You asked me when I started writing. Where did it begin and what caused it.
I mentioned Lou Reed. Bob Dylan. My sister’s old boyfriend, my favorite, who encouraged me to poem and to hippie. I mentioned that assembly freshman year of high school when I read a poem that caused all the teachers to warn my parents that I might try to Sylvia Plath myself. I mentioned open mics and giving up my dream of being a pastry chef.
But also because of this.
I started writing when my razor’s blade grew dull. And I started to write when I ran out of girls to kiss. And
I write when I binge on too much food, and feel the need to purge something.
Here’s the thing:
I’ve been writing letters to this old, white guy named Richard Brautigan, who keeps feeding my book shelf.
And I think of my student who asked me: Prof, why do so many writers off themselves?
And I said, because so many come from tragedy & addiction & too much sadness to be cured by prescriptions, and it is the writing that keeps them alive, until….it just no longer can.
So I write to stay alive. Until I no longer can. And then maybe someone who needs a reason to remain will find me. And I will feed their bookshelf. And we all can just keep saving each others’ lives. One poem, one story, one page at a time.