I don’t know who the hell makes all the rules, but someone is to blame. I don’t know the meaning of life, all of us are here for something but whether it’s to pick cherries or save the whales, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except the love we have and the love we bring and the love we show – at least that’s the metaphysical brand I buy, but what if I’m out to lunch and my brand is wrong? I don’t know the truth and sometimes I can’t catch all the slimy lies. I don’t know if it’s better to be a pacifist for every season, or if there are some people so far beyond the bounds of love that they are irredeemable and should be treated like rabid dogs. What do you do with an Adolf Hitler or Ted Bundy or Pol Pot or Gary Ridgeway or on and on and on and on through the catalogue of evil doers? Are they too dangerous to live, or should they be studied like plague germs, under a psychoanalytic microscope? These questions bother me, a liberal pacifist who should know what I believe and what is right, but right now I am a liberal pacifist who just doesn’t know.
after me, the Flood
said the King of France, shrugging
let's not copy him
Here’s a fun exercise to do the next time you think your writing is becoming boring and predictable. Write for 10 minutes, or fill two pages, writing as fast as you can (don’t think!), and following this one simple rule: each sentence must have a totally different topic than the one before it. This is not only easy, but fun to do, and it will jump start your creativity, dredging up new ideas and colorful phrases you didn’t even know were there. When you’re done you may have the first sentence of your next novel, or the line of a poem, or your weekly shopping list. But you will be revved. Here’s one of my exercises using this trick:
Away down home the chickens are cackling. Today I’m going to bed early. Wearing glasses shrinks the mind. My pen is leaking. Outside the world calls me to come and play. The tree topper men were here today and didn’t pray before they cut down the trees. Sarcastic words dripped from his mouth like fly guts. We go on a ride toward hell, or perhaps I am mistaken. I can wear green because I’m lucky. If I went to town I’d walk down the cold and windy street and let the curls of industrial smoke blow through my hair. I wish I didn’t worry so much about nothing, but perhaps it is my job. Some people die with the name of God on their lips, others just die. Once I walked through the pre-dawn streets of Montmartre and saw the shop windows light, one by one. I look for gypsies under my bed, but so far none have materialized. After all I’ve done, I still want more. Today I was interviewed for a job by a boy of perhaps 20 and got an unpleasant glimpse into the future. My grandmother totters on her old swollen feet and wants to die but doesn’t know how. Whining is so unattractive; why do people do it? A frog leaps from the sludge and blesses me with his bright green croak. You must love with passion all your relations, past and future, and especially the ones who never got to be born.