Writing Practice – 4/16/2018 – Please

Please…

Please. Pleas. Bargains. Questions. Hopes. Dreams. Recognition of power. “If it may please you,” means nothing more than “You have the power in this relationship. I bow to that power, and I beseech you to stop down off your throne of authority, I beg you to reach into the cesspool that is my life, I implore you to darken your flesh with the stench of my own experience, I fall on your good graces, I humbly lower my head in shame at what I am, unequal, unworthy, and I place myself at your mercy.”

Please – a simple word, with much power. With power, and authority, and tradition behind it. And it, too, it has magic. Is that not what we tell our children? “What’s the magic word?” “Say, ‘Please,’ and you can have it.” Are we teaching them that we are the authority, or that they are? Aren’t we instilling within them, by our insistence that they say “please” and “Thank you,” that anything in the world can be theirs, just for the asking? What a horrible set-up we’re putting on them. What a terrible failure of expectations they are about to receive, when they get out into the “real world”, (however that may be defined, wherever that really is, whenever that happens to show up), when they get out there and they find their selfish conceit confronted by another, who, just as selfish, just as conceited, has also grasped onto that bright, shiny, attractive thing and refuses to let go.

Now it is a struggle – of wits, of pleas, of “please” and “thank you,” a battle to see who will back down, who will surrender, whose will shall crumble under the onslaught, the greater resolve of the other, finally triumphing, when one finally gives up, gives in, lets go, says, “fine, you can have it,” and the victory dance from the other, the triumphant exultative “Yahaaa!”, the jump for joy, the enjoyment of the shiny thing, becomes a final crushing blow, eliminating any chance of future happiness, because, once and for all, the blinders that we, as well-intentioned but incredibly naive parents installed through our teaching, of “magic” words, dissolve, allowing the poor, helpless, drifting, lonely child to see the world as it truly is – cold, calculated, measured, survival not of the fittest but governed by a different law – “survival of the survivors.” Rough awakening, to be sure. And those who do wake will at least be one slight step ahead of those who don’t. They will need it. They will need all of it.

Writing Practice – 4/11/2018 – Why I Write

A commentor asked me, “Is that not why you write?”

So, why do I write? The perpetual question. I ask this of myself ten times a year, at least. I never been able to answer it to my own satisfaction.

 

I write because I love the feeling of a pen in my hand – I love the feeling of creating, of bringing something out of nothing. I love the idea that my pen is a pregnancy, and my moving it along the page is a birthing, a resurrection, an excavation discovering hidden treasures beneath the surface.

See that blank page down there? Below these lines? That is opportunity. That is promise. That is fear, and hope together in one. That is a myriad of possibilities waiting to be explored, and as I cover the surface, as I bleed out ink onto crushed tree pulp, as I hesitate and start up again, as I continue to seek for the letting go, all of those possibilities that weren’t realized disappear – they break off and float out into the ether, waiting perhaps to be captured by some other stroke of another pen some other time. But – more likely, to continue to drift into the infinity, to expand and fall away, not down, but “away”, for they are further and further from each other.

Farther and farther from everything else, out beyond the reach, out into the solitude, out into the expanse, out into the void, where nothing is, where nothing was, where nothing came and nothing is going. Out there, it is alone, and it is forever alone. Even darkness abandons such places, not to be replaced with light, but taking with it the idea of light, the memory of light, the conception that there could be something other than darkness, not even so much that it is gone but that it never was, never could be, never would have been, never even existed as a potentiality in the minds of the greatest theoreticians this world has ever known.

So – I write to save. I write to redeem at least one idea, one experience, from the cold, pointless, suffering exhaustive death of obscurity, the drifted-away-forever experience. I allow all the other potentialities to suffer. I cannot save them all.

I cannot even save two. But I can save one. I can bring it to the surface. I can expose and create and birth it once, and for myself, and for others, and as a result, I can make the slightest recompense, the single absolution of regret for all those other ideas which I abandoned, with my tiny, insincere, insecure “Sorry, but I just couldn’t,” and they will drift away, they will expand and wave goodbye, resigned to their fates, and I will cradle my idea to my chest. I will love and cherish my actuality, and I will mourn those potentialities, for a moment, for a day, until they are so unceremoniously replaced, once again, with the next –

blank –

sheet.

What Should I Write About?

So, usually my writing practice topics are just made up on the spot. Occasionally I’ll do a series – See “Love Is…” (1) through (10).

Sometimes I’ll take a line from another piece of work and go with that. This is a good example: [from “In The Zoo” by Jean Stanford]

Other times I’ll just start with “I feel…” or “I smell…” and write about what’s immediately around me.

