Alright, I’ll admit it: I’m at Starbucks for the third time in two days. I’m not really ashamed. Okay, I’m a little ashamed. It is a good thing I have a job—otherwise, I could see myself living at Starbucks. It is probably even better that once I am back in North Dakota the closest Starbucks will be forty minutes away. Same for the closest shoe stores. I really sometimes just need a forty-minute buffer for those things.
Some days I feel pretty confident that I could write a book about my life. (Other days, usually the days I spill cheese sauce on my shirt, I think about how nobody cares about how I run into doors and would want to read about it. But I’m not talking about those days.) I think about the characters in my life that would end up in my book. I think about the dialogues I would include. I think about the moments in which I would try to paint vivid pictures, drawing the reader into some of the best (and worse) times in my life.
I think about all the moments I would edit out of my life. Not because I don’t value them, but because I don’t think anyone needs to read about the times where I just sit and check my phone every couple of minutes to see if anyone has texted me yet. I would exclude all the people who would sue me for talking about them, even though I am sure I would cleverly disguise their name by changing at least one letter. I would exclude the minor characters. For example, even though I can tell you the names and birth dates of every person from my high school class, they are not really deserving of a shout out in my future book. I would exclude the time when I met a leader in the church only to run straight into a revolving door seconds later, right in front of him. I would exclude any possible mention of potato salad. Those are not things I would like to be known for.
I would include the things that were terrible. I would include the situations that made me cry and caused me pain. I would include the things that I hate (black olives—actually, I can’t think of a time when talking about my hate of black olives would ever be relevant). I would include my best friends and my most tragically humorous breakups. I would include those who have loved me, those who have hurt me. I wouldn’t sugar coat anything, because my life has always been a life filled with grit.
Maybe the cover would have dandelions on it. Because weeds are only weeds when we don’t like them. There have been a lot of moments in my life when there easily should have been things I could have weeded out, but I have become a lot better person because I haven’t sprayed the weed killer every chance I got. I have grown a lot more because I have been nourished by the rain, even by the storms.
As far as the characters go, if I were to start writing the book today, the cast would be a lot different than if I had started the book in February. I am a different person than I was in February. Yes, I maybe drive the same car, but it has since gotten hail damage and it definitely has a lot more miles on it. There is someone that I would include in my book now that I probably won’t include if I start my book five months from now. What scares me the most is that he might become someone much more than just the one who fixes lawnmowers. In which case, he might get more than just a chapter. However, unlike a book, I cannot just skip to the end to see what will happen. I cannot just read the Wikipedia page to ruin any surprises that might come along the way. Instead, I just have to blindly jump into the metaphorical pond/pool/ocean (however big I feel like thinking). I have to jump in and enjoy the ride.