Tomorrow, I publish the first three volumes of my collected writings. For 28 years, I've devoted my life to writing: blood, sweat, tears, heart & soul on the pages consistently - coming to it with love, fear, passion, sorrow, despair, rage, and transcendent joy - and I continue doing so still. I realize the work ahead of me. This is only the beginning. And I realize I'm not doing this for money or recognition or to be an entrepreneur or a personality or to coerce anyone to do anything. I write and now I have books for sale and to keep my head on straight about it, I liken it to making hotcakes.
I want to remove all the give and take, all the bargaining, all the rules. I keep writing books and now I'm selling them. If I made and sold hotcakes, I'd want people to buy and eat my hotcakes. They could gorge themselves on them or eat them slowly or throw them on the ground after one bite. That's up to them. They could eat them alone or share them with their friends or family or do whatever they want. But I'm going to keep making hotcakes and offering them. Have some. Buy them. Take them for free. Whatever you want. I'm going to keep making hotcakes because it's all I know to do. So have some hotcakes. I'll be here my whole life makin' hotcakes. There's no right or wrong or good or bad. Just me making hotcakes and maybe you wanting them. And maybe sometimes it's hotcakes season and maybe sometimes it isn't. But I'll be making hotcakes regardless and by hotcakes I mean books and when it comes down to it, it's no big deal. It's just me making books and everyone living their own lives and doing what they do and sometimes wanting certain kinds of books or hotcakes.
You can find out more about my hotcakes here:
Minor: Volume One The Journals of Meghan McDonnell
Novice: Volume Two The Journals of Meghan McDonnell
Limbo: Volume Three The Journals of Meghan McDonnell
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Looking back on my high school years, I feel like I was always filled with this mild existential angst and I could never locate its source. I wouldn't go back to that era if someone paid me. It's so challenging to be an adolescent; not a kid anymore but not an adult. A multi-year limbo of confusion and hormones and ennui; unsatisfying, not cathartic at all, practically voiceless. And for me it happened in the mid to late 90s. I feel overwhelming gratitude that I didn't experience cell phones, Facebook, Instagram, texting, FaceTime, and on and on as a youth. Kids have it far harder now than I did.
The following passage is me weeks before my 17th birthday, on my way to summer camp in Northern California. I was thinking of Brian, a boy I'd met in Alabama and had a crush on. I was also thinking of Matt, a guy I'd known for years but whom I'd never thought to consciously look at in a romantic or sexual way though it had always been in the back of my mind. At this stage of my life, I had never been in love. I couldn't wait to be. I couldn't wait for passion and desire and for places to channel and fulfill them.
Saturday, June 29, 1996
I’m on the plane to Sacramento. Five minutes ago, I stood at my gate and the sun was shining in the windows. Looking out on all those planes felt like it did when I was leaving Alabama. Brian and I have a link and I will see him again. He called me on Thursday night and we had the best talks. He said, “We have to keep in touch,” and I hope we do. (“I still believe she was my twin” - Bob Dylan).
I picked Emma up and we went to her house with Elizabeth. We talked and played guitar all night while I thought about Brian. I wrote Emma a letter and left it by her bed. Yesterday, I picked Margo up from Cat’s Eye Café. We went to Lincoln Park and had an awesome talk about guys, our “guy style,” and got smoky.
I drove to Oliver’s last night but he wasn’t home. I stopped by Mason’s and seeing him made me realize that I have changed and I need to be with a guy who is solid. I don’t want to live how I used to live. Not that it was so bad when I was with him, but I could have done without it.
I came home and Oliver called so I packed for my trip before driving back over there and drank a brew and chatted with him, Elise, and Matt. Some others came over and we went outside to look at the moon. Matt and I wound up sitting in the living room. He told me he was very attracted to me and said that he was seeing me in a different light. We talked about how we’ve known each other for so long but we don’t know each other. I told him I was attracted to him, too. I asked if I could write to him and he gave me his address. He walked me outside and we stood there hugging and we kissed and now I’m thinking about him and it feels good to know one back home will be thinking of me while I’m gone. We talked about how things were different the night I came to Oliver’s to hear them play a while back. All the sudden we took a look at each other.