And then there are the lists of writing topics. Usually pretty soon after I start a new notebook I’ll have a day where my writing practice is just “write a list of writing topics”, and when I don’t have something in mind I can come to this page, close my eyes, point a finger somewhere, and see what happens. When I’m writing those lists, they might look like this: (these are all from 3/11/2018)

  • Write about a tree.
  • Write about family trees.
  • Write about family obligations.
  • Write about family reunions.
  • Write about class reunions.
  • Write about low-class reunions.
  • Write about high-class reunions.
  • Write about “putting on airs.”
  • Write about “putting on heirs.”
  • Write about “putting on hairs.”
  • Write about artificiality.
  • Write about superficiality.
  • Write about boob jobs.
  • Why haven’t penis enlargement surgeries received the same kind of market saturation as boob jobs?
  • How far would you go to achieve your happiness?
  • How much of yourself are you willing to change for someone you love?
  • etcetera etcetera …

Obviously I’m not going to write about all of these topics. I probably won’t write about more than 4 or 5 before this notebook is filled and I move to the next one. But the process helps me think of connections, helps to identify associations that might not have been readily present for most people.

So … I want to ask you, readers … What do you think I should write about? Leave a comment, and I’ll use those as prompts in the next couple of weeks. What greatness might we cultivate together?

Writing Practice – 4/8/2018

Inspired by Ursula K. Le Guin, Finding My Elegy, p 47.

Between us

is neither forgiveness

nor reparation

but only the sea waves, the sea wind.

 

Between us is a gulf

a vastness

a distance compounded by time,

that destroys consciousness with pity.

 

Between us is

nothing,

for we are bonded like ionic or

covalence or convalescents,

In a place not of our choosing,

surrounded by life not of our design.

 

Between us is

a rift, years old and fights wide,

stretched with each faint slight,

Deepened with each perceived snub,

Darkened with each impassioned plea for reconnection,

because of feelings of duty, an honor, and hobligation.

 

Between us is

a coffee table, with

two coffee cups, and

twelve ounces of coffee, and

three lumps of sugar in one,

and a dash of honey and two

creams in the other,

and two coasters, round, woven of some

brown wood-like material, gently

warming under the influence of

the mugs, and

two spoons, dripping, slowly dripping,

tendrils down their curved undersides

to pool on the ceramic surface of the table, and

a handful of napkins, unused, and

six minutes worth of tears, and

the unrealized expectations you

have now deposited upon that ceramic surface, seemingly designed for only this purpose, to comfort you, to catch your fall, to hold you up after I’ve done the incomprehensible, the unimaginable, the terrible, and told you I can’t have a baby with you, I won’t have a baby with you,

I already had a pregnancy with

you and I don’t any more.

Writing Practice – 4/4/2018 – Down and Out

Write about “Down and Out”…

Down – because the default is “up”, is upright, is standing, erect, ready, powerful, or at least appearing to be. Up, as in, upstanding, as in, upright, as in, uptight, as in, upset, as in, unsettling, as in, unsettled, as in, resettled, as in, reconnected, as in, restructured, as in, reconditioned, as in, reevaluated, as in, returned.

And. A conjunction. A contraction? No – just a way to connect two things. Thing one AND thing two. Thing three AND thing four. Things one hundred through one hundred ninety-nine AND Things two hundred through two hundred ninety-nine. together. Inseparable. Unbreakable. Once conjoined, never to be individuals again. This AND that. So much power. So much authority through so little an experience.

Out. Not in. Out. not special – not part of the elite, the chosen ones, the unique group of select few who shall become the ruling class after the uprising has run its course. Out. Out of touch. Out of line. Out of the habit. Negativity. Uncertainty; impropriety. Out of control, out of rhythm, out of the box. Anything good begins with “out”? Out of your mind? Nope. Out of this world? Closest thing to a non-negative, and that’s basically saying it’s just neutral.

Down – the low, the fallen, the ones whose position has been stripped of all authority.

Out – those who are no longer part of the inner circle.

AND – Bringing them together. The ones who once were high and now have been brought low, AND they are not privy to the special dispensations available as they one were. Oh, poor, pitiful them. Oh, weep for them, you fortunate souls, and tell your children and grandchildren their tales as a warning, as a behavioral modifier. “Beware, less you fall out of grace, like the DOWN AND OUTS!” Pity them, use them as a reprimand, but do not get too close – you would not wish their taint, their stain, to ruin your pristine image, too. After all, you have the UP AND IN status you have inherited to maintain. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to you. So be careful. Observe, warn, stay away, ensure you don’t catch their misery upon your lives as well.

Writing Practice – 3/27/2018

(Today’ s writing practice session did not begin with a prompt. I simply started to write.)

