Telling Stories

Every time I tell a story, my story, I rid myself tiniest bit of pain. I write not to dull the pain however, I write to feel it. To experience a moment long gone except in the in flowing scratches of ink across a piece of paper and to drink mightily from the sweet nectar of nostalgia and glory and ghosts and demons.
      It’s easy once you get yourself started. All there is to it is sitting down with a bottle and a pack of smokes and you puke and you bleed and you laugh and then throw most of it in the trash when you’re done. It’s quite a bit like sex, to steal an idea: first you do it alone in secret. Then you try it out on someone you really trust and care about. Then you chickenhawk all over town trying to get anyone who’ll take it and then finally, if you’re good enough, you figure out how to get paid for it. It’ll only cost you one soul, a few addictions and a whole shitload of swallowed pride. Some won’t like it, but what the hell do they know, anyway?
    Some folks write because they can’t believe in heaven, but also can’t stand the thought of dying. What a spiteful, narcissistic bunch of broken fools we are. We don’t believe in life everlasting, but we sure as hell don’t want anyone else to forget we were here. The thought that one day we’ll be gone and somebody else will be living in your house, banging your girlfriend and throwing all of your shit in the trash is almost too much to bear. We hope  to achieve in death what we could not in life and that is love and respect and envy; shallow as it may be.
     The best stories are told because someone had a story that needed telling. It doesn’t have to be for the betterment of society or revealing some tragic atrocity to the world. In fact, most of the time it’s a story that needed to be told in order to get on with the business of living; or dying, as it were. Either because we’ve seen something that we cannot move on from or live with until we’ve done our best to tell the world about it. Or perhaps because we’ve lived something that can only be made sense of and pacified, if at at all, by putting it down on paper.
     I suppose I fall mostly into the latter. For me, writing is the great cleansing of the soul and the only way to stave of the insanity of great loss and great regret. It doesn’t come all at once like eternal salvation at a Sunday baptismal, it comes slow and messy like a slit wrist in a bathtub. Like an orgasm or learning to appreciate Nirvana. For a select, talented few, the story they need to tell will be well received by the masses and praised by the critics, but for most of us it’s just something you do to stave off the demons and then begrudgingly discarded like a dead hooker in a wood chipper.
     If nothing else, writing is the Clark Kent to the Superman you portray to the world. Sometimes you wear a mask for so long that you forget who you are -or were- underneath. It allows you to tell the truth at least somewhere and provides a convenient disguise for the gawking yuppies at Starbucks. When you’re a writer, or at least playing at one, folks discount your oddness and your eccentricity, your mood swings and flakiness, because you’re an “artiste”. Otherwise you’re just the strange ginger wearing full rimmed glasses and drinking whiskey at nine o’clock in the morning

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