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We’re in a café.

 

No, we’re in a warehouse where fish used to be processed that someone turned into a coffee house. A rustic, modern, pretentious little coffee house where we sit. We are the only respectable crowd here, legitimizing it for all the other bastards sitting in old chairs, stuffing oozing out of them like puss, and reading intelligent books. No, they are reading about how to lose weight and secretly admiring the glisten of body builders’ muscles, only they hide that trash in front of classic literature, as if they are fooling anyone.

 

We are the chosen ones, though we’re not supposed to admit it. We are talented. We shouldn’t pretend otherwise. We actually come close to saying what we’re trying to say, even if that isn’t the same thing as coming close to saying what we mean.

 

We congratulate each other for recognizing art isn’t carelessly splashing paint on a white canvas and calling it a masterpiece.

 

We, as in the group of us

Seven, eight, maybe more or less

 

Outwardly, we are confident. We acknowledge structure and language and double meanings, and we even mean it. We are touched by the words of our fellow writers.

 

Inwardly, we are whatever we are. There’s always a catch, and here’s mine: I think maybe all of my writing, all of my work, might just be words carelessly splashed across a computer screen and not art at all.

He writes about me

because he knows I like it

or to get out of his own mind

though I can’t imagine mine is a relief

 

I’m redundant

I fret and marinate and I make

things dismal

things the heart-weary understand

but tire of

I tire of me

too

 

My writing is compulsive

not compelling but compelled by

compulsion

I know it’s right

a version of what’s right

anyway

One of my favorite writers, Margaret Atwood, wrote a great piece that sticks with me to this day about the order of stories. Essentially, she asks you to choose your beginning and ending to the story, but says what happens in the middle is interesting part. In my own life, I want to close my eyes and simply bear the beginning, fast forward through the middle, and get to the ending. If every story has an ending, I want to know what aftertaste I’m going to be left with.

Dear Reader, read Margaret Atwood’s “Happy Endings” for you own enjoyment. http://users.ipfw.edu/ruflethe/endings.htm

SOB with me

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