In my becoming place a wood desk is lit by a single exposed light bulb and backed by a raw brick wall on which hangs a large framed photo...
J. McKay / Like the person who blows the dust from their treadmill on New Years Day, I am here. My laptop has stared at me all day—that steely cold stare of someone or in this case something that doubts your resolve knowing full well all your previously unfulfilled intentions.
For the past 3 years, at least, I’ve initiated a new year with a renewed desire to write. It’s there in the back of my mind and has been for the previous 365 days times 3, that thing that I need to do, not because it needs to be done, but because by doing it, I change.
I think everyone has a ‘becoming’ place--that odd corner of our person that we purposefully stay away from, not because we don’t feel at home there, but because we feel too at home there. Perhaps the result of trying so hard to be someone we aren’t or rather aren’t quite, entering this space that is tailor-made for us can be unsettling.
In my becoming place a wood desk is lit by a single exposed light bulb and backed by a raw brick wall on which hangs a large framed photo of an urban cityscape and an even larger mirror. At the desk, there is a typewriter at the ready with a single sheet of heavy weight paper and a metal folding chair.
I blame the mirror and the chair for keeping me away. It is impossible to hide from myself when I write. That mirror reflects directly on the page. The more I try not to be me the more me what I write becomes. Hiding from yourself is hard work. Your best chance at succeeding at it is to stay away from your becoming place. A mirror reflects your form or your outline; the real weight of becoming is revealed in a painful way by the folding chair.
People who feel they need to lose weight are unnecessarily afraid of scales. A scale assigns you a number based on a rather arbitrarily set standard. What is a pound anyway? The only pain a scale can inflict is contingent on comparison. A folding chair, however, doles out pain and discomfort instantly and in direct ratio to your current weight or better put the summed consequences of your actions and inactions while you were away from the folding chair. No hiding, no waiting, the longer you sit there; the more accurate reading you get.
Writing forces me to take stock of what I’ve been doing and thinking and equally condemning what I haven’t been doing or thinking, before I sat down to write and feel the weight of that tallied impact on who I am now at the exact second my fingers hit the keyboard. A realization which can be painful. But being in tune with the gravitational pull of your personal mass against something as unforgiving as a steel seat is invaluably informative; you get up different than you sat down.
If you never come to your becoming place, you never leave your becoming place having become. It’s in those comings and goings that we change who we be. So here is to spending more time in our becoming places in 2013. I hope you hold me accountable for being here tomorrow.