Wednesday, October 26, 2016
You capture the germ of something. It's good. You work fast. Everything is lucid and frank. Nothing extra, nothing wasted.
You wait a bit and add more. It's bad. There's only one thing to do. Throw out the new, bad stuff. Leave it, and you'll ruin everything.
The first few sentences are still perfect. There lies the beauty. There lies the problem.
You labor a bit. It's fruitless. You have somewhere to be, so you go.
You forget about it for a while. You work on other things. The other things write themselves.
This beginning, this jewel of a thing hangs in the air. Until you find the proper middle and end that is where it will stay, suspended and waiting.
You're eager, but that won't get it done. Patience is what you need. You also must be ready to act quickly. Words sometimes arrive unbidden and unexpected.
Completion of this cultivated prose lies with the self that goes off script while doing the dishes. The shower is a think tank. So is the track.
You rein in this runaway train when it comes to paperwork, bills, forms and mathematics. You accommodate. You wish it were different. But you also treasure. For you, the wordsmith, that reckless vehicle is pure gold.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
That said, I've exhausted myself.
I'd love to be easygoing. I'd love to stop thinking about the same things again and again. I'd love my brain to just shut up. It would also be good idea to shut up in general.
My feelings get hurt easily. I worry. I crave foods from my childhood at inopportune moments. I'm a lousy traveler.
I make a lot of lists. If I do not have access to the lists for any reason, then I remember nothing.
I have trouble with transitions. I'm sensitive to all substances. When my doctor prescribes something to me he gives me a smaller dose than other people.
I laugh really loud and people turn around and stare. Okay, that's actually a good thing. I have an infectious sense of humor. If I didn't have that, I'd probably be dead.
From the archives:
Saturday, October 15, 2016
I don't care what your plans are for the election. I wrote this for you.
If you are sitting out the election, this is for you. Not voting may look like doing nothing. By making this choice you are doing something.
If you are voting for Clinton or Trump, this is for you. The more enthusiasm you bring to the table for either of these candidates, the more I want you to listen.
If you're dragging your feet to the polls to vote for the lesser of the evils because your preferred candidate did not win the nomination in the primary, this is for you.
If you are settling for the lesser of the evils because of the past or present behaviors of either major candidate, then this is for you.
If you are the undecided voter, keep this in mind as you live your way into a answer. Listening to me might make it easier.
If you are voting for a third party candidate to make a statement, then this is for you. If you are voting for a third party candidate because you think this person will gather a groundswell of support and win this election, this is for you.
If you've put a decal on your car, a sign on your lawn or shared something on social media about your preferred candidate, then this is for you.
If you've kept your plans steadfastly to yourself, you're not off the hook. You have an inner life. This is for you.
Vote. Or not.
Just don't drink the Kool-Aid.
Any action you take on Election Day can be done without opening that packet, mixing it with water, adding in ice, pouring a big glass and drinking it.
The Kool-Aid Man will come to your house, bust through your wall and create a whole lot of havoc with a big smile on his face if you let him.
Things will be a lot easier for you now if you think about this stuff. Not drinking the Kool-Aid will make those days and weeks after the election better whether your preferred candidate wins or not.
And lest you think I am talking about somebody else, Kool-Aid comes in all flavors. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump. Jill Stein. Nobody's Good Enough For Me Flavor is still Kool-Aid if you make it and drink it.
The good news about analogies is that you can do things metaphorically that are difficult to do literally.
If you already drank the Kool-Aid take a few minutes now to un-drink it.
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Monday, September 26, 2016
I recognize somebody walking down the street. It's bustling. I say a quick hello and smile. Nothing.
I see him again in the subway. I give a little wave. Again, nothing.
This is a friend of a friend. He doesn't know me well enough to be angry with me.
This happens with this guy semi-frequently. We travel in some of the same circles at the same time. I am accustomed to giving a fast, non-invasive greeting when I know somebody. Nothing overwhelming. If he's worried that I want to have a conversation with him, he needn't be.
