Monday, October 7, 2013

Yes, You Can: Part 2

I've had about a week to think about my story-swapping-you-should-write-this conversation with Chris and Roxxi and Mark. I've come to a few conclusions.

I'm not altogether sure when or how I adopted the supportive attitude toward other writers, would-be writers or some day in the distance want to become writers. It may go all the way back to Vance Aandahl at Metro State. He was about as supportive as they come. Even if a student struggled to write three very terrible sentences during a directed writing workshop, Vance would find kind words to say about something. He would mention the highlights and how, should the student feel inclined to pursuit that particularly bad three sentence struggle, one could capitalize on the good. He was disarming, gentle and ultimately kind and loving. I think Vance understood that writing is not easy.

I may have adopted the supportive attitude during my brief reign in Tucson, Arizona. As many of you know from my series Waiting for Life in Tucson, Arizona I had a wonderful network there. My network, ultimately came down to one person, Juliana Spallhloz. She invited me to poetry circles, she served me endless cups of tea and glasses of beer as we discussed our words. She made me feel like my time writing was not lost time and that my words were the ultimate work of all mankind.

I may have adopted the supportive attitude during my time at Goddard College. As I look back on my graduate school experience, I realize now, just now, how very cool it was. We were all in this struggle together, but not a single pair of us shared the same struggle. Strange, really strange. Everyone said kind things, and most gave good advice.

But as I'm thinking about it now, my supportive attitude is vastly different from many of those who I've met along the way. Many I've met have been kind about what has already been written. Many have been supportive and offered criticism on how they think it should be rewritten. And others have just been plain kind.

I am none of these things. Rather, by supportive attitude I am a very specific sort of supportive. I don't think feelings really work into it. In a way I wish I had kind words to say about what others share with me. In a way I wish I could celebrate the holy process of writing and see inclusion. I wish I had the encouraging urgings as part of my repertoire.

But this is just not who I am. I'm a pull yourself by the bootstraps sort of supportive. I am get it going, because that's how it's going to get done sort of supportive. I am a just write it down because that's what you do, what you're supposed to do sort of supportive. I feel, and I really do feel that the rest of the population is not worthy of your worry, not worthy of your praise. I believe that when faced with it you have only two things to do: make love and make art. And, unfortunately, those who do not do this have less purpose on this world than Earthworms. Earthworms, at least, preform a function. Human beings who do not make love and make art are not leaving anything remotely worthwhile behind. Rather they are consuming resources and leaving waste in their wake. Unfortunately enough, that fucking to-go corporate coffee cup they drank out of this morning will still be present in the landfill long after their body has decayed.

I digress.

Make love. Make art. Write it all down. And know this, if today is your first day, whatever you write today you will find silly, trite and embarrassing 20 years from now. This does not lessen the importance of the act, your process or your purpose. I believe this: if you have to be chained to an institution, should it not be one of you're own invention.

I urge you to write a page today. Write one tomorrow. In a year you'll have 365 pages. And in twenty years you'll have 7,305 pages. Believe me, not all of them need to be any good.

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