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Letters to Writers #3

December 31, 2016 at 12:08am
Subject: Words on Words

I write these things and I think they are more for me.

Is writing selfish?
I just finished “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.” I heard about it from Stephen Elliott/The Rumpus years ago and finally got around to it. I am a horrible reader but I’m trying to change that.
Your book made my heart hurt. And it scared the shit out of me. Too many reflections.
I also had an absent father. He was semi-homeless for a time. He lived in his Grand Torino and parked in the The Ramp’s lot at night. He was friends with the owners and sometimes played jazz there.
I didn’t meet him until I was 29. I hadn’t even seen a picture of him, never heard his voice. He knew I was alive but never bothered. He’s dead now. We never became close. The gap was too wide, his shame too deep.
I’m 46 and have a 12 y.o. son now. Being a father has been hard. IS hard. I divorced his mother when he was 6 and choked on shame for a long time for breaking up his family. I struggle. How do you be something that wasn’t there? I’m present, but full of fear and doubt.
I’ve spent the years between what was and what is trying to figure out who I really am.
I started writing shortly after the divorce. Just a shitty blog that over time became a little less shitty. I’ve felt a pull to write since my teens but stuffed it. I was too busy trying to die.
You know, motorcycles and lost spleens. And crystal meth. 1986. 1989. 1990. Even after those almost-deaths I kept at it. Then I got beat up bad, lost some teeth.
There was something about losing the teeth that woke me up, made me choose a different path. It was a better path, but I was still lost. I still had bad choices to make.
Now I’m trying to write a fucking memoir. But I sputter and doubt. I surf depression.
Can a person with only a high school education write anything worthy? What the fuck am I doing? The amateur is pissing all over the toilet seat and onto the floor.
I think the book is to my son. Hopefully it will make up for the pain I’ve caused him someday.
Anyway, thanks for the real. The world needs more real.
Photo Credit: fotologic/Flickr
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