I go over the social strata that I travel in. It is indeed customary to say hello when you see someone you know even a little bit in a public place. I ran into another guy earlier, someone I know even less. That was an entirely different reception. What a difference! This guy seemed delighted - enchanted, even.
I speculate that the unfriendly man doesn't have peripheral vision. I speculate that he has a rare disorder where you cannot recognize faces in public.
Before considering early onset dementia and autism spectrum disorders, I quit it. I must face facts. There is a commonplace explanation for what is going on. And since I've had an extremely good and relaxing day I take my epiphany rather well.
The friend of a friend doesn't like me. He does not want to exchange even the smallest of pleasantries.
Not everybody is going to like me.
This feels liberating so I take it a bit further.
Not everybody is going to like my photography. Not everybody is going to like my writing. Not everybody is going to like the collages I make.
If I go out to a restaurant with Jeremy and dress up, many people will like my outfit. But not everyone. Some people will think it looks like crap.
I am not Beyoncé. I am not to everyone's taste. I'm like a sister to a lot of guys. But a few men find me sexually attractive. I'm either an acquired taste, or a highly specialized one. I'm good with it.
For some I'm funny. For others, I'm annoying.
So after having an unusually satisfactory day and thinking about it much longer and in greater detail and with more analogies than necessary I was a calm, non-attached observer to the friend of a friend liking my friends very much and me not at all.
It didn't even bother me that I previously thought he liked me well enough and that I misjudged the situation.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016
Hands are to clasp.
Paper to crease, in two, then four.
Thread is to sew.
The fabric to warm, to reign.
What once was asunder.
What once lay splayed and wrecked.
Get me the lamp.
Fetch the bandages, the salve.
I can't do this on my own.
I can't fix it in the dark.
May I weld hot and straight.
May I cobble.
Rough hewn and jaunty.
It doesn't matter how it's done.
As long as it snaps shut.
Sure in itself, sure of you.
Affix, iron smooth.
Pull apart, undo.
Only if you can knit together.
Purl one, purl two.
More beauteous and bountiful than before.
Words to cajole.
That dollop of honey.
Lap it up, scrape the jar.
The repast is yours.
Take your time, for sweet after bitter.
Is better than sugar alone.
Procure me the finer things.
Cashmere wool, marbled paper.
Trained eyes, a wide wood table.
A window to let in the sun.
And a pretty curtain to keep it out.
Barter the merchants, best you can.
But I'll work with whatever you have.
For me, this provider, this job doer.
Even the cheap tools will do.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Somebody will seem perfect. They achieve something you've tried in vain to pull off. You feel the smack of comparison. You're lacking. And worse, now you have an audience.
The competent individual is not a better person. They've done this dazzling thing because they can. They can, so they do. You would if you could.
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Monday, August 29, 2016
I won't talk about faces
I've had quite enough of them.
This is my providence.
So here, I do what I want.
I'll write of a landscape.
The color of dried mud.
It goes on forever, this vista.
That's what makes it barren.
That's what makes it heavy to carry.
Or maybe it's an abstract.
Crafted by clumsy hands.
Wielding churlish colors straight from the tube.
Too lazy and sullen to mix them.
Or maybe they like that ugly purple.
Bruised and stiff, if sore were a shade.
They would, wouldn't they?
Believe me, I remember that coverlet.
Laid upon me, such as it is.
A cheap, thin blanket, lousy with thistle
Smelling of mildew and blood.
It's brutal silence
Tight lipped and cool
It's fixed in stone.
Anything else got buried long ago,
With the dead birds and the goldfish.
The backstage of the carnival is always worse to bear.
Than even the part we see, dizzy and swirling.
Why do they come day after hot day?
Year after year?
I said that I wouldn't.
But it seeps around the edges of things.
Wounds festered through the bandage.
Faces aren't welcome here.
But look, I talked about them anyway.
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