Salinger, not publishing because he saw no need of it. Except we all know that JD Salinger didn't much want to be JD Salinger, and he wasn't publishing for an entirely different, much darker reason.
If only I could voice the words in my head and let the air catch them. On the wind's back they'd travel far and wide, landing where they might, doing what good they could. If they caused a bird to sing out for the first time, if a plant grew taller or lusher on the diet of my words, I would never even know, but for this: on some spring day I'd notice that the earth smelled a little sweeter, the sky appeared a little bluer, and the sun shone perceptibly brighter.
But that is not enough, whether or not I've managed to convey the reason. So I blink back tears and carry on, my aspirations more and more a source of embarrassment and shame -- aspirations as uncontrollable in their way as that stupidly predictable nervous system of mine.