Being married and having a baby has made it impossible for me to be a writer anymore. I used to draw from my experiences, sordid sexual humiliations, desperate attempts at finding love that were hilarious and relatable and mortifying, crazy and complex friendships, a little work, a little alcohol, a little travel. Today I just found myself almost writing a scene that takes place in Ikea for my new novel. Ikea. Swedish meatballs and big boy beds and plastic bins. The conflict: the big plastic bins come in blue, the medium in red, and the little ones in white, and while I want two big, two medium, and two little, I don’t want a patriotic theme for my son’s room. The conflict: I have no life anymore and these bins have become the most important thing in the world to me. I have never even said or written the word “bin” one time in my life until now. In the past, filmmakers have called my books cinematic, my imagery and great locations. Now I am through.
At first I thought it was going to Ikea itself and not being married that ended it for me as a writer. Clearly it’s dangerous for a writer, or anyone really, to walk into a place like Ikea. But now I remember that I had been to Ikea one other time in my life and came out unscathed. Years ago, I went in someone’s van with my then-friend Sandra and some beautiful Italian men who had just moved in next door to her and we laughed and made out on the beds and bought nothing, vowing obviously never to go back. I went on to write three novels and never once did Ikea creep into the margins. So I can only reason that it’s marriage that’s ruined me. Or, it is possible that a person can survive Ikea once, but not twice.
When we got home from Ikea, my exhausted two year old son sat crying on the stairs in my apartment. He pounded the top step over and over again and screamed, “Damnit, damnit, damnit, damnit, damnit.” And I thought, look what I've done to us.