∀From the film Adaptation. by Charlie Kaufman.
¶ Prompt from Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write.
“Using this tool will give you a chance to air your fears and grievances,” writes Jules C. “It will also give you a chance to offer reassurance and make plans.”
Last week was the cry baby boy inside — “crying out for attention,” as MGMT sings — much needed, as all babies must. But today, we answer some of those accusations, and provide the adult, mature, reasoning, compassionate response. There are concerns, and as this chapter of the Right to Write, where Julia lets the voices of a “Young Writer” and herself communicate, so too on here do I. This will be my assuage. Forgive me for self-indulging. But it’s what I love to do. And forgive me for not caring. It must be done.
Letter to my inner writer.
Dear little boy picking his nose,
Please, don’t stop. I am only here to reply, not to talk down to you, to the yelps and the moans. I know you want to publish, but let me worry about that. You just write. This need comes from your desire to share the work, to hear it talked about, and this is ok. You feel there is value in the work, and it hurts like how a closeted plant hurts when left to the trickle of a broken ceiling pipe and little light. But somehow, through the cracks of self-doubt and isolation, you bore fruit. Remember the first flash fiction story you wrote in Austin, in your small bedroom, hunched over this very laptop, in the afternoon, with the light entering from the west, the smell of cheap wine and corkscrews? How you wrote about a fictional conversation between a father and a son, their legs dangling off a cliff in Big Bend; and how you reached the end of the single page and you shivered. That feeling alone was enough to convince you of your existence. That is why you write: to get that tingling shiver down your spine at the conclusion of a story. For it, for that, for this, for us. Keep writing for those moments. I’ll take care of the rest. I submitted work, promise. Half a dozen magazines have our work, under consideration. Even your novel is under consideration. Residencies and a badass fellowship are considering you. But … you worry. Yes, I worry too. But I know you will write with or without the support of others. The words you hear are the words of others and the words of past memories, but what is the past if… oh, sorry, here I go again rambling about metaphysical bs. Let us “stop short” of the metaphysical as TS Eliot once wrote. I know what you want to hear: We are going to a reading tonight. We will eat a tasty kale bowtie pasta and cream left over dinner tonight. Yesterday you went on a walk to you favorite bar, a rare treat, and went with your “soul-mate” Greg as he put it that one windy afternoon at the beach. What a day. What a conversation. I know why you really worry, boy, it’s because you want your work to have value. You trust you will write no matter what, but “so what?” You want your pieces of writing to be like pieces of furniture. If the couch isn’t being used, it collects dust. If a burning stick of incense isn’t smelled it just turns to ash unenjoyed. But, recall Marcus Aurelius: all turns to dust and ashes. Recall Job, and repent over dust and ashes. The fact that you read their work is a blessing, because in a hundred, two hundred, a thousand years or a thousand minutes, all will be lost, and nothing will matter. Remember what your two dancing lady friends said one night coming home from a shroom trip to Zilker Park in Austin: “We all die.” And you stared at them. They replied, “So relax!” And how true that was. Recall Socrates in his last speech with his friend Phaedo: to study philosophy is to prepare for death. Your life is a wake in reverse: it is being awake. Recall Seneca: you are living each day as if it were a lifetime. Recall Julia Cameron. Recall your professors. Recall these wiser forces, minds much wiser than you or me. You walk along frozen ice with bare feet, you feel the cold, but at least you feel. What else could worry you? I know, I know. You don’t want to write for yourself anymore. You want to write for others. But would that make you happy? I know, I know. You don’t want to be single. But you would live a life that weren’t your own this very moment? Allow the fantasies and whims of other people’s stories get to you, allow the morals and the blessings of nature to enter. (You have food in the fridge, that you worked for; you have candles lit, that you took from home; you have a cellphone that connects you to the larger world; you live in a city of peace and concrete; you are healthy, above all you are healthy) All will come to a resounding Yes. Yes to life. Yes to yes. Remember your favorite words: phantasmagoria, alma, yes, cuerpo, chitirnatsit, palikari, elan vital, and so many more. What is a word, but a… ah, sorry again, getting allegorical on you, metaphysical, metablahblah. But what more do you want me to say? I will never let you go. I will always give you space. I will always cook you food. Blast it all to hell! Stay awake. Fall asleep. Read. Attend. Unattend. Unfollow. Follow. Cry laugh and sing dance love who cares the world does and you do too and neither sometimes. The point is, “never stop writing,” like Jero told you once online, just like that in lowercase, maybe a period at the end. So long as you don’t compromise yourself, only promise yourself. So long as you contribute. So long as you grow. So long as you change it up. So long as you stay consistent. So long as you connect. So long as you shine. You can be mine. Rhyme. Lol. Troll. Roll. Poll. Oll. Ol. O. — (: a wink wide-eyed; smiley-face hidden inside). Find your smiley face. Goodbye.