I have no idea what awaits me for the next two weeks. I want to marry someone in Alabama and I want Matt fucking Warner. How do these things happen? After all this time, it’s safe to say I want him. I’ll write you in Cali.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
When I was a junior and senior in high school, I used to visit my sister, Elizabeth, at college on the weekends:
Sunday, June 2, 1996
I had SATs yesterday and I went shopping with my Mom. I went down to the Greyhound station and right before I boarded, I saw a beautiful guy load his bags and get on the bus. I walked on and every aisle was taken so he moved his stuff for me to sit down. I met Jude and we talked our way to Bellingham. He told me about where he’s lived (Peru, Prince Edward Island, and Kentucky). He was on his way home to his girlfriend from San Luis Obispo. We told stories about high and low times and he affected me in a good way. We exchanged numbers and I wonder if I’ll ever see him again. He wondered what he’ll be doing next year on June 1st and promised to remember me. He was beautiful and that sucks because it wasn’t like that. His shit came from the inside out. It came through in his eyes (brown “light” eyes that have seen places and things). I don’t know why I get attached to and affected by people.
Elizabeth and Martin gave him a ride home from the station. He invited us in for a bowl. His girlfriend called and sounded pissed but he was sweet to her. I said goodbye and that’s one more person to add to my memory.
Elizabeth and I went to a party and sat on the porch. I told her how soft, peaceful, and beautiful Evelyn Blackburn is now. Having cancer has changed her. I told Elizabeth I was thinking about Jude and that I feel a connection to people. She told me I realize that all human beings are part of the same huge cell. When one of us is hurt or distraught, it affects everyone.
I told Jude that I wanted to remember his face and he said, “You’ll remember,” with his silhouette against the window and the trees, like something out of On the Road. I hope I remember. After we got back from the party, I went to the lounge and chilled with Hannah and her friends. Everyone left and it was just me and Paul. He’s a cutie. I have this feeling that I need to go home and talk to Emma.
Monday, December 7, 2015
The following entry is a decent summation of my summer between sophomore and junior years in high school. Does every 16-year-old read On the Road? Is it mandatory reading for American youth?
Tuesday, August 22, 1995
I’m not mentally ready for school. I’m reading On the Road. Even when I don’t feel like it, I must write: thoughts, songs, phrases, memories, stories, poems. Tilda was supposed to come home today. She’s been gone for almost a month.
I went downtown with Tula and Emma. I saw Bradley playing at the market but we didn’t talk.
I can’t relate to who I was before this summer, from my birth to the end of spring this year. It scares me that I remember so little about wonderful (and shitty) times I’ve had. This summer was the first time that I lived in the present and dreamed about the future without looking back into the past. I feel detached from it even though I usually dwell on the past.
I was whole and peaceful this summer. That made it easy for me to meet people and experience life especially since I wasn’t letting my past bog me down. But I met Bradley and let my mind get carried away with thoughts of him.
It seems that you start out whole and full and good - and you give your mind and heart to someone and in doing so you lose those to them and become a “shell of a person.” Sometimes you think you’re giving your soul away but that is the one thing that is free and can break away from anything that makes you crazy or sad or that makes you lose your sense of self.
I want to sing and play music. There’s something awesome about playing out thoughts and emotions through an instrument. I once asked Emma and Bradley if they thought about how awesome it is that a guitar can make such beautiful sounds and that you can hear someone’s whole being in a song. They gave me weird looks and said, “No.”
I hate it when you try to say something and people don’t hear you and make you feel like a spaz. It’s funny when you write or think something bizarre and your facial expression is calm and neutral. I’m being random but I think this journal should be for my real thoughts, not just “Oh, I went to a keg and it’s December 6th and I ate an apple.”