Stabbed in the Neck by Some Kid with a Pencil: Tiny Essays on Writing
Pee-Paw Decides What to Write About.
Coffee. Folgers. Or Walmart brand. Cheap coffee, with like two or three fingers of milk and a healthy/ unhealthy dose of sugar. No fake sugar substitutes for me. I don’t put those kinds of chemicals in my temple. In my body. I use Domino sugar. From Brooklyn, New York City, people. I think it’s still made there, anyway. Maybe not. Probably not. They probably closed the factory down long ago and moved their operations to some other land. It doesn’t matter. Everything transitions when you are moving through a dream.
That’s how I write though, in case you’ve been wondering. I write on Tuesday mornings, my insides slathered in cheap coffee. I’d love to see my insides, wouldn’t you? Well, I don’t mean wouldn’t you like to see my insides, but rather your own. Imagine being able to look at your real skeleton. Your thumping heart. Your dripping brain. Your stomach all laid out like a raw pot roast on the kitchen table. I’d lean in to smell it. Not yours/ I would not lean in to smell your nasty stomach! But mine… oh, I would practically kiss that bad boy with puckered lips as I imbibed a long drag of my guts. I bet they smell ironish. I bet they have that sort of ripe metallic tang that some people swear Bigfoot smells like just before you see him/her in the woods. Like bloody cucumbers. Like musky death.
I write with a jitter running through me because that’s how I like it. But if I’m being perfectly straight with you, lots of times I end up with most of a travel mug filled with cold coffee at the end of one of my writing sessions. I went in so deep, so fast, you see. If things get rolling for a writer then time stops. Coffee evaporates and coffee cups do too. It sounds hokey as hell, but ask anyone who writes a lot and they will tell you the same thing or something similar. Maybe they will describe it better, but fuck that. “Time stops” is pretty good, isn’t it? I mean, it’s alright, no? I don’t know. I guess it’s a little weak. I could do it better if I tried, I reckon.
The coffee helps though, even if it’s just the stuff I’d been slugging all morning, before I actually sit down to write. It causes my nerves to twitch and I like that when I write. I don’t want to be all comfortable. I don’t want to be cozy. I am not over here writing a letter to Grandma on a snowy afternoon in 1862. No gentle tea mist rising from a porcelain cup for me. No pondering the flakes as they silently land upon the rattling window/ no inspiration from the storm outside. What I do is: I get all jacked up on coffee and then I drive the older 3 kids to school. 25 miles one way. 25 miles back. No music/ no podcasts. Maybe some conversation with them on the way there, but on the way back it’s just a solid half hour or so of rubber on the road sound. Window cracked a hair hiss. Change vibrating in the cupholder, Altoids tapping in their tin. I chew on a toothpick, probably made far away. Maybe China. Maybe I chomp on a Chinese toothpick while I ride up the valley in silence, trying to figure out what I’m gonna write about. Trying to get a muse to notice me instead of someone else.
It isn’t easy. And isn’t hard either. It’s just a matter of allowing myself to exist. To open up to all possibilities. To admit to myself that I have lived a lot more than I expected this past week. I close my eyes at the wheel. I sip my coffee from my black metal travel mug and I feel the Honda gripping the road.
I search the ether for the signal. And usually nothing comes to me. So I just drive home and take a shower/ look at myself in the bathroom mirror/ carve the same old face out of fresh cliffs of steamed-up glass.
Fuck You, Pee-Paw. I scrawl that, with a clean finger, in the condensation just beneath my chin in the mirror.
Today’s topic, it turns out, is me.
Oh HELL yes.