Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why I Write

It is downright sexy to write in a coffee shop. Downright mythic. Maybe this is only the way a writer can feel. Writers are funny because it’s something that you can play at. Nobody plays at being a mathematician. You either is or you isn’t. But the masses can fancy themselves a writer. They can slum it for an evening or a weekend. Perhaps because the act is so private (no one has to know but you, the pen and God) it’s hard to separate the pretenders from the craftsmen. I’m done trying to figure myself out. Too exhausting. I’ve settled for the following: For some goddamn reason, though I have fought and kicked, though I have curled into a ball of depression on the floor and swore to a thousand gods that I am a talentless whelp who has no hope of redemption via the arranging of letters; despite these things, like a dog to its vomit I return to the blank page. Most of the time I only show up to say “I’m here. I’m here and I don’t have much to say. I can’t think of anything. I don’t know why I do this. Why do I do this? I don’t have anything to say.” 

I say this sometimes and I’m fairly certain it is true: I wish I was free of the curse. I just wish I could let go. I wish the demon perched somewhere in my skull would release his grip, and the assurance that I am not a writer would wash down over me like baptismal waters. And I would be free to go pursue other interests guilt free. 

Just as you cannot erase words etched in stone, I cannot eliminate the angst of the writer from the bowels of my soul.

I employ the antiquated term “soul” because I still believe in it. I’m forced to believe in it because I can feel it peering out at me at night, in the quiet places, in the bump and shove and minute negotiations of existence. Just as I believe in my arms, so I believe in the soul. I can’t really make a good argument for why I believe there is transcendence in the universe. I’m so bound up in it that all I can really say to people is, “here, put on my skin, this is what it feels like to live in a universe that God inhabits.” It’s damning and awful and terribly beautiful. 

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