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Channel Esther: Will I Write a Sentence in 2015?

Esther Cohen
December 25, 2014

by Esther Cohen

Photographs by Saul Robbins, from his series, “Found” — from the Jewish Currents art calendar

2THIS TIME OF YEAR every year
around this same week because
there is a new year which is
one of those reality illusion
things is January first any different
from December first how is forty
nine different from fifty numbers
are only absolute if you believe
they are, and I don’t I say
to Peter I’d like to talk to you
about my writing he
laughs and says I’ve heard that
before what do you want
to say? He is never impatient
with me. I’m the one
who is impatient. I want to
tell him I am older
and I’m afraid that I will
never write a good sentence
and what if I don’t. I had a
psychiatrist once who I
told that to. What if all
my sentences were bad?
It took me months
to tell her that. Go home she said
and write down as many bad
sentences as you can. I wrote
bad sentences for about
a year. The chicken clucked
one of my favorites.
I pictured a clucking chicken
named Ralph. What I want
to tell Peter maybe I’ll tell him
and maybe I won’t is that
I don’t know that I will ever
have the vocabulary and the patience
the right notebook even though
I have hundreds of notebooks
the right pen and the opportunity
I don’t know that it will be
the right year will it be 2015
and the place where the good
sentence will emerge probably
it will appear on our porch
while I am sitting on
the purple divan no springs
no springs don’t matter
I might be facing east
holding onto my favorite
grey notebook micro pen
I’ve tried many I will sit
trying hard not to think
of good sentences or bad ones
but because it will be
2015 and lets say February
early morning and because
of what happened two days
before not in the world
but in my ordinary life
and because of an email
or a phone call or Obama
or the color of roses
on the table lets say
bright deep red then
when the circumstances
line up the way moons do
then I will finally after
so many years
write my secret sentence.

Esther Cohen co-edited the Jewish Currents art calendar and is author of Book Doctor, among other fiction and non-fiction.