Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The 4am Writing Argument

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This is what becomes of sleepless doubt about the direction ones writing should take.

Is there an explanation for everything, even the illogical? Our lives are a series of decisions harboring consequences like a loaded gun in a game of Russian roulette. No matter, in the end someone else will make a decision which will in turn become a tsunami of choices which affect you. You can’t excuse whatever decision you’re left with, because…wait for it…you still have a choice to make either way. The argument comes undone. In the end the only thing anyone can honestly depict, is how they react to the consequences.

“You should write.”

I can’t help but glare at the owner of those last words. Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me something I haven’t told myself at least a half dozen times on any given day. The words reverberate along my ribcage like a zydeco washboard; Write the violence, the deafness, take your readers on a journey through a world of silence. Do you know how much money people make on feel good books? And why would I even want to write one. I scoff, because…

I never wanted to write, I didn’t choose this. My world is a tidal wave of illogical sequences. Life is easy to write into a sonnet. Fiction? Fiction is the bellows to the flame beneath an unreality which carries more truth than not. Fiction is the expose.

“This”, my hand waves in a wide arch to encompass everything, “is the sum of consequences.” A vessel in which I poured everything out chapter by chapter, one word after another, for no other reason but to hear myself.  Somehow in the idyllic fuckery that became of wrong choices and consequences (my life), I learned to write my readers into the story, one synapse after another. No it wasn’t enough to merely evict my demons, I went ahead and unwittingly discovered a whole new world beneath the surface of my silence, and decided to take you along. Yes, you, the modest reader who found me wanting and said I wrote in such a way, you felt my misery, my pain, my sense of wonder, and every epitaph. Love was also sewn within the tapestry like a silver lining for life and second chances and all the emotional dogma that exist.

You’re the consequence.  That’s the epiphany. Every decision you’ve ever made in your life led to one arbitrary consequence after another. You’re the sum of your choices. 

“So if you don’t want to write about those things, what then?” What other choice is there, it’s not a matter of wanting, but everything to do with need. The need exist to write. Remember my analogy about the loaded gun in a game of Russian roulette? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

Ah, I’m so fucking loud in between these words. The untethered scream is my filet skin pulled back to exposed nerves revelation. The ambience is in the typing, the letting go. You can’t dictate what gets written, that choice remains mine. I’m unwieldy with the terms, those consequences will arrive in due time. Instead, let me take you into the bowels of visceral horror; I’m comfortable among the dreaded and fearful words. Who can't help but recognize the monsters in human guise. Familiarity creates a wide berth for exploration.

Two sides of a coin, heads poetic hope or tails the shades of darkness, whereas you may need to hold my hand or lose your way. We all have choices and must pay the tithe.

I never chose to write, but I do. The question remains…can I?

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."- Franz Kafka in a letter to Oskar Pollak (27 January 1904)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Where The Words Went

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~ Ana├»s Nin

It’s been a while since you’ve been gone. The ache remains, a festering raw wound that I imagine will never fully heal. I can’t help but rake nails across my heart, ripping scabs and bleeding all over everything. Some days it’s the only way I know I’m still alive, the wound weeps. I feel so damn guilty sometimes because I’m still here and you… were far more worthy of this life than I.

You taught me better than that.

Dejan Stojanovic wrote, “There are no clear borders, only merging invisible to the sight.” Life and death overlap and in-between are those who love. I’m stronger now. Do you know the words went away with you? Guilt may be to blame in part. Why breathe life into words, bereft of you? Hell, I made my therapist cry. I had sufficient words for sorrow, absence, loss, and so much raw sewage of hatred, but I felt with such an intensity, he couldn’t escape the emotional seepage.

You know all this, how could you not. I buried it so deep inside that cartilage I called a heart; forgetting for a time I was drowning you. Time is an awkward teacher beating around the bush, until an opening presents room for a lesson. Time…three years later and I get it. The words will keep you and I alive. Even when the silence is so freaking loud without you here.

I owe you my life, a life I was willing to forfeit in lieu of this mute stillness. Because of you I learned calm existed in the gathering quiet of my deaf psyche. I miss you, there are no words for that kind of absence. You were spiritual, beyond understanding, a being of grace wrapped in the fur of a dog. I saw a picture of a man holding his beloved pup today, wailing, so much anguish on his face. His friend died in his arms. I recognized myself and bled a thousand more tears.

Alive is a state of self, soul, a spiral in continuous movement. During the winter snow piled on the head of your statue and I smiled for in some form you were there, along with a barking Bjarki and Yazhi. They both share parts of you. Bjarki is the protector, the one who feels everything with his whole being, the klutz, and the giant lap sitter. Yazhi has your gentle disposition, the feral cat whisperer, the hand (paw) holder, and long ear indignity. Life gives me small windows of you in the most unlikely places.

I’m okay. I’ve learned to stand up for myself against indifference toward my deafness. In those moments, I feel you beside me leaning in close as if my four legged side-kick were still there lending encouragement. I learned strength and perseverance from you and I couldn’t care less if anyone knows what that construes, outside you and I.

The words keep you alive, as long as I write there you are.

*For those who may not know, Pickles was my working dog for the deaf. She was also a Katrina survivor. The only reason I survived those first few years of my deafness was because of her unfailing guidance and love.  She did more for me than any human being possibly could have. Pickles passed away without warning from Acute Leukemia three years ago. My words went with her…

“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
 John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


Sunday, May 10, 2015

This I Know...

My first thought this morning was, “Today will be what the day brings.”

Mother’s Day - awkward, loathing, disdain, and a bunch of other nonsensical narrative comes to mind whenever the day arrives.  As far as mothers go, I haven’t seen mine since I walked out the door at sixteen and never looked back. Oh, there were the occasional calls on my birthday to check and see if this was the year I would be saved, but even those petered off as the years went by. No regrets though, I was very much in the act of saving myself all these long years, not exactly what she had in mind; still there is a kind of theatrical karma to that statement isn’t there? I wish the deterrent to a mother/daughter relationship stemmed from nothing more than religious prevarication. Alas, no, safe to say everyone else’s normal will never be my normal; a comfortable acceptable reality, to be honest.

“I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one, who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.” | Hermann Hesse, Demian

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Not surprisingly the day found me in the car alternating between Johnny Cash and Jaco Pastorius turned up way high (got to have that bass thrum for my deaf ears to hear), back country mountain roads and dandelion field euphoria. I found myself standing in front of a grave with Rock Rose (Red Dragon) flowers for the only mother I had ever known, brushing lichen off her gravestone. Grace, respect, compassion… all the things my natural mother lacked; this woman bestowed on me for three years. I miss her. She embodied motherhood. This day belongs to women like her.

“Today will be what the day brings.”

Only I hold the key to the gateway to my heart. There are those kindred souls who deserve entrance, to be remembered for the lessons they bestow, the love, and empathy they held in high regard. We each of us choose who is deserving of our heart. There is a woman with a Rock Rose in front of her grave, I call her mother. ~ Sage

*This is dedicated to the three natural children Mom had. I will forever be fortunate she considered me one of her own.