In Between Days

In Between DaysI have become an in-between girl.

I do not live in a shitty apartment in Paris or New York. I’m not reclining in a park or museum in anticipation of the muse banging on my mind-door, begging me to relieve her of epiphanies.

I have a job. I pay the fucking bills.

I haven’t contracted eldest-child syndrome but I’m no longer wild and lost either. I still worship at the altar of Sartre and Morrison. They are my lovers still, but not the blade that I live or die on.


An unexpected bridge links liberty to devastation.

I’m uncertain when this break-up occurred. There is neither trinket nor memento to analyze for clues. I have no memory of this rupture.

There are benefits to adulthood but shouldn’t an alarm have sounded; how was I not obligated to sign some sort of permission form? Jesus, you can’t even download porn without being asked to agree to something.

I can maximize this new paradigm or I can fall to my knees in protest, tossing stability aside in an orgasmic bid for art and anarchy.

But shit, just the thought of anarchy makes me tired. I am decidedly growing old.

I have, much to my surprise, become one of those people who goes to work regularly, who can go to work at will when such a decision need be made. And an affirmative decision has been made—looking over my paperwork it seems I have been affirming it for years now.

Yeah, I left home for good at sixteen but I didn’t have a cat or a window valance then. I’m not entirely certain I had a window some days.

I survived without bed sheets boasting a thread count and closet organizers deconstructed by Ikea. That must be where the damn catalogue came from, what with its mismatched matching dishes and lure of Scandinavian minimalism.

Shit, I’m in deep.

I’m in danger of losing it all for a 9-5 gig and a case of beer on the weekends. (This likely isn’t true if I know anything about myself but I’m going to indulge one of my biggest fears for a couple of hundred words, if you please.)

I am no longer going mad over writing or art. Or from unbalanced chemicals misfiring in my brain. Age has softened such single-minded obsessiveness and I’ve mastered the art of taking the edge off the imbalances that remain.

I have forgone my alliance with the die-hards; I am the at-risk now, and I have the day job to prove it. I fear that I could go either way, that I’m passing through a danger zone—continue to embrace writing or embrace—with deep regret and self-hatred—the nuances of somebody else’s dream.

I guess I’ll take the third option then, whatever that turns out to be.

And what of the professionally lost, the chronically on hold? Am I obligated to be one or the other instead of a functioning hybrid of pragmatism and art?

Can my creative license be revoked because I’m both book-keeper and creator?

Can I be responsible whilst writing to the pulse of my impulses and passions or am I in danger of writing like most people fuck—dutifully, mechanically, fearfully, and always with the hunger for more, always with the piercing stab of malabsorption burrowing into my belly and writ large through the fear of inadequacy?

I cannot live with fear and self-consciousness gnawing themselves into permanent disappointment, the terror of perceived flaws reducing pleasure and pain to a dull throb that is duteously scratched without any thought to the why of it all.

Do I still write because I must or because habit dictates that that is how things are done?

That last one is unlikely. Last night I was trapped in a public bathroom photographing notes written on my body in eyeliner because I lacked paper and a pen. I was too drunk for Evernote but sober enough to remember that when the muse wants to dance you stop everything and motherfucking dance.

And I was happy. I was exactly where I wanted to be, minus the stench of urine and the damp toilet paper prettying up the ugly stall.

Maybe in-between days are just that—just one more iteration of ‘how bad do you want it?’ One more confirmation of a direction that need be taken. Life just keeps holding shit up for me to try on, to step into, to see if I maybe like it better than writing.

And the answer is no. It’s always been no.

Doubt is the mistress that won’t stop calling after you spend a night between her thighs. Never mind how fast you run when her heels come clicking down the hallway after you, never mind how many times your eyes skip over hers.

But fuck her; she could never run that fast anyway and she’s slowing down with age. Hers or mine I cannot decipher…

I’ve survived the mayhem and madness of youth and now I’m denying the temptation to give it all up to become 100% something instead of a hybrid balanced between two seemingly opposite worlds.

Besides, I can only be tempted so much before a resonate disinclination rages through my being, a one syllable, two letter word screamed into the darkness that thrusts a pen into my hand and my heart onto the page.

Amen to that my beautiful wondercunts. For that alone I could not be more grateful.

20 thoughts on “In Between Days

  1. “But shit, just the thought of anarchy makes me tired. I am decidedly growing old.” Mhmm… I have a few years on you and I can tell you I firmly believe in anarchy. Making order out of chaos is what creating is all about and one first must allow things to get chaotic.
    Attacking deep questions and struggling with them until you or they come out on top is how your particular pulse persists – it keeps you vibrant, alive, creating, singing, sweating, swearing, celebrating… And it keeps us enthralled.

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  2. Another phenomenal essay, Illian! You have deep thoughts, and put them out there like very few can. If you’re worried about working 9-5, just listen to that little voice, but remember you gotta eat, gotta have a roof over your head. Hemingway worked as a journalist, Zane Grey was a dentist. Lots of writers and artists have two parallel lives, one in the everyday, the other in that special place where they bring to life the thoughts and dreams within. Amusing list at the link below.

    You ask, “Can I be responsible whilst writing to the pulse of my impulses and passions or am I in danger of writing like most people fuck—dutifully, mechanically, fearfully, and always with the hunger for more…” My bet is, yes you can, because you can work that way and save your passion and creativity for your true love. Or if you have to work with creativity and passion, you will find you have the strength inside to do both.

    One final thought, if you would indulge me. Go light with the beer, amiga…You have to stay strong to live this life, and “If there is an occupational hazard to writing, it’s drinking.”-Cormac McCarthy.

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    1. I love this–thank you so much. It really hit me in the feels and made me think. I get overwhelmed sometimes (and I’m certainly not alone in this) and you’re calm, rational voice is like balm for the soul. Thank you! Love the quote from McCarthy–not least because it’s true–and that link is going to be this evening’s read. You’re not just a great writer but a great ally to have. I hope you had a great holiday, btw. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the kind words. Christmas was great; and I hope you had a great one too.

        Now on to New Year’s. Squirrel’s brewed a bunch of beer, a bartender named Little Antony sold me a couple cases of liquor from the back of his bar, the owner of a vineyard I saved from a sticky situation has repaid me with last year’s vintage, and the guest list is already up around 200. It’s shaping up to be epic, and memorable for those who will still remember it.

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  3. Maybe your destiny now is a gig with Good Housekeeping magazine. Whatever works! I started the day with waiting for the sun btw, and am a big Satre fan. Do you have a favourite book of his. The Age of Reason is pretty goddamn special, but I couldnt make head nor tails of the sequel. It was obviously more cryptic in style but I couldn’t crack it.

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    1. Ha! Good Housekeeping–what a depressing thought, lol. The Age of Reason is extraordinary. I enjoyed The Reprieve immensely but have yet to make it through Iron in the Soul. It’s a tough one. Right now I’m reading Of Human Bondage by Maugham and I am completely obsessed with it–it pretty much brought the last blog to the surface. If I ever make it through the last of Sartre’s trilogy I will let you know, and hopefully you will do the same for me!


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