In February of 2017, I ended my two-year writer’s block by cranking out a story for publication (rejected). I then signed up for a writing contest, and that kept me busy for a while until I got voted out. And then, that spring, I made the conscious decision to write a novel (I add that distinction because I wrote my first novel by accident). When that was done, I wrote another one. And another. I never knew what I was going to write, just that I should sit down and do it. And so, I proceeded to work on short stories and novels constantly through the next two and a third years, rarely missing a day, until the wall I just hit.
I can’t overstate how many times I’ve finished a chapter and informed a friend, “I have no ideas for the next one,” only to start work on it the next day. This is different. But this is an unfamiliar feeling, thinking about my novel and coming up with absolutely nothing.
I’m not worried, I will write again. But I am a little unsettled.
I just took a personality test for a potential job. There were sixty questions, and over 20 percent of them were about how much cocaine I used. Not “Do you use cocaine?”; but “How much cocaine do you use?” Which I believe says a lot about the company.
Lest I forget, the questions about my cocaine usage weren’t the only things from this test. They were concerned about my marijuana, heroin, and meth usage (though not as much as cocaine), and they wanted to know not if, but how many times I’d faked an injury/illness to get out of work, as well as how much money I’ve stolen. I’m feeling profiled.
I’ve written a lot about what happened with Kate over the past six months, and I’m sure you all are tired of it, but here is the final milestone: Today is the day when we go from separated to divorced. The marriage, while having ended in December, is over in the eyes of the law.
After all this time, it feels like another day to me, so I’m going to continue to search for a full-time job while reporting into my part-time one and try to get back to writing. When the papers come in the mail, I will sign them, and my life will continue on the trajectory it’s been going for the past six months.
This divorce isn’t 100 percent behind me, though, and considering what I had to go through to get to where I am, it really shouldn’t be. But it’s mostly behind me, and as long as I don’t wallow in it, I’m entitled to mourn, even after all this time.
To mark the occasion, I changed my relationship status on Facebook. I had the option of “Divorced,” but I chose “Single,”* because I will not be defined by a marriage that was ended without my permission or even knowledge. I’m not the ex-Mr. Kate Schroeder, I’m Jeremiah Murphy, and I like being me.
* Facebook is extraordinarily helpful when you change your status to single. It offers to block the other person or hide how they can see your current or past posts. It just wants you to feel comfortable.
Remember that almost-thirty-year-old book I’ve been working on? I just finished the first draft. Most writers will tell you that their first drafts are garbage and unreadable, but I am not most writers. I happen to think I write exceptional first drafts that need a little tuning up and hammering here and there. So what I wrote is pretty awesome.
I feel that finishing this book fulfills a dream I’ve had for nearly three decades, and it feels really, really good.