Of course, with the students, they’re mostly not dumb enough to think they’ll have writing careers, or else they’ve self-published fifteen sci-fi novels since they graduated high school two months ago. (That guy doesn’t seem the least bit anxious; he’s got deadlines to meet.) Once upon a time, I smoked pot and if I wanted to describe a flowering pocomoke crepe myrtle shimmering fuchsia in a dry ditch, I did it without looking up “flowering bushes” and wondering where all the time went.
I don’t smoke pot anymore. That could be the problem. But it made me anxious. That’s either irony or paradox or getting older. We moved the desk in the dining room into the corner so the easy chair can recline. Before an evening’s writing, I can recline as I read a Raymond Carver story and wonder why I am a failure. Raymond Carver doesn’t have the answer. No one in his story is sad that I’m a failure, though they’re plenty sad. They’re sad about their own shit, which I find selfish.
He doesn’t try to make you see the pocomoke crape myrtle’s timid cerise blushing, its delicious shivers, or its showering petals in that cracked dry ditch because he knows you don’t want to.
Here’s an idea. I could go sit in this town’s most crowded thoroughfare, which I assume is Walmart, and tug at passersby and tell them, weeping, that I want to be a writer.
“So, write,” is mostly what they tell me. It’s not bad advice, but it almost feels too easy.
I know what you’re thinking; I tried that. I told my therapist all about it. She thought for a while and then pitched me her fantasy novel. It’s about elves that live in a giant tree. It’s dying, and they have to figure out why and what to do. They all have special weapons that say a lot about their inner selves. I didn’t know what to say, so I gave her notes. I said it sounded a lot like Fern Gully, except for the weapons. The weapons were good. She said she’d look up Fern Gully, still charged me for the hour. I’m thinking she’s got what it takes.
So, here’s what you do: go into the most noise-dampening cloister in your domicile, and screech at yourself to get over it! Just do it for the sake of doing it–screech those words until you get tired of screeching, or something ruptures, and you can’t. That’s God’s way of saying lol.
Feel better? There’s more to life. I also want to be a happy person and a better father. There’s all kinds of things to fail at. Sometimes you have to take a step back and examine your priorities. I can fail at anything I put my mind to. It’s exhilarating. Is this micro-fiction? I’m skeptical. It all feels pretty true.
See! It really is that easy.