I’m an emerging writer, and the past few hours have been confusing, liberating, and tremendously itchy. I’m frightened and coated in a strange, gelatinous material, but it feels good to be out of my cocoon. It was pretty cramped and dark, and there were several workshops in which a guy named Josh kept repeating the word “juxtaposition.” Also, every time I defecated it just sort of piled up in the empty sack of embryo below me.
I’m not really sure how I got to this stage of my development — one minute I’m in a deep, metamorphic hibernation writing Google autocomplete poems, and the next I have 16 new followers on Twitter, all of them zine editors. Now I am covered in thousands of tiny pigmented scales that shed when I drink, mate, or do a reading at a bar where only two people show up. Such is the life of a post-larval micro-novelist.
When I first emerged, I saw a crack of light. My chrysalis was breaking, exposing my newly-formed body to the elements as well as an invitation to read at an AWP panel titled “Woman Writers Who Were Once Trapped in a Cocoon of Their Own Crystalized Saliva But Now Write Advertorial Blurbs for Online Bachelors Programs: Then and Now.”
Next thing I know, I’m sitting in a Barnes & Noble Starbucks, sort of flapping my arms, trying to pump blood into my virgin extremities. Beside me lay the remnants of my pupal stage: the dead husk of my MFA-candidate form. As I surveyed my own corpse, I couldn’t help but feel a little sentimental. There she was, with her New Yorker tote bag, her chewing mouth, her sweet thorax with its pairs of disjointed legs with hooks. Her exoskeleton, so young and unprepared for the world of literary bigwigs. Her NaNoWriMo notebook. Her podcasts. Her anal forelegs.
They say once a writer has emerged there’s no going back. This makes sense because when I tried to return to my cocoon, the exterior sort of crumpled into a cloud of ethereal dust, and journals only paid me in contributor copies. Also, a surge of liquid meconium released from my anal opening — apparently this is completely normal, like imposter syndrome or the urge to immediately procreate upon exiting the chrysalis.
Anyway, here I am on the other side with an agent and a fully unrolled proboscis. Everything is sticky — maybe too sticky? — but at the same time, everything is sweet, like zinnia nectar or rotting fruit pulp.
The best part? I can poop in a toilet now.