The notes on my phone are full of opening lines. In-roads. Ways to penetrate the work of the words. There are stories inside of you and I want them spilling all over me. I want to know what makes you tick. I don’t want your skin, I want your secrets.
They tell me it’s arrogant – no, not arrogant, lazy – to start every sentence with “I” because no one cares what “I” think, they only care what they think they ought to think and how I can get them there. There as in: into themselves farther than they ever thought possible. Deeper than they feel ready to go. So many people assume the way in is by fucking or inserting something, a body part, an idea, a feeling, a flashy gratuitous violence.
More often, though, the way in is by removing something, relieving the reader of their own neuroses which stand in their own way, blocking them of wonderment. I want to unblur your own vision, help make the scales cascade from your own eyes.
It’s a Friday night in the beginning of autumn, the leaves on the maple trees are just beginning to turn and the way the clouds spread thin across the starry sky fills the atmosphere with ghosts come back from the other side. Wood burning and the scent of withering earth. I can hear his breathing as clearly as I can see the smoke of his warm breath against the chill of the air.
We ride our bikes up through the old cemetery in the quiet of midnight, just before the blackness tips over into thin lines of gray light. I’m sick of everything except the open rolling hills. Exhausted of this life full of its useless tragedy and broken bottle hope.
We sit together beneath a monstrous tree, in silence as the darkness shifts just slightly enough that I can see his eyes shining bright beneath the moon. He is perfect in that sweet obnoxious way guys can be when they don’t notice themselves or the effect they have on those around them. Maybe they do, but if so, you’d never know it.
It’s an art, the way he carries himself with such intensity and yet such casual indifference. I don’t know how it’s possible even though I can see right in front of me that it is. All the girls want to know what it feels like to be his girl, but I want to know what it feels like to be him. The trouble is that even as I fall into fantasies of him touching me or whatever else, there is a part of me which remains detached. Watching. A third sinister eye. Sketching what I see so it exists inside and I can take it with me, on some alternate plane where everything that ever happened or will, is happening all the time in perpetuity.
I wouldn’t say it’s calculated but maybe it is. An attention to his voice as he speaks, even to the pauses. Even to the unspoken, or perhaps, especially to this. In a world where every single thing is an attempt to drown you in any kind of noise so long as you remain disoriented, my salvation is to notice the way his fingers handle his stubborn lighter. The way his nocturnal animal eyes dart across the landscape of tombstones, a flick of his hair, the eyebrow arched and frozen in place for longer than you’d expect.
In his eyes I see the way he sees things and it intrigues me. That’s the thing about writers. As desperately as we want to find a way to get in, into the story, into the scene, into the pain and the thrill of discovery, we are just as thirsty for something, or someone, to carve us a way to get out.