church of pen and paper
Ernest Hemmingway once watched a matador in Spain get stabbed through the marrow of his shin by a bull’s horn and scream out in horror and Hemingway decided in that moment that if he can portray on the page what he just witnessed, through the written word, then he might be a pretty damn good writer.
In elementary school, I had an incredible teacher who would take us outside and have us observe nature and record what we saw. I did not know then how tremendous an act this was, and is an act I continue to this day. I’ll look at the bark on the trees, ancient as it is and in some world or some other realm, I can see the face of my ancestors carved through the oak.
My mother can walk through the woods for hours on end and feel the presence of a holy spirit, something shifting within and through the bushes and flowers and fallen leaves, the branches and the flocks of birds, like the souls of angels carrying her own soul through whichever trail she steps down with the soles of her feet.
Writing is this way, at least somewhat, like with each sentence, you come toward an opening in the wilderness. The effort is a failing one, but here is the effort: to write a sentence moving toward tears as a response, the way my brother will look at a dead fish in his hands before he cooks it, the way a buddy of mine can watch his bird dog Elvis track down quail and doves as it were a painting brushed by Michelangelo of religious proportion, the way my father can remember his own father for just a few moments and remember his essence eternally in that moment, the way my grandmother can stare at a fossil that is billions of years old that my deceased grandfather had found and given to her and after a couple of seconds she’s crying like she’s just seen the coming of God.
Writing is trying to reveal a moment in its place in eternity. As ridiculous as it sounds, writing, to me, is next to godliness. I truly believe it or else I don’t reckon I’d dedicate so much of my time here on earth to the craft.
It is not writing that I love, but living...
I love to crawl out of a warm bed in the early morning, walk out with the dogs, and feel the crisp morning air wash through my lungs like a cold mountain stream.
I love to push my bare feet deep into gritty, warm sand. I love to plod my way through deep snow. I love to arrive home to the smell of a roast in the crockpot. I love to wake up the morning of a road trip, eager to explore. I love a dog’s chin on my foot, and the sound of the garbage truck when I realize that I have, in fact, remembered to put our can by the road. I love watching a hawk fly, and I love watching a pair of crows chase it away, and I love the empty blue sky they leave behind as they flutter and fall away.
I love a bunt single, and a stolen base. I love childish Valentine’s cards hanging on the fridge. I love peanut butter, and popcorn, and cold beer, not necessarily all at the same time, but whatever. I love rocket launches, old photographs, a good book, the barber shop, and crawling into clean sheets at the end of a long workday.
And I know that one day it will all be gone.
And that is why I describe to you why I love life... so that you might love it, too.
[example, of my own experience]
being ripped and torn apart--
feeling the words claw at the back
of my throat, raking claws up and
down the walls, leaving trails of blood
it is the opposite of feeling empty,
instead, being overflowed with so much
e m o t i o n and having only one place to
go to let it out, prose, my home away from homes
writing is rewiring my circuits
and sending test frequencies across the board
screaming and shouting and yelling because it works, it works, it works
and then feeling on top of the world once the words are out
except, this desperation i feel,
it is cacophonous and shattering,
one word is out but another is coming close behind--
oh, you have one child... no, twins! triplets! and next thing you know, i'm encrouching on 410
and it is my tonic, my addiction
to write these words and say them in whispers
smile around a stanza, an entire poem,
and to feel the words melt the feeling deep inside
this is my relief, my drug, my chocolate addiction
it is a fast-track and one i take wildly, grinning while the engine rumbles
it is the high i get off of living, the toxin in my drink
it is writing and it is my act of desperation and it is my home of homes
(you know that moment when you’re trying to impress your friends with your fancy card-shuffling techniques, and it’s all going fine till you start getting cocky, then half the deck flies across the room?....)
Writing’s a game. Over time it’s evolved
So it’s rarely about who has won.
It’s about crafty puzzles, made up and solved;
About brilliant moves deftly undone...
It’s about building decks;
Living life despite wrecks.
De-stressing the air.
It’s about looking in,
And conveying discoveries there.
Writing’s a game
Where no one knows the rules.
...Or they do,
But they’re keeping it secret.
And if you would care
To pull up a chair,
There’s good challenge for all who... (err...)... ‘seek it’...?