To start a writing practice session, I always do two things, though not always in the same order. I review the Rules for Writing Practice – keep your hand moving, don’t think, don’t get logical, lose control, go for the jugular. And I imagine myself inside my own brain, a flat bottom and a half-oblong dome above me, grey, and I have a paint roller in my hand. I dip it into a bucket of white paint and use that to cover the inside of my a brain with whiteness, blankness, cleanness, renewal, readiness for the experience of writing. Once all of the surface has been covered, strip, strip, along the bottom – working my way from the middle, next, next, next, out to the edge, along a Mohawk strip on the top, next, next, clear around to the curve to the edge, when it meets the floor, painting, covering, all in white a canvas, in preparation.

Then I am ready to write. To burn through to first thoughts. To offer myself to my Muse, wherever he is that day, if He will choose to show up or not, if he will deign to stoop down and place a soft, reassuring touch on my shoulder, if he will whisper, warm, tickling breath in my ear, “Yes, go, get that, follow that thought, chase it, don’t let it escape, pursue, continue, persist, never, ever, ever let go, find it, fight it, kill it, master it, turn it, transform it, tame it, succumb it to your power, to your authority, to your will, do not relent, do not release, do not avoid when the subject turns delicate, or embarrassing, or insecure, for you are to know that you are the one in control, you are the one from whom all these blessings flow, you are the god in this world, this world you have created, this universe at the tip of your pen, you are the Alpha and the Omega, what you bring about here shall live in mythology and archaeology and your subjects’ anthropologies for as long as they exist, for you are a deity far above all others, you have the power to build up, to tear down, to keep, to preserve, to destroy, to eliminate, to mould and fashion and to remake and to evolve, you are the thing in this world that all other things are subject to, and so therefore with such great authority comes great responsibility, an awareness of self, an introspection of your power, your ability, your authority, and your standing in this world, that world, that experience, you have power and authority, yes, so choose wisely, choose judiciously, make with circumspection and introspection and valor and virtue, for what you make, what you destroy, what you build and what you tear down become your legacy, your history, to the universe above you, the god who sits judging you for your godhood shall weigh your actions, your perseverance, your perversity or magnanimity and he, she it, they too shall judge, with the same measure as which you used to judge, so take care, be wise, be well, and do good work.”

Writing Practice – 3/20/18 – Bad News

Write about bad news…

It’s worse when the delivery is poor, too. It’s easy to hear when it comes from someone who loves you, who cares about you, who will be there to hold you after the revelations sink in and your heart has disintegrated into the void in your chest at the announcement. Because then you have someone to be there while you stumble through the next few moments, the next days, as you struggle to understand, to experience; as you fight to perform the monumental task of keeping on, keeping going, when all you want to do in the face of such insurmountable odds is to walk away.

Bad news is not the opposite of good news. Good news makes you happy. It’s on a spectrum, an axis, a dimension. Sad on one end, happy on the other. So good news drives you along the happy-sad line from less happy to more happy. It’s maybe linear, maybe exponential, maybe logarithmic, maybe discontinuous. But at least it’s on that path, that pattern, a graphable subset of the whole.

Bad news, though, that shit is a different breed. It doesn’t do the opposite as good news. It doesn’t drive us down that axis, doesn’t make us sad, doesn’t make us less happy. Bad news is an altogether different bitch.

Bad news incites feelings of revolution, of betrayal, of hatred, of incompetence. It is not on the happy/sad spectrum – it is not on any axis at all.

Not perpendicular – not even a dimension at all. Bad news brings feelings completely uncorrelated to the news itself. It brings inspires installs turbulence within the spirit.

It enlightens destructive tendencies, destruction to self, destruction to environment, destruction to imagination, destruction to hope. Bad news irradiates the possibilities of future happiness with ultraviolet, emotion-destroying, logically-consistent-and-yet-absolutely-incomprehensible emotionless arguments.

Bad news fucks you up. And not in ways that can be protected against. There is no “bad news life preserver.” No “this is gonna fuck up your head, so grab an emotional prophylactic” condom. It is not random, not linear, not predictable, and yet also not incomprehensible.

Bad news is bad – not for the outcome, but for the period in between, that space, that time, those days or weeks or months from the time when you first hear it and the last acts are complete. “Oh, he’ll die in 2 months.” Well, then, my life is a shitshow for 2 months and for twenty years after, as the echoes of that bad news reverberate through the empty chambers of my heart forever.

Bad news. It’s bad news, man. It’s the torture that just keeps giving, long after it should have stopped, long after the events unfolded. Long after the “healing” is done. Long after the heart has moved along, the society has moved along, long after your counselor says “I think you’re good here,” long after the surface scars have healed. Bad news is a poison waiting, slowly working, beneath the surface, eating out the insides in a perpetual, relentless destruction of the body from the soul outward.