The private struggles of a writer, his burdens and cares, are like those of anyone. At the same time, he is given a choice: he can write about them, or not write about them. The choice itself is a burden, for one is no more wrong or right than the other; both are right; both are wrong; one is an affront to his fellow humans; the other is an affront to himself; and, in some instances, one choice masquerades as the other. Not writing is a wily confession of sorts; writing is no guarantee of arriving at or revealing the truth. In the end, a writer can even pretend he is writing, or be fully convinced he is writing, while in fact he is doing no such thing; instead he is performing; he is leaving things out or adding them in; he is misjudging or assigning them misleading values; this is complicated by the fact that his fictive nonfiction is no more reliable than his memory, and that his memory is prey to its own fiction. Try being a writer — even if you are one. Try telling the truth, if you are courageous enough to know what it is. Try not to tell it, and see what it does to your body and mind the longer it is kept within. Try not being a writer, or whatever it is you think you might be. The simple truth is all anyone needs. A warm naked body; a tear and a smile.
November 21, 2019. Afternoon.
Between the Lines
The best thing about going mad slowly
is that I’m able to write about the experience
and thereby chart my ascent.
That’s also the worst thing about it,
because it reminds me I’m not there yet.
Or am I? Am I broken, or just fatally bent?
Songs and Letters, February 13, 2008
The Painting of You, Author’s Press Series, 2009