About the Writing Craft

A Tad

Most of us work alone,
most of us are uncomfortable relating to them.
We watch them, we mingle with them,
but we are never quite among them.
They are suspicious of us—and rightly so—
for we shaped them,
from the Declaration of Independence to Mein Kampf,
from magazine ads to suicide notes.
When they think too deeply about us
they realize that God didn’t write his own stuff
in the Bible and the Koran and those other holy books.
We did.
Every word we write makes them
a tad better or a tad worse.
A tad? What is a tad?
Is a tad more or less than an iota,
bigger or smaller than a smidgen?
It's only writers
who ask such seemingly unimportant questions.


Everything else ...

There is no after life.
There is the before life,
which we gain from books, pictures,
and stories that our elders tell,
and, who knows, some remnant event
from an ancestor's trauma
passed down into our dna.
Just how much of the self
is in the dna I don't know.
Do things matter that you don't know?
Not to me they don’t.
There is memory—
all memory is false memory, you say.
So what? False memory is all anybody’s got.
There is the life of the moment
as you apprehend it.
Everything else is rumor.
Which may not be true,
but it’s a good starting point
for writing your novel.


Write for the Lips and the Tongue

Think of a word as a kiss offered to a lover.
Some kisses are short and sweet,
some long and languid.
Some speak of affection.
some of passion.
Some whisper in the ear.
Some explore the depths.
Some just suggest possibilities and leave it at that.
Some start fires, and some put out fires.
Some hold back, and some go all the way.
Write for the lips
and if the mood overcomes you,
offer a word to the reader
like a priest placing a wafer
of sanctified bread on the tongue of a communicate.


Fricative Refract

The act has to be physical
as well as mental.
Lips must move.
Tongue must waggle.
Teeth grind.
Eyes tear up.
Mouth widen with smile
or fall with frown.
Facial muscles animate with feeling.
In the car--out loud.
On the street--a whisper.
Before sleep--captions
underneath the mind-video.
When you talk to yourself.