Begin with something in your range. Then write it as a secret. I’d be paralyzed if I thought I had to write a great novel, and no matter how good I think a book is on one day, I know now that a time will come when I will look upon it as a failure. The gratification has to come from the effort itself. I try not to look back. I approach the work as though, in truth, I’m nothing and the words are everything. Then I write to save my life. If you are a writer, that will be true.
I don’t write about me on my birthday no more. Or at least I didn’t this time around and I can’t really remember writing much other than a small passing observation last year or the year before. It used to consume me, the becoming a year older. Consume is perhaps too strong a word but oh how concerned I and my writing were with this, circling around age and growing older and the slow disappearance of my youth, slipping away from me. There is not much need for dealing with those things very heavily these days. It all goes and most of it is irrelevant when it stands in the room with only itself. Only when it stands next to the other parts of one’s life do they gain relativity. Much like Einstein’s famed theory. The speed of our movement is only shown when held up to the movement of other objects. This can be both a bad and good thing depending on the objects we run beside, against, or past. Last night when the two pit bulls came out of the dark bushes and into the arcing streetlight to chase me as I biked up the hill and through the church parking lot, Lord the speed of my movement was shown. And yet it didn’t feel fast enough. It only felt that at any moment their biting of the air would find my leg or that my bike would stumble and down I’d fall to their snapping mouths. I wonder if I could have kept it up if they had kept chase past 12th street, and if they had kept chase, who would have been the first to tire out, and what would have been the fate in that situation.
The stars stand so still. Sometimes I swear the blinking light of an airplane is so still it must be a star, it must be. Even the statues have eyes that follow us. At least the good ones do. I am trying to match my movement to only the still shadows, to the wind careening through the canyons of the city and their freshly paved streets.
I do not wish to match my beating heart to the harsh thumping of spite or to the movements others make. Let their journeys be their journeys. I do not wish to match movement with the arbitrary stone throwing at any window bright enough to take aim towards. Nor to anything that resembles a punch meaninglessly thrown. So many things that I have worried about protecting needed no protection from me. Their path through the darkness would be found irrelevant of me. I want my actions to purposeful yet needless. I want my movements want to slice through a melting ice cream. My movements want to tiger in an emptied jungle. My movements want to hunger, separate of consumption. My hands open palm until the need to follow the fist through to the jawbone drives the curling of them. Let that which is to come precede that which is. I think that this might be what it means for time travel to be based on the speed of light. I’m not smart enough to always put these thoughts into matter of fact science and thus all this poetry being pulled out of the water in me. May the imminent stepping into the dark river that awaits us all, be the footstep that leads the now, the hand held on to mine leading me through all this in me that can be. Everyday I hear my heart calling to me from the other side of the wall, not always calling for me to join it but for me to lead it back to where I still am.