the written life

My advice–and
it is just advice–
is to keep writing.

Get up at four am and write for two hours
every morning without a pause (free-write!), write on napkins
at bars and coffee shops. Go to poetry readings, ignore the
poets and write the entire time. Read your favourite writers
and copy out the sections you like, on a scrap, and then
write over top of that. Get one of those art journals from
Opus, one of the big black ones (8.5×11) and carry it
around and write in that, even draw in it, like you`re
Kenneth fucking Patchen already. Write on stuff like
garbage and leave it around town for the wigged out
folk to find, something like, “Recycled Poem: This
is something else now.” Write down every interesting phrase you
hear, every word you didn`t know the meaning of (but before you
go get the definition, make up your own). Keep writing it down. Buy D.A. Levy`s
collected works and cover it with LSD-infused wisdom. Make up a font and
always print your titles in that font, until you tire of this,
and then write anyway, write that you`re sick of writing,
that you loathe writing, that you never want to see another
poem as long as you live. Just keep writing. Read the entire lecture series
from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics
(Naropa Institute) and then write all over the inside covers
before returning it to the library. Write letters for a whole month
instead of emails. Write on. Write your self to death. Get up, drunk in the
middle of the night, cold and fucked up, and write down that dream,
the one where the old guy ordered, “Scotch Miffly” and your step-dad was
out in the car with a knife to your brother`s throat. Hell, write to
your step-dad–if he ever responds, the ensuing challenge of putting your
emotions into words is a hearty exercise in writing fitness. Send your
work to literary periodicals, magazines, the New Yorker. Send your
worst work, your best, the stuff that isn`t even creative–that`s what they
like. And keep sending it: most published poems have been circulated more
than three times. But keep writing. Write into your middle age where the waters are
strangely quiet. Write in your car at the mall while all the other middle-aged men are
masturbating in theirs! Distinguish yourself! Write through the bad dates, the shit jobs,
the unbelievable employers, the tedium of the 21st century, the fear in everybody. Write like you
finally got cancer and you`re grateful. Write like your life will go numb if you don`t write
–and it will! Keep writing. Like ghost-limb phenomenon, you and me and everybody risks ghost-life phenomenon, so write all over that bed-sheet, write on your arm, your legs, “This poetry the property of BC Mental Health” Write, because soon it will be illegal to think.
Write because
the world needs original thought, needs new writers–more old ones die out every day!
Write because for every word you write, for every thought you express that is free,
for every liberating phrase, one child escapes the suburbs forever! Keep writing
even if your significant other hates you for it, if your mother doesn`t understand it,
if your friends laugh or, worse, if they are writing, too.
Write yourself  “To Do” lists that always commence with, “Destroy everything”
and then destroy everything by
writing over it all, rewrite it, re-vision it, throw it out, start again, until the world you
thought you lived in doesn`t exist anymore and then write the history of this new,
alien place, on the ground, with sticks. My advice is to keep writing. Write every publisher who rejects one of your poems, and address him/her thusly: “I am not threatening your life. However…”


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