...terribly sorry about that...
*begins picking up cards*
Writing, An Indisputable Part of Me
Writing was a big part of my life when I was a young man, and it mostly took a backseat post college. However, the words of others continued to inspire me, and as of April 2020, writing my own words again has become a major part of my life. Writing affects me in so many ways. It is a way for me to connect and learn from God through Bible journaling. It is a way to boost creativity though short stories. It is a way to push myself to try new forms of writing through the awesome challenges set up by Prose and fellow writers like you. Writing is a way to connect with other writers - in one way by reading each other's work and supporting each other on here. Writing is a way for me to create, grow, express, and leave a part of me behind that will hopefully persevere after I am gone. There is much more I could say, but writing is an indisputable part of me.
Awakened to an internal inferno sparked by the friction of a poorly hinged jaw tailor made to gnaw through the splendid luxury afforded by sleep’s ignorant bliss and impregnate my brain with her unholy hell-spawn who laughs at reason and spurns sensible defense my only hope to interrupt this chemical chain reaction is to trade chain for link the exposed aggregate of letters (all but z) mushily flung to fill voids of sanity quite like the fingers of Dutch children but damn the river this is a prison built to keep secrets hidden while on display for all the world to see if only glimpsed as through pinholes in bedsheets ribbons of flesh appear as crimson silk, silent screams sing soothing songs and scorched souls smell surprisingly similar to coffee roasting
But speaking of souls, or maybe of devils, there was once a blue eyed one who said he supported
Whatever gets you through the night
whenever I look at words
they come off the page, flying all around me.
they draw upon their soul, looking into me
with hand-like grasps, no certainty enough for saying
that sometimes, each word has a history behind it
not a quiet thing a madness made but a sentience of folly
I am a mad fool, who dances in my dream
only to never live in my own reality.
I must dream.
Writing is the way I vomit emotions that I've been having to swallow for too long because they can't be expressed anywhere else. People love to say that you should "be yourself" and "express yourself", but no one truly wants to hear it. Watch them roll their eyes and hear them criticize when they don't agree. Much like what we do, you and me.
In reality, I prefer expressing myself around someone with whom I have much in common and I don't have much in common with enough people to really let it flow.
So it flows here, where it's effectively ignored as the best possible outcome and deleted when I'm sick of looking at it.
Nothing matters and this is where I come to vomit when I stop taking part in the rat race long enough to remember.
I talk too much.
Words spill out of my head
Out of my mouth
They rush by too fast to understand.
Sometimes I talk with big words, fancy words
Other times I sound like a toddler,
Stumbling over sentences like cracks in the sidewalk
I say everything.
I talk and I talk and I talk
And I never stop.
The words keep flowing.
But the words I say mean nothing.
Like me, they float from place to place
Flit inside heads before moving on
To better things.
I talk of the mundane,
I talk of the meaningless
I talk of the cursory curses of everyday life.
But I write...
I write the fantastic.
The jumping-off-a-cliff-adrenaline-high feeling.
I write what I cannot say,
because while I talk and talk,
There are words that lodge in my throat,
And yet those are the words
that most need to be said.
I need a way to pry them out
To Heimlich-manuever my head
So that the stuck bits fly out of me
Because when I speak, when I talk
I can go on for hours,
I'm saying nothing.
When I write,
it reminds me
that it's time
to Say Something.
I shape the sphere, the seas may roil, or they may be still, the sky may crack and thunder, it may be still and sweet. I lay the land, through my hands it is barren, or it is bountiful.
The flora I shape, the fauna I furnish.
The people who go upon the world, they could be elves, cherishing the waters and the trees that surround them, or they may be werewolves, relishing the hunt and the kill; they could be humans, toiling at war with one another or enjoying the easy peace of farming the soil.
I may call magic from the land, radiating from the ground itself, or summoned from etched runes and incantations, rituals or sacrifice.
I give breath to the protagonist, I provide the rage to their nemesis.
Each word, every motivation, I prescribe.
Whether from my waking world at large, the depths of my dreams, or some fevered combination of the two, it’s all the same; it bleeds from the point of my pen, the tips of my fingers.
Writing is creation, and I, we, are the creators.