I hate doing research.
Actually, and here’s the thing, I don’t hate doing research. I think I just hate the idea of doing it. The idea of sitting with thousands of books trying to fill in some little gap.
Actually, and this is weird, I do like that idea but I don’t have the time to spend on that. I want to write – now. I don’t want to have to wait before I’m educated enough to write about something. I want do dive in and have the words pour from me freely already endowed with the knowledge.
It’s my muses fault. It must be. I remember a time when my muse was wide awake and every little thing triggered something deep within me that begged to be written down. I carried a pen with me everywhere and poetry found its way from that pen and onto everything from the College Rule Notebook I tried to keep handy to bar napkins and coasters that were within reach.
Then, somewhere along the lines, my muse died – or, maybe, fell asleep. The question would be: how do you wake up or resuscitate a muse?
At one point, the oppression of the military and the newness of alcohol (with, possibly, the faraway mentality of Southeast Asia) were enough to turn the typewriter over and pluck out a few noteworthy ideas. Sometimes it was poetry and other times it was prose.
There’s really only so much patience I have for my typewriter. It’s ancient and lacks the ability of “Shift” which means no capital letters. I became e.e. cummings.
Then, I found drugs. I don’t know if they helped or hurt the muse but I’m pretty sure I cranked out a steady stream of bad writing around the time I was groovy. Let’s see… this would’ve been 1999 mostly but especially one crazy summer.
It was the summer of ’99.
I think I actually started with Ecstasy which is weird if you think about it. My roommate had just discovered it and you know how those kids can be. I lied and said that I’d done it before and that I’d love to do it with him. I don’t even think I’d really smoked pot or anything. I’d gotten drunk a few times and it was fun but I’d never really thought of myself as someone who would willingly eat something with heroin in it. But I did. I have a small notebook full of bizarre illustrations and the hazy memories to prove it. Buy me a drink, give me a smoke and I’ll tell you all about it.
Sometime, after the drugs, after the military discharge but before the long, drawn out working stiff years, is when the muse shriveled up and left. I don’t know where it went but it’s gone. It’s been replaced with a sort of nagging yearn to create but without the vivid voice that told me what to say. Instead, I’m left with the memory of writing, a pen in each pocket and track marks, a grim reminder that any smarts I was credited with have since exploded into a red ribbon of blood before the plunger pushes the tainted cocktail back into me for a rush of epic bliss.
Followed by a writer’s block that God couldn’t cure.
And so I sit, my fingers poised above the Home Row, my eyes staring at those hands. I see faded scars from early stabbing and the tattoos, a cliché attempt to hide them. I see the two watches that I’ve always worn but still don’t have a reason why and I see the ring.
She picked it out and married me, knowing what I was and loving me anyway. Her hands are the ones that trace the scars and feeble tattoos and her voice is the one I hear. Even though she’s at work, while our baby sleeps soundly in the next room, it’s her voice that I hear, telling me to keep trying.
To just type.
As I watch my hands, poised over the Home Row, I see that I’ve been typing; I’ve been writing. And I think I might have just found my hiding muse. She wasn’t sleeping or dead, she’s just at work – but she’ll be home soon.