I have two categories of things in my life: those that I am able to stop and start again, and those that I am not.
I am able to stop and start again when I go for a run. I forgive myself for this. I am not that big a runner. Once my sister and I ran a marathon. I stopped and started again. It took us a full five hours, which I think is harder than running a fast marathon. I usually start running again when I get new running shoes. I usually start and stop running again on Mondays.
I am not able to stop and start again when I am feeling upset. I don’t forgive myself for this. I am moved by my emotions. I don’t know how to make them start or stop, but they’re on or off and they stay that way. I am always starting to work on this, until my emotions make me stop.
I used to be able to start and stop dreams. I could tell monsters to stop chasing me; I would tell them I knew how to wake up. I think I still can start dreams – I am writing a book, and all that takes is dreaming.
I am unable to start and stop speaking. I’m always saying something I shouldn’t have started to say. I’m always interrupting. I talk during movies and I talk to pets and myself. But when I stop speaking I find it really hard to start again. The more I practice my French, the more I fall out with my native tongue, unfamiliar with the polite way to start a rude sentence, with how it is you’re supposed to say something simple to a stranger. I speak like a child: unaware I can control my own voice.
I am able to start and stop writing. Other people write things the night before, and I edit one book for years. Editing is relishing in the starting and the stopping. It’s an obsession, useful but too much. I made a childhood career of starting and stopping first pages of what I imagined to be stories. They were always just first pages, nuggets of character introductions to what ended up being really just the same character. I remember thinking I was bad at plot, only good at starting and then stopping stories before they became anything like real life.