Write What You Know
Anytime you're stuck or sounding derivative that’s what they always say. Write what you know. For the longest time I ignored it. Deluded by the arrogance of the long overlooked. For fruitless years I wrote about rivers even though I’m clueless. Landlocked and sea sick. Hate to fish. All my rivers just wind and shimmer, wind and shimmer. Meanwhile I'm just using them to skip stones to the other side. Do you know how long it takes to really know if you know anything? I know a little bit, I suppose, but even knowledge is no guarantee. For instance: chess. I know some basic chess. But that doesn’t stop me from reckless gambits that end with a tale about a guy who keeps pleading king me king me king me with a big stupid grin on his face because he’s too smitten to realize he’s been playing the wrong game. How about surgery? I know more of that than most. I’ve done a few. But it never seems to translate into art. My Op Notes would make your eyes bleed. It comes out all wrong. He incised the fascia along its onion thin planes. He massaged the inside of her ribs with his gloved fingers. Just cringe. And bad. What do I really know? And how do I use that for the greater good? Well, let’s break it down: Dogs are kind shepherds. Your very own kid can be the wolf. The longer your parents go on loving you with all their crazy hearts the harder it is to think you’ll ever understand them. If you hear a raccoon rustling around in your garbage can again don't put a cinder block on the lid in order to “teach it a lesson”. Because you’ll forget and one day the airborne toxic event odor will prompt dozens of phone calls from concerned neighbors to the police and you’ll be the one, head in a plume of flies, forking it out with a garden tool and flipping it into a pile of dead crispy leaves. I know that life is leaning toward a precipice without a guardrail. I know that trying to live without loving even a sliver of the world is a peculiar form of late Capitalist torture. Our very own thumbscrew. I know it all could have turned out much worse. I know that feeling lucky for all you have is one of the nicest forms of not being envious. I know that anger is someone’s loud and confident flipside to a silent unbeknownst shame. That home is what’s left after you’ve stripped away all the things you thought you needed. I know the difference between happy and happier. A fork and a pin. I can tell the liver from the spleen strictly by feel.