My year of writing anonymously
(From Lit Hub. Link to the complete article given below)
It began because everything was breaking. Had broken. Promises I made, promises that were made to me; it had been a long season of betrayal. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore or why I was doing it. I kept moving, frantically, although no direction interested me all that much. One winter day, I slipped on the ice in Riverside Park and fell flat on my back. I thought: I don’t know if I can get up, by which I meant not only in that moment, but ever. A young woman with a concerned look on her face stopped and said, “Are you all right?” Winded, wincing, I got up.
I have been a writer for a long time, but during that dark season, nothing that I wrote seemed to me to sustain any value. I would begin something, follow it for a while, and then suddenly lose interest, lose heart. I would, I suppose, betray it, toss it aside in the way that I felt I had been tossed aside in various ways, exiled, devalued, dismissed, erased. And I had also done damage to someone I loved. I had the persistent idea that I was being punished, that I was being judged and humiliated, that this was, in some karmic sense, my own fault. I both knew and didn’t know that this wasn’t true.
Anyway, my whole selfhood project felt like a failed invention, like some gizmo that, in retrospect, was a laughable misfire. Vanilla Coke. Vanilla Ice. I hauled myself around because I had to—also, I am the kind of person who gets up. But something at the core of my idea about the relative fairness of the world was broken. I kept being shown cruelty, use, lying, and exploitation—literal and emotional—by people to whom I was close and by people with whom I worked. Worse, I knew I had some of those tendencies as well. I thought I must have been naïve, or maybe just complicit. It seemed as if hungry ghosts were everywhere.