“so you want to be a writer?”

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

-bukowski

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

we may complain that it is april and cold and why aren’t i wearing shorts yet but it is the grey skies and impending rain that feed the trees and bring about new growth.

Image

I used to hate yoga. The very idea of being alone with my breath- my body- was unnerving. I was clunky. Detached. Breath. Hollow. Thoughts repetitive. I couldn’t get the postures right. The poses. Hands mismatched and the stillness was suffocating.

It was this time in my life where it would have been most beneficial to dive in.

I have a need for perfection. Well. Had. But still have. It’s a journey.

I created this blog- this workspace- at a time when I most needed it. When words failed and I couldn’t press my toes into the ground to cause movement or action- when I was stagnant and halted and so stilted and silent. When it was either give up or get going. And so I decided to get gone. To force action. To force breath.

And so I did. For a while. Hands to paper. Fingers meet keys.

It was at this time that I sat on my knees with a canvas in front of me. All white. All clean. And I thought how to begin? I had never painted before. Never drawn. And mostly whenever the thought presented itself I found myself thinking how dare you? how dare you think you can do that? now I think how dare I not let myself try?

And so it is. 4 years and dozens of canvases later.

Sometimes you just have to pinch your nose and close your eyes and scrunch up your mouth so tight that there is no space and just throw yourself over the edge. Into the darkness. So there is only you in the abyss.

Figure it out. Because you will. And when you were in grade school and the teacher said There are no wrong questions. She was right. There aren’t. And that is all art is. A series of questions. And we are all qualified to ask them. We should all be brave enough to open our mouths and add a voice to the sounds and declare ourselves lost and then begin to ask people for directions. Without them we will just sit down at the beginning of our journeys.

This afternoon I was struggling to keep myself in a particularly difficult yoga pose and the teacher said be thankful for the moments where you are imbalanced. it is in these moments that you take a deep breath and begin again and find just a little more ease.

And that. That is everything.

 

**photo found here

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

if you don’t do it no one else will

When we’re little- or I guess I should say until we’re grown- our parents dictate every aspect of our existence. What to eat, what time to go to bed, when to wake up, who our friends should be, how much TV we should watch, what is a good use of our time, what constitutes an acceptable boyfriend- the list goes on.

Then college hits. And the freedom abounds. Minus the school work, class schedule that structures your day, course requirements, credits that must be hit in order to graduate, tests, what to read, what to memorize, roommates being chosen for you- and again the list goes on.

And then you graduate.

And you really didn’t think much would change. The people you were friends with in college would still be your friends. You would still have the ferocious intensity that you possessed about reading and working out. Your energy would not wain. And you would still want to party till the wee hours of the morning and wake up for that 7 am yoga class that would keep you in ass kicking shape.

But then a few months passed, a year, and then another year. And then you woke up one morning and realized that things just don’t stay the same. That approach to life is impossible because you are only one person on this massive planet where everything is hurtling forward and there is no option but progression.

And that’s beautiful.

You are the king of your own castle, the master of your domain, you can choose to go to work or to play hooky, read that difficult novel or that trashy magazine, sleep in or work out, go to bed ontime or stay up until all hours watching hulu in bed with your hand in a bag of potato chips. You are your own parent.

A year ago I turned to my boyfriend, whom I live with, and said can you believe they let us live here all alone? The idea that we would be allowed to live and breathe and hang out and fall asleep and wake up together and care for ourselves and each other was so astounding because it seemed just like yesterday that I was moping in my bedroom because my parents wouldn’t let me go hang out at the mall late at night with my friends.

Freedom is a wonderful thing.

But with freedom comes responsibility. That’s a thing, right? Responsibility to yourself. To keep growing and stretching. To become the best version of yourself. And it’s hard when no one is telling you to eat your vegetables and ice cream becomes an acceptable choice for breakfast and food is expensive so sometimes you’d rather just drink your dinner instead at a fancy bar because they put olives in martinis and that counts, right? And after a long week of waiting tables sometimes you just want to sit in front of the TV and watch countless hours of Downton Abbey  because the acting is so good and it’s how I get to learn my craft, right?

But a martini isn’t a substitute for a balanced meal and neither is a wonderfully acted television show a substitute for an acting class.

It’s our responsibility to choose sleep over partying sometimes. To pick up that novel that requires a dictionary. To sign up for that acting class that terrifies you. To drink enough water. To haul your out of shape butt to yoga. To stay in the moment and be positive and believe in yourself. To know the unexpected does indeed happen when you least expect it. And that if you don’t take care of yourself no one else will.

Spring is the season of rebirth. Of beauty and fresh air. So let’s all open our windows and give thanks. Take care of ourselves. Acknowledge the people around us who make our lives easier. Those who don’t. Pick our friends wisely. Put our energies in the right place. And accept change. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

my daily prayer

 

Listen 
with the night falling we are saying thank you 
we are stopping on the bridge to bow from the railings 
we are running out of the glass rooms 
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky 
and say thank you 
we are standing by the water looking out  
in different directions 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging 
after funerals we are saying thank you 
after the news of the dead 
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you 
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators 
remembering wars and the police at the back door 
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks that use us we are saying thank you 
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us 
our lost feelings we are saying thank you 
with the forests falling faster than the minutes 
of our lives we are saying thank you 
with the words going out like cells of a brain 
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster 
with nobody listening we are saying thank you 
we are saying thank you and waving 
dark though it is

-W.S. Merwin

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I’ve been head over heels into this book lately and if this passage strikes your fancy then you should run to the store and pick up a copy because it is just the tip of the very tip of the iceberg.

Image“But what if I don’t believe in God? It’s like they’ve sat me in front of a mannequin and said, Fall in love with him. You can’t will feeling.

What Jack says issues from some still, true place that could not be extinguished by all the schizophrenia his genetic code could muster. It sounds something like this:

Get on your knees and find some quiet space inside yourself, a little sunshine right about here. Jack holds his hands in a ball shape about midchest, saying, Let go. Surrender, Dorothy, the witch wrote in the sky. Surrender, Mary.

I want to surrender but have no idea what that means.

He goes on with a level gaze and a steady tone: Yield up what scares you. Yield up what makes you want to scream and cry. Enter into that quiet. It’s a cathedral. It’s an empty football stadium with all the lights on. And pray to be an instrument of peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is conflict, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope…

What if I get no answer there?

If God hasn’t spoken, do nothing. Fulfill the contract you entered into at the box factory, amen. Make the containers you promised to tape and staple. Go quietly and shine. Wait. Those not impelled to act must remain in the cathedral. Don’t be lonely. I get so lonely sometimes, I could put a box on my head and mail myself to a stranger. But I have to go to a meeting and make the chairs circle perfect.

He kisses his index finger and plants it in the middle of my forehead, and I swear it burns like it had eucalyptus on it. Like a coal from the archangel onto the mouth of Isaiah.

-Mary Karr, Lit

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I had forgotten

image

I’d forgotten how peaceful it is in the city when it snows in that way that makes you feel like you’re living in a snowglobe. A snowglobe that has been yanked off the shelf and shaken with that magic ferocity that only a child can possess.

It is a whirling solitude a blanket that muffles the loud din of living.

This silencing bleeds into the subways and restaurants into the stores and apartments and the sounds of living become hushed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thoughts for a Saturday

I wonder where voice lives in a body. Is it in the throat, where the flaps pound each other to death, making us think we’ve got important fucking things to say? Or is it in the mind, where thoughts crash crazily into each other pinball-y and dinging, until they slide down the chute and out the hole and into the world? Couldn’t voice come from anywhere?

Lidia Yuknavitch, Dora: A Headcase

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized