Is this what the novelists meant by ennui?

In the evening of the day I went to the Hazlitt office to interview Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about her new novel, Americanah , I came home and wrote a very angry blog post. I published it, then made it private, published it again, and eventually relegated it to permanent draft status. I've since come up with a guide to circumventing that kind of needless anguish: if in doubt, don't fucking publish.

Just before sitting down to talk with Adichie I had come across something useless via social media that I took as a major slight. I rode my bike down Church breathing huge gulps of wind, knuckles tight around my pink handlebars, thinking all the while how easy it would be to just swerve into traffic and make something, ANYTHING, happen that wasn't this feeling. Nuts, right? Obviously I did nothing - how do you see it? Am I brave or a coward? - and met Anshuman at the office door on the brink of tears. After composing myself in the bathroom (meaning: carefully sopping up brimming tears with toilet paper so my blush wouldn't streak) I emerged and went into #beastmode.

Adichie uncoiled during our 40-minute interview, which made me feel very bawse-like. It was a lovely chat. If I had workaholic tendencies I could see myself escaping the vagaries of my personal life through work, to my own demise. Luckily I am perpetually ensconced in my feelings; work, and only satisfying work, is just a temporary salve.

And so I came home and wrote a thing, because this is what Adichie told me:

"I feel grateful to be read but I would be writing anyway, even if I wasn’t fortunate enough to be published. Writing matters to me. My sense of meaning comes from my ability to write."  

Read the interview here. 


Short Stories - On The Way