#iwritebecause #whyiwrite #Imawriter
I love reading autobographies and memoirs of people…anywhere from an activist to a businessperson to a first woman CEO to writers…but especially writers.
The weird thing of writers that I do not get sucked into is that there is a lot of mental illness and suicide in these stories.
I don’t suffer depression…though as a human I have gone to therapy (two divorces it was just smart) and have “blue moments” (bad things happen in life, we should feel them) but I do write and in writing I can all too easily step into the shoes of my characters or draw on my own moments in life. I have written for a lot longer than people realize. I was first published at age twelve and thirteen in three poetry lit magazines and three books. I warded off poetry for a very long time. I attempted a few poetry slams and readings and frankly I purely hated reading and hearing poetry.
Weirdly , at age thirty-three/four I have come back to finding myself writing it again from time to time. But I remembered what had started the descent of my poetry. I wasn’t depressed. My poetry wasn’t depressed. And then this;
Once on a date in NY, I was sixteen and went to this guys apartment in Brooklyn (hey…what sixteen year old makes the greatest decisions?) I didn’t get raped or murdered but I did have to listen to his “oh I write poetry…do you want to hear some?” Which, btw, is a completely rhetorical question because said person who asks such question will proceed to break out a stack of ratty notebooks and then make you sit and listen as he reads poem after poem of…his ex-girlfriend who broke his heart and about how he often thought of jumping off a tall building because of it and…he would never love again. I would have chosen murder (wasn’t quite on the sex scene then but this guy sure wans’t about to be the first.)
Me…being my fearless sixteen year old self who could defy the dangers of going to date’s homes in Brooklyn when I lived all the way in Manhattan and didn’t understand the learning polite ways to exit such situations and that not all poet’s should be shattered of their illusions…which has still not been something I have learned at age thirty-four…gave him a deadpan look after listening to several and he finally broke to look up and asked…he ASKED….what I thought.
Oh, the poor man (who, to add to my not smartest things in the world going with strange men to Brooklyn was also twenty-five.)
I looked deadpan…or as J put’s it my “you were dropped on your head as a baby, weren’t you?” Look.
“You are twenty-five right?”
“So..why are you still stuck in junior high level writing and emotion? ”
“Dude, (hey…I believe even Eistein would love the word Dude) you are a man. Not an emotionally broken patheticly still stuck on one girl from like..when was this? Ten years ago I’ll bet. And if you are trying to date the impression to give is not that you can never love again and you are still held up on the ex. I mean…hide those notebooks for christ’s sake…no no…burn them…here you have a gas stove…”
“WHAT?!” He asks, panic rising. Clutching his notebook close.
“Do you really want to jump off of a building?”
“No but there are times I feel like it.”
“But do you want to?”
“Ok well for one thing…don’t write about false feelings. If you write about wanting to jump off of a building then WANT to jump off of a building because if that girl comes along and says…jump off if you really feel that…you’d better pull through on your promises you’ve written. If you don’t want to jump off a building but feel like your heart is broken…write that you feel like your heart is broken.”
“Look, If you tell a woman you love them. You’d better be prepared to love them. If you tell a woman you are going to jump. Then you’d better be prepared to jump. So if one feeling you are writing of is false, why not the other you are connecting it to? Always be ready to do what you feel. Feel what you do.”
“And if you want to date…should I also break out my poems of all other men I have written of and read them for you and tell you that you won’t stack up ever or ever compare and won’t ever have my love because it’s gone?”
“So the worst thing to do is read these as a date activity. Put them in print and let them collect dust in a used bookstore and be done with it but don’t you ever break them out on poor some girl again and bore her to tears.”
I stood up from the Indian position in the middle of the floor I’d been sitting (I don’t even know if I can sit Indian style on the floor…and still get up anymore), grabbed my coat and walked out the door.
I wasted cooking a famous southern fried chicken and my best gravy on that fool…who I can’t say was a waste because in all reality we later became good friends…his personal dating life way improved and I tell him all the time the credit is mine. And he isn’t a writer but certainly is an amazing artist and makes angel’s in the city.
“In the heat and fire he can weaken the strength of steal and mold and bend it to his will.”
I am also not perhaps the best person to call should someone ever need to be talked OFF of a building. And I can say my stance has changed a lot but I still stand by…you don’t have to be depressed to create good art…and you can still reach into the depths of your deepest sadness to pull forth the feeling into your writing. But when you get up from your desk…walk away from that. Don’t let it consume you. And don’t read poetry of ex’s on dates. Just bad Juju. Who listen’s to a sixteen year old anyway? What the absolute hell did I know about love or writing or life itself or the feeling of wanting to jump off of a tall building? I had not barely even begun to meet life. But if a man breaks out his poetry I will still not be able to control the Face. Though my words may be somewhat gentler.