Click here to hear the song (and then write in response for 20 minutes).
Here’s what I wrote:
Don’t write about loss. Write about lemons: Meyer, Eureka, Lisbon, a whole bag delivered to your door. Write about blossoming trees: plum and cherry, pink clouds lining the city streets.
Don’t keep winding back to that twenty-something who felt trapped: queer, stuck in the suburbs, his mother a ghost in polyester pants, a diaper underneath.
Write about the daffodils at the mouth of the Park Boulevard exit off Highway 13, that splash of green and yellow that surprises you every year. Write about the pug puppy who kissed your face, or the sexy, straight Puerto Rican guy who said, “Man, I think you’re beautiful. If you were a girl, I’d be all over you.”
Don’t write about the long, confusing, on-and-off with the handsome man with the black coffee eyes and the beautiful feet, the one who wouldn’t save himself, the one you couldn’t save.
Write about adding cream to caramelized sugar, and butterscotch pot de creme. Write about the tri-colored koi at the Botanical Gardens just thirty minutes from Puerto Vallarta, the bumpy bus ride past Boca and Mismaloya, the way the locals are lulled to sleep by the rush of warm air from the open windows, the wide curves, the growl of the engine.
Don’t write about sleepless nights, or age spots, the aisle in Costco where you seriously considered the bottle of promises for $124. No one wants to hear that you’re lonely some nights, so lonely that you go out and talk to strangers, drink too much, make out in crowded bars with men you don’t even know.
Don’t weave your way in and out of self-analysis: the way you still yearn sometimes to live out her shortened life for her, to be a parent, to grow old, be a grandparent. Don’t talk about Daddy issues, or how you delete the profiles of men who sound too much like Papa, even though you still hold a tiny grain of hope that he’s out there, that he’s waiting to be a rock, to do what’s best for you.
Focus on the flowers: narcissus rising like angels from a glass vase, calla lillies taking root in the shadowy corners of the yard, and the promise of lilacs this year. Little buds in the branches. The promise of those. The promise.