I’ve been away

Photo by Danila Popov from Pexels

I’ve been away.

Meaning, I’ve not been writing for public consumption.  

I keep telling people that “I’m not working right now.  I’m writing.”  Which is funny for two reasons.  One, because it makes it seem like writing is not work.  It is.  And two, because it makes it seem like I’ve been writing and anyone can go and see proof of said writing in some journal or newspaper somewhere.  Also not true.  

True, I have been writing.  Handwriting, not typing.  Keeping it all to myself.  Not sharing.  This feels right to me.  Except now I feel like I should try to explain myself.  Even though I’ve said before that I will no longer explain myself.  

Let me explain. 

I’ve been writing in notebooks.  Notebooks that I spent days searching for online.  Notebooks that I envisioned would be made of beautiful soft paper and leather bound.  Handmade by a witch living in the swamps of Louisiana.  Who tans the leather and then cures it in a wooden shack where herbs also dry.  Hanging from the ceiling in bunches.  Goat weed and manglier; hyssop and yarrow are swaying above the drying deer skin.  A fire smolders in a black pot-bellied stove in the corner.   A dark red sweet smelling mash puddles in a stone mortar on the table.  Cicadas sing.  Frogs chirp. 

In the end I ordered a pack of 3 spiral bound notebooks from Amazon.  The word “Docket” with the little “tm” next to it is stamped on them.  As if to announce This is a mass produced item.  You are a careless consumer.  I imagine that the “tm” must stand for Total Moron.  Or Too Mindless.  Or Tedious Mortal. 

I have filled at least 3 of them now.  Writing with pens that, again, I spent too much time looking for.  Having the exact precise pen is important if you are writing by hand.  All the best writers have a pen preference.   Listen to a few interviews and you’ll hear them talk about their pens.   We writers must be fussy about our pens. 

All this to say, I have been writing.  But it doesn’t feel like work because no one sees it and no one cares and no one pays me to do it.  In this new world, all value is wrapped up in spectacle.  All worth is tied to pennies. 

I rebel against this sad capitalistic ideology by hoarding my scribbled words.  Not even wanting to type them into Word on my computer.  I imagine then that the artificial intelligence dictating life right now — social media/internet/Google — will make some sort of assumption about me and alter the course of my creativity.  I need to know that I own my creativity first before the world can have it.  Why do I even use the word “own?”  It’s so possessive.  It’s so consumptive.  Let me rephrase — I need to know that I understand my own creativity first before the world evaluates it.  

That feels right. 

There is nothing to see here.  Or rather, nothing to read.  And maybe there will be, or maybe there won’t be.  

When you plant a seed in the ground, sometimes it sprouts and sometimes it does not.  When it sprouts sometimes it bears fruit, sometimes it does not.  If it does not sprout, if it does not bear fruit, is it worthless? 

I suppose that depends on the gardener.  I wonder if the oak tree cares if the juniper seed sprouts. 

Did you know that you have to scarify a juniper seed to germinate it?  I read about it after they ripped up the juniper grove next to our home.  I wanted to collect the berries, germinate them — to continue the life cycle of some of the old trees.  It is a lot of work for a human to do — the scarifying of the seed.  There is soaking and scraping and cutting and stratifying.   Juniper berries are intended to be gnawed on by animals or maybe burned or maybe partially digested by birds.  Or just to fall and decay on the ground and eventually become a small part of the soil.  In the end I didn’t germinate any.  Too Much.  But I do love the word “scarify.”  

It seems like I should wrap this up now.  Get to the point.  Tie everything back to the beginning. 

That doesn’t feel right though.  That feels like spoon feeding.   Or like over-explaining.

That feels like ordering from Amazon.  

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