THE MIRACLE ONE HOUR OF STORYTELLING CAN DO
We have Russian cleaners who come clean our house. Today a new woman came to clean, and I chatted briefly with her and hung out in the kitchen while she cleaned my writing cave. Then I came up and we got to talking.
Every time someone new comes, I always ask them what they really do. Or did. Many Russian women immigrants have degrees up the wazoo, and after coming to America work as cleaners to make ends meet while they study English and try to figure out how to continue doing work they've been doing for years in Russia. Of course, it was just as I thought. She asked me if I'm a writer and what kinds of books I write and how I publish them, then told me she wrote several books too. In Russian. Turns out, she is a psychoanalyst and has worked in her field for years, as a researcher, as a counselor for abused children and sexually assaulted and battered women, having advised them when they gave statements to authorities.
After this we could hardly stop talking.
Finally, I snuck back upstairs and wrote some more, but it was hopeless. I kept thinking about the things she told me. So I asked her to knock on my door when she was done. She did. And we talked for the next hour, diving deeper and deeper into darkness. I couldn't shut up. I started cautiously explaining why I began writing, giving her the safe clipped version of my suicidal thoughts and the reason for them. But the more we talked, the more I understood that she has heard lots of stories like mine. So I opened up. I told her everything. And she nodded and finished my sentences.
I forgot all about writing.