Yours for the Taking

The holidays are headed straight toward us like a speeding truck and he doesn’t want to hear about it but I can’t care about that right now. Not when I’m surrounded by cinnamon and spice, pumpkins and evergreens and twinkle lights in window panes earlier and earlier every year. It’s strange the things that warm us and the things which turn us inside out with nostalgia when we least expect it. The way a soft falling snow would glisten just outside my bedroom window as I fell asleep waiting for a fairytale to leave me presents under the tinsel covered tree. One day they tell you it isn’t real but the magic still exists inside of you. Once you believe in wonder it can never really be snuffed out entirely.

The trick is you get to conjure the magic whatever way you know how and if you don’t know much, or at least you don’t know enough to know better, you just may find yourself chasing it in vain to the bottom of a thousand bottles tossed away into the emptiness of an endless night. Who was it that said there’s not enough night? Kerouac? Heaven knows you can’t get away with a misquote these days. You have gotta know your shit and do not play especially not around writers.

Have you read, I’m so sorry but I am gonna bring it up, have you read the Bad Art Friend? The two lady writers, the ‘writing community,’ the kidney donation, the plagiarism, the backstabbing, lawsuits, and general flagrant misery? The ganging up on the one behind her back? It is, as you have probably assumed, a hot mess of a story some guy published in the New York Times. It’s a lengthy tale which held my attention for almost a solid hour mainly because of its many wild twists and turns and layers of writerly aggression and bullshit, and also because things were slow af at the office.

I think ultimately the question that really grates on the conscience is not did you plagiarize, did you steal, but if you were called out for it would you admit it. How many relationships are destroyed because one or the other or both just cannot bring themselves to come clean with themselves and/or each other that sometimes we are terrible, terrible through and through, and only think about defending ourselves, right or wrong, come what may. Be it money, guns, and lawyers, or book deals, or creative freedom or saving face. Or even the fantasy of making perfect art, and holding it in the palm of your trembling little hand, right before the illusion of its infinite magic is obliterated because what you failed to realize is its perfection – its indestructibility – never existed to begin with.

Finding out that not everything is yours for the taking. Coming face to face with what you are allowed to have and what you are not. Tasting the edge. Walking along the wall which exists between where you belong and where you do not. Feeling the sting of where you as an artist must accept that your realm of experience ends and someone else’s begins. Writers are thieves by nature. There are bad guys out there. Bad girls, too. But none of us are perfect and we love us a scandal most of all the ones where everybody is suspect, everyone is guilty and innocent and vengeful, deceitful, and ultimately damaged and bruised and afraid. Just like everybody else. Just like you.