Mortal Coils and All That (shuffling our decks)
What’s lighting you up? I mean, what kind of things carbonate your soul? Coffee is fine but inspiration is quicker and longer lasting. Here’s the thing, though: if we don’t survive we stop writing. We stop singing. We stop having a positive influence on our kids. We go blank, offline, silent, mute, deaf, dumb. Regardless of what religious views you subscribe to, when we’re done what’s left behind is the sum of our work.
For plenty, that sum would be their family, kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.
I’m not fascinated by those trajectories. Give me a Jimi Hendrix, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath. Give me rockets red glare at all hours. Give me a voice with a razorblade cut that eviscerates all that has come before. Bring me prose I can sing to. That calls my heart’s energy to rage.
“What light’s you up?”
Next, tell me, “What’s exciting you about your work, these days?”
Work work work. Most of us don’t have patrons or trust funds allowing us to become poet vivants. What then will compel, motivate, energize us to the work ahead, climbing up that Sysiphian hill? How can we erect works of art out of words or sounds? Is there a sail of hope that draws us powerfully onward?
Speaking to that poet again it occurred to me I was providing the love and attention I missed as a child of two narcissistic parents. Am I stuck in the drama of my own gifted and gilded childhood? Probably. Most likely. Yes, I’ll admit it. Alice Miller’s classic hit me square between the eyes. Bifurcated my focus in life, actually. Half my energy is spent trying to repair people from the damage of damaged families of origin. The other half is trying to figure out how to fuck myself or my reader up enough to become binge-worthy. I want a TV show. I want a merit scholarship. I want to be more than just a “writer.”
People won’t have to ask me what I do, once I’ve done it. I will be known for the phrase:
“shuffling viscerally on this mortal coil”
Read more Short-Short Stories from John.