CNF Features Writing

The Three Most Satisfying Words I Have Ever Said. EVER.

By Chelsey Clammer

photography by Anna Eastman

She asks me, “So, what do you do now?” 

She was the woman who:

  • I lived with for a summer when I was 19;
  • took me under her proverbial wing;
  • showed me the guest bedroom where I would sleep on the loveseat and keep my things for 3 months as I worked a dumb retail job and relaxed in her stress-free house away from the chaos that was my family;
  • I lived with for a blissful and exciting and loving 2 months; 
  • flipped out when I quit my job with 3 weeks of summer left so I could just write before my college classes started up again;
  • screamed that writing wasn’t a valid thing to do, screamed that I needed to get a job, screamed that I had one week to prove myself to be a good roommate or else I would have to leave; 
  • I wrote a note to that night while she was out of the house because as I was cleaning her stove post-lecture, as I was trying to do a “good roommate”-type deed, I had a moment of clarity and said to myself, “Oh fuck this,” because I didn’t need to prove myself to anyone and plus I really wanted to write so I packed my bags and I left and I wrote but I cried about the friendship that broke;
  • I then didn’t talk to for the ensuing 15 years;
  • I then reconnected with last year through a mutual friend;
  • hugged me when she saw me for the first time in 15 years;
  • stuttered around a conversation with me post-hug because we didn’t know what to talk about because of those 15 years of silence so we talked about the weather and then about her work and the dumb retail job she had; and then she
  • glanced over at my fancy Lexus car, looked back at me, eyebrows raised.

She asks me, “So, what do you do now?”

I pause. 

Breathe in a breath of triumph.

“I’m a writer.”

~~~

Chelsey Clammer is the author of Circadian (winner of the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award) and BodyHome. She is a Pushcart Prize-nominated essayist who has been published in Brevity, Salon, The Rumpus, Hobart, The Normal School, Essay Daily, The Water~Stone Review and Black Warrior Review, among many others. She teaches creative writing online with WOW! Women On Writing. Clammer holds in MFA in Creative Writing from Rainier Writing Workshop. You can read more of her writing at: www.chelseyclammer.com.

I'm a writer, editor, and blogger. My fiction has appeared in CutBank, Carve, Sou'wester, and elsewhere and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. My articles and profiles appear in university magazines and other publications. I earned an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and am the associate editor of Parhelion Literary Magazine out of Richmond. An Ohio native, I'm at work on a novel and short stories set in the Rust Belt, and I hype Midwestern authors at my blog, Rust Belt Girl.

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