sometimes i don’t write.

8 Aug
(originally published Feb. 13.08 but definitely still applies)

 sometimes i don’t write.  this somehow does not mean that i am not a writer.  at these times, i am rather, a voiceless poet, a literary vagabond, an aloof artist bursting at the seams with emotion and knowledge (learned and earned), opinions and superfluous trivia.  it could all translate to verses upon verses of poetry, prose, essay, memoir, fiction, creative non-fiction, hell SCIENCE fiction, something, anything. but sometimes, i just don’t feel like it.

and i have all sorts of excuses too, for not writing when i just don’t feel like it.  since i do fancy myself an artist it can sometimes be as simple as not having the right “canvas”. mind you, i have at least 30 journals. one cute lavender one that i was given by a dear friend. i have used it mostly for grocery lists and notes-to-self.  one sober-looking pastel green one inscribed with bible verses that was given to me by a sister who was probably genuinely concerned, in her own way, about my spiritual growth–in an “i’m-so-scared-you-gon’-go-to-hell-if-you-don’t-get-like-me” sorta way.  i lost it, either accidentally or on purpose, because being judged, among other things, makes me nervous. i have another one, a rather new one, that Ty gave me, hand-made in Zimbabwe from elephant grass, river reed, and wild fig leaves but who would ever dream of writing in such a beautiful treasure from the motherland?!  and then, last and least, there’s my favorite and most hated–the one he gave me.  too damn pretty to write in which is just as well because every time i open it the letters seem to spell his name.

i have run out of topics actually. that’s the real reason.  my predecessors have already done the black power thing and having never known h. rap brown or attended any sit-ins, ain’t nothin i can say on that subject that nikki giovanni hasn’t already said better (not to mention, 20 years ago). there’s always love, i guess. problem is, i’m not real sure that i still believe in it. when i did, i had it down to just the right kind of science and i all but exhausted my vocabulary on a man and an emotion that i would very soon thereafter bury in a locked box in the blackest corner of my soul. trust me, at this point, no one wants to hear me talk about “love”. 

i have given up, on just about everything. yet somehow, this does not mean that i am not a writer. i have managed for 30 years to escape labels (okay, let’s not be dramatic, let’s just say 10 years because that’s when people started caring). i am a series of adjectives that negate themselves. an under-achieving over-achiever. ghetto-bourgeois. a sweet, unfriendly, outgoing recluse who has been known to be a meat-eating vegetarian and a drunk non-drinker all at once.

there are, of course, some labels that can’t be escaped.  black, for example.  and i guess, fat or thin–i have been both although not at the same time. and my favorite inescapable label–mama.  but “writer” i always thought was a choice. i’ve come to find that it certainly is not.

some people can write well but don’t like to. these are not writers. some people can’t write well but do it anyway because they think they can or wish they could. sadly, these too, are not writers.  writers are like most other types of artists in that they are normally not made, they’re born. i say this, not with a sense of elitism, but instead, with acceptance. there are certain things that i could change about myself and arguably, things i should change. but this i couldn’t change even if i wanted to so i do the next best thing–i procrastinate. i know writing is something i have to do, must do, in order to be who i am and fulfill my divine purpose. it’s my gift. but in complete defiance of all that i cannot control, i’ll do it in my own sweet time. this doesn’t just apply to writing. oh no. i, very carefully and painstakingly, make sure to defy absolutely EVERYTHING in my life that i cannot control. impressive, i know. i am just that kind of perfectionist.  

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