On the Cusp


It is a rare thing for me to write about my writing. Meta-write, as it could be called, and delve into the reasons for what I do and how I write. In a sense, I’m lazy. Talking about what I do and teaching the craft to others is something I find very difficult. It is a grievous mistake to assume that if you know how to do something well, you know how to teach it well. Teaching is a skill. There have been times in my life when I’ve seen someone who is skilled at a task, say music, and they can rip up and down scales, fitting notes together as if they were legos. I’ve come to that person and asked them, “Hey, I suck at that; can you teach me?” And they say, “Yeah, man. It’s easy.” Two hours later, after I’ve defenestrated the man who couldn’t teach anyone to touch his own nose, I’ve lost all confidence in my ability to learn the dulcimer. Yep, easy as pie.

To define a thing which originates in your gut, tendrils up to snatch what you’ve learned over time, and spins those threads into a glorious tapestry of brilliant unutterable phrases… “Yeah, man, it’s easy!”

Never fall off the cusp of being able to describe what you do. Yes, I believe there is a craft, and we all should adhere to the Ink-assassin’s Creed: “We write in the light to serve the word. We are Ink-assassins. Nothing is true, everything could be ironic, or iconic, or epic-ish.” But what do we do, really? What am I doing? Am I creating ex-nihlo, or at least as close to ex-nihlo as man can approach? Am I filling empty space with meaning? Just as life cannot be defined by the mere quips and non-sequiturs of politicians, just as, over time, poets and artists have rent their clothes in anguish over the exact metaphor, the exact representation, the exact color of reality; so I am fretful over my responsibility, my devotion to the Word.  How do I distill a decade of growing pains, of criticism and praise, of self loathing and pride?

Whoa, that’s a huge cusp! I’ll just stick to sitting on the edge, thanks.

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