Follow The River, No Matter Its Rapids, No Matter Its Turns

You go with the flow.

In some cases, you go the other method.

Upstream, stories can be born.

Its too much. A big, scary, lung-punching, brain-tweaking pandemic? If youre not yelling into a couch cushion soaked with gin right now, who even are you?

And not even in a method of attempting to compose something thats valuable or sellable– but simply attempting to speak truthfully about who you are, about the world in which were living, and about your grappling with all of it. It can be about taking the time to punch that keyboard and yell onto the page– if only to clear the water and find time to climb up back onto shore to compose something else. It can be the thing youre writing, or it can be a way to get to the thing youre composing.

And I dont …

We typically do, in composing. We frequently break our own state of minds, against the news of the world, against bad reviews and against poisoned thinking. Our work is frequently an act of anchoring our boots against the soft slick weeds and the water-smoothed stones and move against the existing.

There is only– as there typically is in hospitals right now– triage. Deadlines or no deadlines, the words need to stream, but in some cases its a drip, and sometimes its a violent bar-night vomiting.

You keep up the river, not versus it.

Heres what Im thinking.

Theres been renewed interest in a post I composed in 2017– Ways to Stay Motivated in this Shit-Shellacked Era of Stupid– and with the increase on views on that post, theres also been a restored bevy of e-mails headed by way from authors who are foundering and floundering in all of this * gesticulates hugely * going on around us. These emails echo my own mindset, which is– after a garbled gargle of inchoate rage and confusion– how are we expected to write throughout this? How the hell am I supposed to put pen to paper, fingers to keys, and type out something that is even vaguely cogent, much less even a little bit escapist? How are sentences not simply strings of obscenity and ASCII garbage, how are our stories not simply 300 pages of wasps stinging ignorant bigots in their mouths? How do you not type with your fists, how do you not tell these stories through your clenched and cracking teeth? How are our books not just screams?

( P.S.? You can always edit it later on.).

Im believing all of this is a river. Its a dark, fast river. It crawls serpentine through the earth, through the forests. Often it moves slow, other times its all rapids. In some cases it is eerily serene, and sometimes its rough enough to knock your teeth into your knees and draw blood. Its waterfalls and eddies, its deep and its cold. Like all rivers, it can soothe you, and it can betray you.

Its a lot today.

… have a fantastic answer for that.

In some cases, however, I believe you got ta do the other thing.

And not even in a way of attempting to write something thats marketable or sellable– but simply trying to speak honestly about who you are, about the world in which were living, and about your grappling with all of it. It can be the thing youre writing, or it can be a way to get to the thing youre composing.

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You can battle against that river.

Sometimes we cant get out of the river or go against it. Write what requires to be composed. Write what the river informs you to write.

This river, the river were in and on now– its more difficult, meaner, a river after a flood, a river whose waters are not sated, who will not ease off. Its mudded up and frothing like the muzzle of a wild wolf.

Often we cant get out of the river or go versus it. Compose what requires to be written. Write what the river tells you to write.

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