by Kelsey Mars
My grandmother told me on the day she was born, her mother voted. She walked down the street, voted in the midterm elections, then came back home. She climbed into bed and gave birth to her daughter. She was 31 years old.
My father told me he could remember where he was on the first day of 1970. He was at that same house, the house his mother was born in. It was the first night in his life that he had stayed up until midnight. He watched the clock as the decade ended and the seventies began.
In 2015, I feel an affinity with the 30s, with the 60s and the beginning of the 70s. I meet girls on dating apps and we have sex. My friends meet people in bars and have sex. I find roommates on Facebook. I feel threatened and write about it online. I love the Internet. I think about the person I would be without it.
My grandma reads a People Magazine dated December 14, 2015. That is my birthday, but it hasn’t come yet. I think about what she knows about the future and what she can tell me about the past. At dinner I take her hand and ask her if she can write down stories for me. Her face lights up and I wish I had asked her sooner. At her birthday dinner, her grandchildren drink wine and beer and cocktails. We toast her, and my grandfather. We joke about moving them into a senior living center.
Everyone asks my cousin if she has a boyfriend. She says she’s an independent woman and we laugh. Nobody asks me if I have a boyfriend. They already know the answer.
My grandma tucks me into bed. She tells me to stay up as late as I want, to sleep in as long as I want. I’m grateful for the permission because lately it’s not something I can even grant myself.
I wake up in the morning and I think about writing. I go to my job and I think about writing. I come home from work and I think about writing. I sit in bed, until it’s almost time to sleep and I think about writing until I am ready to write. When I write, it feels like I’ve filled a glass of water too full and the tap is running and water is spilling everywhere. I write until I feel at peace. Then, I tuck myself in and listen to the sounds of someone else’s voice until I go to sleep. If I didn’t do this, my own voice would keep me up nights.
I leave beds and get dressed and say I have to write. I get text messages to meet up and I say I have to write. I read on the train and suddenly feel overcome with the thought that I have to write. I write and it feels better but I feel guilty for leaving the beds and sending the texts and letting my mind wander in the middle of my book.
I walk around the city and I think about Joan Didion. I order a coffee and I think about Keats. I strike a match in my room and think about Chuck Palahniuk. I think about ripping pages from books and putting them in a blender and drinking them. I don’t tell anyone about this but I whisper it and blow the match out.
I feel hungry all the time. Sometimes sex makes it feel okay until it doesn’t. Eating never makes it feel okay. I carry around a notebook with some notes and that makes it a little better. I lay a journal on the floor beside my bed and tell myself I’ll write in it every day and then I don’t.
My friends and I become obsessed with honesty. We want to be real. We choose our words carefully and fight in the name of communication. It feels noble and grand and it makes us stronger. We choose to be friends that mean what we say. It is hard, but it is worth it. I see other friends subtweeting and I get a pit in my stomach. In my mind, every one of them is talking about me and I believe them.
Kelsey Mars is the editor-in-chief of this magazine you are reading. She is trying her hardest to get a novel published and is also writing her third manuscript. You can read her original screenplay @gothamsummer and follow her tweets @mermaidpicnic.