My Dark And Shining Places | 5.1.22
The Sunday Edition
*Quick reminder of something exciting I’m finally offering up, after years of people asking me to do so. I am now, for the first time, offering up little personalized video greetings in the Chasers Shop! Think Cameo, without being Cameo, and I listened to all of your advice, all of your feedback, to try to create prices that fit people’s budgets. In addition, I decided to make the Free Gift for those who sign up for a Founding Member subscription to this Signal Fire, one of those video greetings with me reading any poem I’ve written in the Typewriter Series or The Never Was. Anyhow, if you’re interested, click the button below! Thank you, as always, for all your support!*
Grumpy ol’ Hemingway once famously said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” My little poemlet above says something pretty similar, and I remember the day I said it. I was asked to come back to my high school a few years back, and have a conversation with two classes of A.P. English students that belonged to my favorite teacher I had through all my high school days. When things were wrapping up, some whip-smart young girl raised her hand with what would be the final question, and asked me simply, “What IS poetry, I guess, to you?” The poem above is exactly what I said, and I surprised myself with just how damn honest it was, just how right on the freaking mark it actually ended up being for how I feel about poetry, how I’ve always felt about poetry, and why it’s literally saved my life more times than I know how to count. Poetry IS, at least for this strange Autistic hermit on the hillside, taking my aches and trying my very very best to make them sing.
Fact is, as weird as it is that Sarah and I created a company, and an entire lifestyle around the phrase “Chasers of the Light,” more than light, I’ve always been a bit more darkness. As I’ve gotten older, gotten more comfortable admitting these things about myself (See also the numerous Signal Fire’s about embracing the way we’re made instead of fighting it), I realize that while there is that darkness within, I’ll be hot damned if it’s not shining too, in its own way. I’m filled with aches, both good and bad, stained in joy and saturated in serious and absolute sorrow that I have endured, and all I ever try to do in my work, be it poetry or longer form, be it poemlets or what I always call my ‘prosetry,’ is let each and every one of those sing. In their own voices, in their own ways.
Problem is, anytime I try to describe just how I go about this singing, or at least the providing of the space for said singing, I’m about as helpful as a porcupine waiter at a balloon animal party. I have no idea what that means. If I had a dollar for every time someone in an interview, a Q&A, an email, or a direct message asked me what my ‘creative process’ is for writing, well, I wouldn’t need to write these Signal Fires, and I sure as shit wouldn’t need to beg you all to jump behind the little paywall and join the subscription supporters. Every time I’m asked, I try my best to explain how the complete and total lack of a process is in fact a process of its own. That I just do what Hemingway said, sit down at a typewriter and bleed, only I don’t want to say that because it’s bit melodramatic, but then again, saying that my aches are singing is probably just as ridiculous. What’s more, once I was asked to create a little ‘course’ of sorts about precisely this. About what it takes and what it is to write a poem, and some tips and tricks on how to do so. I suppose people think that once you write over 3000 typewriter poems, every single day for over 3000 days, you know a little something about. I suppose going 12 years without ever missing a Daily Haiku on Love, makes people believe you’re a hell of a lot smarter than you are. I suppose I’m just really good at fooling everyone into thinking I have ANY idea at all what I’m doing, when in reality, I’m just flying by the seat of my proverbial pants. Today, I decided that in lieu of me trying again to express what I already tried to express in said course, I’d give it to you all for 50% off what I usually ask for it. It was already on sale, and now you can have it on sale again, for 50% off, cause why the f not. Click the little button below, or go to ChasersOfTheLight.com/shop and you can add the “Poetry - A Course of Sorts” to the cart. Enter code: SINGINGACHE and it’ll apply it. You’re welcome, I think. I have no idea if you’ll find anything of worth in there, but I do think so as those who have tried it before have really liked it, so that’s something. IF you do give it a go, let me know how you find it.
The point is, friends, we’re all filled with dark and shining places, and the amount of acreage those places take up in us grows exponentially as we age, as we experience, and as we survive and thrive our way through a life. Toss in extraordinary sets of circumstances like those we’ve been presented with over the last, hell, 7 years, and we’ve got enough land inside us to start a whole new world. Our job, as humans, as artists, is to provide the means for those places, those aches, to have a voice of their own, to sing with them at the top of their lungs. Everything I have ever written and shared with all of you has been this, the shouting of the emotions inside. It’s all the hurt, the betrayal, the romance, the passion, the sex, the sadness, the joy, the loneliness, it’s all of it at once, it’s all of it singing out in lyrics I don’t even understand until they are down on the page. I am beyond lucky that you listen, that you lean your ears in to hear those words, that you bother to care enough to share them, to hold them close to your own hearts, to let them inspire Your words, your songs. It’s why I always say thank you, it’s why I always say I Love you at the end of these silly Signal Fires, because truly, I Do. You hear these singing aches, these stories of all I have survived, and instead of running away with your fingers in your eardrums, you stay. You stay, and you hear, and then, for reasons I will never quite understand but always treasure, you join in.
Take your aches, let them sing. Take your dark and shining places, and explore them, bathe them in the light of your own understanding. We’re here, ready to sing along.
These my singing aches,
my dark and shining places,
all I have survived.