I've disappeared for a while. Here's my excuse.
"Do me a favor, and don't ever show that to any guy you want to marry, OK?"
"Isn't it a bit late for you to be telling me this now? I already showed it to him." Not to mention to a few hundred blog readers. But she doesn't know about that.
"Oh, you were obviously trying to scare him off, last night."
"Yes. That story shows the worst side of you, the cynical side. It doesn't give a flattering picture of its author. Any decent boy who reads it will run a mile."
"You could have told me that when you read it."
"Well it is well written. But, sweetheart, I know you, you're not like that."
"I was trying to copy Dorothy Parker's style."
"But did Dorothy Parker ever get married?"
I don't remember the answer. I guess it's a no.
"Men don't want to marry Dorothy Parkers. Or Jane Austens. Good writers don't make good spouses."
I'm stunned. There goes my dream.
"Don't worry, when you're married you'll become softer."
I didn't realize I needed to become softer. I liked myself the way I was.
"But I'm writing the truth. Dating is like that." Of all people, I thought she'd understand. She's pretty critical herself of many things in the Shidduch world.
"It may be the truth, but there's no need to focus on the negative. You're telling him that you're desperate, and that's the only reason you're dating him."
Now I'm scared. "The character in the story isn't me!"
Oh no. I hope he didn't think that too. Can’t I write about a single girl, without her being me?
"The only type of person who'll like your stuff will be bitter and cynical too. Is that the type of person you want to marry?"
I thought I'd learned how to let criticism run off me, like a river down stone, without penetrating. I thought I didn't care what people thought, I had enough inner confidence.
I guess it's different when it's someone you love, someone you've looked up to, your whole life, someone whose advice you usually follow.
For days I walked around with the same question. "Am I bitter, cynical and desperate? Does my writing sound that way?"
I asked everyone I knew who'd read my blog, or who'd read some of my writing. They said enough to make me laugh, to still the panic. They warned me I better get a cholera vaccine before I print my novel, because Jane Austen died of Cholera.
But I notice now, as the crumbs of Matza settle, that I haven't written since then, since that conversation. And maybe it's not just because I've 'been busy'.
I start writing a sweet little story, a story even Mishphacha would publish. "At least this story isn't cynical", I tell myself. Then I realize what I'm saying, what I'm doing. I get stuck half way through. The words feel corny. There's so much else I want to say. I miss writing. I miss blogging.
I've discovered another stage to growing up. It's learning that the people you love the most, even they can't always understand. They can be wrong about life, about you. You've just got to let go, and carry on, and do what you believe in.
Because I don't want to get married and start thinking life is a fairytale. I don't want to forget what dating was, what this stage was like. I want to remember, always. I want to be able to understand other people, to help other people, going through similar things. Not to begin spouting platitudes and becoming 'softer', and 'sweeter'.
So Shavua Tov, Blogosphere. I'm back.
5 hours ago