on writing

I’ve been trying to write all day and life keeps getting in the way and I can’t figure out why that bothers me.

My big sister tells me, sometimes, that I’m a poet. Casually lumps me in with her as if we’re in the same class doing the same things because my prose has “a visceral quality to it” that, apparently, others’ lacks. I don’t see it. I don’t get this overlap in the visceral and the abstract and in any case it doesn’t explain why I need it.

I’m not a poet, I’m just blunt. I’m blunt and afraid and doing my best to remember at all times that we are cosmically insignificant.

I don’t know why I write.

I know that any minute I’m not writing I feel like I’m dying.

Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’m aware of the fact that I’m dying, cell by cell, a little more each day as telomeres degrade and mutations multiply and, knowing my family history and the state of the world, if I don’t get shot for being queer, it’ll be cancer that gets me. The idea of being besieged again by my own body is my worst nightmare and so: I write.

I’m blunt and I’m afraid and I’m loud and I live a life that requires constant outward quiet. I once listened to my own uninterrupted screaming for a period of six months; I kept a placid smile on my face and answered phones at the office with perfect diction. I don’t know that this is what is meant by still waters run deep but its the closest experience I have to the metaphor. I write to get some peace and quiet.

Death doesn’t scare me. It’s not about leaving a legacy. This is just the closest I can come to reaching out and touching someone else without wanting to peel my skin off with my thumbnails. Like a grape.

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