“You complain for the life you supposed to have/But when you try to make plans God is known to laugh…” Broken Glass, Talib Kweli
I’m in St. Louis for a writing workshop even though I’m no longer convinced that writing is something I need to do. I used to have a sense of urgency: get published, be that one to watch, write because life and limb depend on it. Man, truth is I have no clue what my life is dependent on these days other than, maybe, oxygen—smog ridden as it may be.
The older I get the less pressed I feel about anything even though it seems like the feeling should be in the reverse. You know: the older you get the less “time” you have so you get all rushed and crazy.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m still as opinionated as ever. But I’m a walking expiration date. My statute of limitations is seriously a.d.h.d. In case you haven’t noticed my monthly meter has been conspicuously absent from my blog because I have not been able to concentrate enough to read one single book in two months and I can only recall one residency/manuscript submission in just as much time. If your eyebrows are raised in a WTF kinda way put ‘em down. This was a long time coming.
Memory, in as much as it’s just a self-shaping of reality, corroborates the story. So it’s the story I’m sticking to.
Here’s the quick list: In middle school I wasn’t really Black enough—since most of my classes were with the White kids my best friend was White; my mostly White classmates wore Express and Valencia so I was too poor to be a Wigger. In high school I was pretty religious but my skirts and list of don’ts weren’t long enough to be a real church girl. The same list of don’ts was too long to be in with the cool kids. In college my hair was too straight to be with the poets and artists; I couldn’t write a decent critical essay to save my life so I wasn’t with the intellectual set.
The writing/artist set is just the latest poor fit: I’ve discovered I either take too many showers, eat meat, and listen to (insert gasp here) hip hop other than Common and Mos Def. Or else I lack a Phd, tenure, and don’t have NPR as one of the presets in my truck’s stereo. And yes you read right; on that list of why of I don’t fit in with either: I drive a truck (that I actually clean at the hood ‘wash while blasting said hip hop).
I have never been able to be any single thing–not an artist, activist, student, or lover—and do it at the top of my game; never fit into any one place so snugly that I am truly part of it including most recently this writing thing.
Maybe that’s because of all those shortcomings from listening to cheesy pop stuff like “Lovers and Friends” by Usher and Ludacris (I probably should be embarassed for liking–okay, loving this cut) as I sit here writing this to not being able to make profound references to obscure and sundry poems, poets, and Jeopardy facts in my everyday conversation. Maybe it is because I get bored more easily than I realized until I found myself, the other day, plucking the hairs on my arm one by one when I found myself stuck in the same room doing what I supposedly love, writing, for an hour straight. Then I remembered how I had to start going to the grocery store once a week because I no longer liked the choices I had made by the time the week I had bought them was out. There’s the drying paint and canvas in my studio, straight pinned sewing projects I never finish, books by the bed, and still tagged clothes.
Which is all to say it seems an appropriate time to let this all go. Not writing per se because that would be the same as suicide for me. I write like I breathe—without trying; some days without wanting to either. But letting go of the belief that there in a such thing as a fit (for me) in that, hell, the world; there’s not one community I can think of in it that I wanna pay property taxes to. So that house ain’t gonna get bought…ain’t gonna happen. History corroborates the story and you know what they say: those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. (Which I guess explains the last 20 or so years). Well, that and the fact that my parents actually had sex. Who knew parents did that?!