Really just being confused
I promised myself I could write this directly in the Substack editor. I don’t want it to be very long, because I have tried and failed to write something new for this space every few days for the last month.
Still, I have been writing. A lot.
I protect the first 45 minutes of my day to exist without screens, without stimulus. This is my time to write. I don’t always put things down on paper. Sometimes it’s enough to channel and crystalize the sensations of my body into words.
When I’m not writing on a word processor or a journal. I’m writing in my head. I’m chewing on words and tasting ideas for an eventual recipe, something I can offer that might feed others.
I send some folks poetry when I write it. I’ve written a poem every week for the last two months or so. Sometimes it’s two poems. I’m told this is prolific.
This week I went to a meetup of writers that post on Substack. It felt good to share that I have three whole paying subscribers. Somehow I felt more corporeal, more permitted in that hallowed space. It was not a hallowed space. It was a bar (and a bookstore, so maybe half-hallowed).
The Substack editor still crashes when you try to draft your post in it. I think it’s too much for the browser. I don’t recommend trying to write directly in here.
But posting on Substack works. It brings people together. I no longer know that you, the person reading this, is someone who knows me intimately. But you can still know me half-intimately by reading my work.
Currently, the best way to know me from afar yet intimately is by reading my poetry. So it seems selfish that I put my poetry behind a paywall. I’ve never been selfish about my art before. I’ve never really considered my writing art before.
At the meetup, folks asked me what I write about, and I had to contrive a through-line for the mess I’ve made on this platform. Eventually I started to say that I write about stuff I’m working through. Maybe this isn’t any different from a public journal. But I find the richness is not in the writing of the words. Its the sharing of life experiences that makes this worthwhile.
In the last year I’ve written about feeling okay when someone else is disappointed in me, giving power over my life to others, learning to accept creative blocks, grieving the world.
I’ve learned that my poetry currently wants to be melancholy. That’s fine by me, as long as it permits itself to be poetry.
As a person who suffers from chronic lonely-and-easily-feels-he’s-misunderstood symptoms, writing is a balm. Posting about what it’s like to be me is a balm.
In the face of overwhelm, it feels good to share and know one or two people will read it and see a reflection. One or two people will feel connection. One or two people will reach out, either a comment or a text. I hope to keep working on stuff and writing about it here in the next year.
The editor crashed again1; I think this is my cue to wrap it up.
Here’s a poem I wrote recently:
I’ve started to feel like the time for taking photos
The time for not knowing what to say or do
This is no time. The space in-between
Watch helplessly as the world burns all around.
Our hands blistered from gripping too hard to the
Our voices hoarse, louder than ever and yet again
Plunged deep into smothering pillows of benign indifference
The time of youthful abundance
It has been for millennia.
This is the time of tantrums
Beating hearts, fists beating furiously against the soil
Spores escaping hoarser soreness
Throats pulled wide open by anguish
Distortions of figure forming a new pedagogy of poise
Hulking shadows scrambling to climb out of the pit
For the sweet refreshment of a single drop of relief
On the other side of the door is joy
But they mixed the paints already
Grief is here to stay. Take refuge in it.
Find the perfectly-sized socket for your weary shoulders
Slowly release your grip on the knot in your stomach
The time for hiding one’s skeletons
There are no more closets.
There is only the wide open world
And all its beautiful, broken people.
If you want to see more poetry, send me a message, or consider a paying subscription.
for any substack engineer reading this: error code 5