Medium for the Universe

I wrote seven words today, James Joyce said. I just don’t know what order they go in.

Yes, that is the question.

Yesterday, a senior high school student wanted me to show him a different font.

I said, No.

He asked Why?

I said Appearance means nothing.

He said he wanted that font.

I said, “I don’t care if you write it on a Sonic paper sack, if they are the right words, I’ll slap an “A” on it.”

He was not satisfied, but the class started clapping. I said, “Testify,” and the class started whooping and hollering.

That’s the difference between a writer and a non-writer.

A writer writes in the back seat of a car in the rain with someone driving her somewhere she doesn’t want to go.

On the back of the cable bill because it is oversized with questionable and despicably vague charges while pulled over in a parking lot transcribing song lyrics with an eyebrow pencil.

On the back of the professional development agenda because of the droning on and on of apologies for the ultimate failure to show the video because of technical difficulties.

In crayon on a paper sack with colored pencil on a found blank page for note-taking in the back of a pamphlet on Anemia and You in the waiting room, on printer paper while asking forgiveness from the gods of the printer budget, on long, yellow, legal-pad paper going against the grain and writing something that should be, by all that is holy, illegal.

A non-writer thinks of writing as something innocuous and pedestrian, something along the lines of setting up garden gnomes or stringing beads, or washing wheel covers.

Writing at its best is graffiti and at its worst is graffiti, and it is never pretty, only mind-altering.

When was the last time you got your mind blown by a garden gnome, or a pretty font, or a white picket-fence?

Who can say when the muses will strike, when the albatross will die, when the furies will screech and scratch their message through?

What will you take to hand, you medium of testimonies?

Oh, great, paper soul

These stone words sink

By degrees


Thy fine-milled


The Universe is whispering. Do you hear?

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Writer, mom, reformed culinary disaster. Maker of legendary potato salad.

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