Today, I told my best friend all about my fear of writing prose. About the ideas I keep tucked away to myself, for fear that they won’t come out smooth, luminous, like so much gypsum after the rain.
Without fail, I want to jot down something every day. Recently, my mind has been on the Frank Ocean essay I promised myself months ago. There was just this point where I was listening to Nostalgia, Ultra every day, thinking over and over about how songs like “Swim Good” and “Nature Feels” were doing all this radical work in terms of helping me think about Black eco-critical performance, about Stevie’s conversations with plants and all those writers who took to the sea when terra firma failed them. I wanted to talk about that, but in a way that people could feel, you know? There had to be more there, more to be said, than just the echoes of Derrida I hear in my head every now and again. More than Whitehead’s glorious cosmology, or the shards of Moten I picked up back in junior year that haven’t let go of me since.
What I’m really getting at, I think, is a struggle for voice. I’m a poet that wants to write essays. I’m a loner who constantly meditates on love. I’m an ex-preacher-in-training. Not even sure what that last one brings on stage, other than the fact that I’m a strange dude with a short, complicated history and a lot to say. A gut full of words, but not enough fire under me to make those suckers sing.
In the age of Twitter and Tumblr, I just figure it makes more sense to give my ideas out in pieces. Little glimpses into my mind that will eventually add up to something. Often times (and this may just be my delusions of grandeur speaking) this makes me feel like I’m cheating myself. Like I could maybe make something good, something really, really good, if I just sat still for a week or maybe even a month and just wrote and wrote until it all poured out. Fables with no denouement. Moths and machine hearts and dioramas of heaven.
What do you do with an idea like that? Where do you put it? Am I supposed to just sit on my futon, with my laptop and try to pen some nomadic opus? I can’t even stay on topic for more than a few sentences. And sometimes, I actually want to! I want the work to be understood and imbibed and enjoyed. But I also want to measure up to the great hearts that have coaxed me here.
Put differently, there are books, essays, poems, and songs that have changed my life.
I don’t want the loudest pen. I just want to do justice to that rhythm.
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- lauratosney said: …I know the feeling. Good luck; keep writing. I think, try not to fear the outcome, just let it flow…
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- etc1984 said: Very well put. I felt like i co-authored this. Thank you for sharing your voice.
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