I press my mum and dad home telephone number on my Blackberry and wait to hear a dial tone. I let it ring three times, then hang up. Shortly thereafter, my phone starts vibrating, a multitude of colors flashing on my screen. My mum’s calling me back. We have been using that system for years now, five to be exact, since they subscribed to that unlimited international calling service. We speak every day when we can. It feels good to hear their voice, talk to them and exchange ideas. They keep me grounded when I feel that my life has turned to chaos. They reassure me and support me in my moments of doubt. I really don’t know what I would do without them. And that day will come, I know it will, and I dread it tremendously.
Writing. That sneaky demon of mine found a way to wake up and consume my every day routine like gangrene. It’s becoming so much, so much love and hate, struggle and pleasure, my addiction to words is growing by the minute as I chat with my mother and try to forget for a second what my new story is about. I know I need to remain focused but it’s hard, it’s eating my brain and I don’t know how to make it stop. It’s become my obsession. I need my fix. I could write all the time, and I don’t care if it makes sense, I just want to let my fingers run on the keyboard, playing a new composition every time I hit a letter, wandering in fields of gold and sparkling rain as I close my eyes and slowly disappear. My every day problems do not matter anymore as they used to. I leave them at the door of my dungeon and I climb, holding onto the rope of my dreams, peeking at the beaming face watching me from the farthest window… My muse, my princess, is calling my name, she wants me closer, always higher…. and I’m scared of looking down and suddenly falling.
The journey has just begun and I feel already like a junkie on a cloud. I’m begging for the ride to never end, take me, steal my soul and cuddle me until I die there, words pouring over my face like a summer drizzle. I smile and laugh, I must sound hysterical when this happens, but I can’t help it. My demon is insatiable for attention. He jumps and crawls, pressing onto my temples, massaging my neck, guiding my hands as I let him steer my mind into new territories.
My mum keeps talking. She’s telling me about the latest news at home and I barely listen, distracted by the plot I’m attempting to construe to the best of my abilities… “Yes, yes” I keep repeating and it seems to satisfy her. But it’s always there, stuck in the back of my head. This virus has no antidote; I don’t even want to be cured, I love being sick. “When are you going to be done with your novel?” my mum suddenly asks. I don’t know, I’m getting there, but it’s hard right now, it’s really hard.
My mother. She met my dad at a political convention of the Socialist party in Eastern Germany thirty years ago. She witnessed the construction of the Berlin wall. She grew up and learned about oppression. My father was this Jewish French expatriate born in former French Algeria, divorced with two kids, not really looking to remarry. They were never meant to meet. The Eastern block was not open to Westerners at the time. He went there because…. a colleague told him he would have fun, even if he was not socialist, Germans were hot! After several days of indecision, my dad finally went. They’ve been together ever since. Their life started like a good novel. The Eastern German meets a French Jew and discovers freedom. He marries her but she can’t come to France with him yet. She needs to get clearance first. French authorities think she’s a spy and they investigate her. German authorities want to recruit her. I always told my mum to write her story, maybe she will one day. Writing…. It was always meant to be.
“Mum, I have to work on my book, I can’t talk longer.”
“Ok ok,” she says in German. “Kuss Kuss.” It means “Kiss kiss.”
“Kuss Kuss. Tschuess!”
We don’t say “I love you”. We don’t exhibit our love like that, but we know it’s there, right under the surface, boiling to become so hot, it’s overwhelming.
My dad grabs the phone.
“Ok, so be careful out there.” Good Jewish father. Always on the lookout even 3,000 miles away.
“Yes, dad. Kiss. Talk later.”
“Ciao!” he finally says before I hang up.
These words. Always hitting me like a thunderstorm. They never stop, they distract me, they want all my devoted attention, and then what? They make me wait. Nothing comes easy as a writer. My life revolves around them… And the wait never ends. “I’m finally yours! Inspire me!” I yell at my muse. But she stays silent. Another day where I was not productive. Another day where my passion consumes me to a point of no return.
I’m high, always hungry for more. Even in moments of doubt, it always stood by me. My writing, my passion, my life. I remember my mum reading the first novel I wrote when I was 9 and telling me: “This is good. Very good. You should keep going. God knows where it will take you.”
And guess what? I always listen to my mum.