and tear them apart
or you pin them down with your body and pretend they’re yours.
Richard Siken, from “A Primer for the Small Weird Loves”
but when you are in my presence,
it all becomes nervous.
What the fuck is that, “act my age”?
What do I care how old I am?
The Ocean is old as fuck.
It will still drown your ass with vigor.
the greatest thing i have ever read
1. Don’t think that being published will make you happy. It will for four weeks, if you are lucky. Then it’s the same old fucking shit.
2. Hemingway was fucking wrong. You shouldn’t write drunk. (See my third novel for details.)
3. Hemingway was also right. ‘The first draft of everything is shit.’
4. Never ask a publisher or agent what they are looking for. The best ones, if they are honest, don’t have a fucking clue, because the best books are the ones that seemingly come from nowhere.
5. In five years time the semi-colon is going to be nothing more than a fucking wink.
6. In five years time every fucking person on Twitter will be a writer.
7. Ignore the fucking snobs. Write that space zombie sex opera. Just give it some fucking soul.
8. If it’s not worth fucking reading, it’s not worth fucking writing. If it doesn’t make people laugh or cry or blow their fucking minds then why bother?
9. Don’t be the next Stephen King or the next Zadie Smith or the next Neil Gaiman or the next Jonathan Safran fucking Foer. Be the next fucking you.
10. Stories are fucking easy. PLOT OF EVERY BOOK EVER: Someone is looking for something. COMMERCIAL VERSION: They find it. LITERARY VERSION: They don’t find it. (That’s fucking it.)
11. No-one knows anything. Especially fucking me. Except:
12. Don’t kill off the fucking dog.
13. Oh, yeah, and lastly: write whatever you fucking want.
My creative writing professor told me to stop
writing about love. I asked him why and he said,
“Because you have turned it over and over in your hands,
felt every angle, every fault, every inch,
every bruise. You have ruined it for yourself.”
I spent the next 3 weeks writing about science
and space. Stars exploding.
Getting sucked into a black hole.
How much I wished I could sleep inside of that nothingness
without being annihilated. What an exploding star
would taste like. If it would make our stomachs glow
like fireflies, or tingle and shake like pop rocks
under our tongue.
My creative writing professor told me that those poems
weren’t what he was looking for.
He tells me to stop writing about outer space.
Stop writing about science.
Again, I ask him why. Again, he says,
“You have ruined it for yourself.”
I spend the next three weeks writing about my mother,
how we are told we can’t make homes inside
of other human beings, but the foreclosure sign
on my mother’s empty womb tells me that women
who give birth know a different,
more painful truth.
My creative writing professor tells me I am both talented
and hopeless, that everything I write is both visceral and empty,
a walking circus with no animals inside
but a beautiful trapeze artist with a broken hip
selling popcorn in the entrance-way.
He tells me to stop writing about my mother. I don’t ask why.
I pick up my books and my notepad
and I leave his office with my war stories
tucked under my tongue like an exploding star,
like the taste of the last person I ever loved,
like my mother’s baby thermometer, and I do not look back.
We are all writing about our mothers, our lovers,
the empty space that we will never be able to breathe in.
We are all carrying stones in our pockets
and tossing them back and forth in our hands,
trying to explain the heaviness
and we will never stop writing about love,
about black holes, about how quiet it must have been
inside the chaos of my mother’s belly,
inside the chaos of his arms,
inside the chaos of the spaces in every poem
I have ever written.
None of this is ruined.
Do not listen to them when they tell you that it is.
|—||Caitlyn Siehl, “My Creative Writing Professor Told Me to Stop Writing About Love”|
A man with OCD recites a poem about his one true love. It’s heartbreaking.