Threatening the life it belongs to

I’m watching the Fran Liebowitz series on Netflix and my brain is on fire. I agree with 99% of what she says (but disagree when it comes to the majesty of athletes).

She talks about talent. You have it or you don’t. People who aspire to be talented are misguided. I’ve always known I had talent. That might sound arrogant but it doesn’t stop it from being true. And I know when something I write is great. It doesn’t come from outlining and note taking. It comes from living, reflecting and then pours out. I can tell when it’s going to be great because I get a little scared and tingly. And feel the overwhelming sense of urgency. The thoughts come and I have to write fast enough to capture them, sometimes taking a break from this train of thought to capture another that must be addressed because the association pops into my mind and might evaporate or escape or lose its passion. It is the work of years and decades of experiencing everything so acutely and then sketching it in prose.

It doesn’t feel fun in the moment. It’s a purging of sorts. It is uncomfortable. But what comes of it is truth raised to a new level. And when it’s good, I just know. I can’t wait for someone to discover it and tell me that they felt it…not the urgency or the craft…they felt what I felt in the moment of living that I filtered through my voice into words on a screen. And these readers have impeccable tastes. Impeccable: free from sin. To them, I am worthy of time in a world where everything nags for our limited seconds, metered out over a life of unknowable quantity. We only get so many of those seconds and, at the outset, we never know how many we’re going to get. So it is the highest honor that they would reserve some of those precious quantities for my thoughts that I manage to type out in manic bursts.

“This?” I think. “This thing no one but me should care about…has meaning and value to you? When you could be looking at a Basquiat or studying Gothic architecture or listening to Mingus or anything that rises to the level of art?”

Gratitude floods me and, in a moment of keen self-awareness, I am equally flattered, appalled, humbled and embarrassed. “Get better,” I tell myself. “Be worthy of the honors bestowed upon you. You are not there yet.”

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