This Is My Start Line
This is my start line. For a writing practice. We practice writing. We practice having our thoughts flow. We come when we are tired, hungry, lonely, frustrated, calm, happy, joyous, paralyzed. We come when there are no words. We come when all words have stopped. When our characters sit on the ground like petulant children and say, “Up yours! We won’t speak to you, so go write some bullshit with your pen ink and paper that you so meticulously prepared”
We come when our lover has left us, when we have found love, when the world is a loveless cold place, when love and hope caresses our flesh. We come when we remember. Remember a relationship, a food, a walk through our favorite park. We come and write and come and write and come and write. The endless courage of showing up. We write about nothing and everything. We come and question ourselves and the world.
And Jack will say, “Where’s the poetry here?”
And the poetry is here when I press the pen against the paper and the ink spills out on the page. The poetry is here when I am willing to risk everything. Talk about the darkness of movie theaters in St. Louis, where sick men prey on young boys and laugh. The poetry is here when Jimmy risks everything to love Suzanne and let her know she is special. The poetry is here when Nick Sands needs one more Scotch to talk about his pain and in his pain I see my Mother and that is the poetry.
We keep coming empty and full, bloated with nothing and when the air seeps out of the bloat only the truth is left and you better write it down because it’s ugly and beautiful at the same time. The silliness of a well constructed joke, sex and death, my Grandmother’s hands, the pain of suicide, it all belongs here. Here at the table. Sitting here at the tables and somewhere in the distance I can hear Natalie’s voice faintly saying, “Keep the pen moving across the page.”
My brothers and sisters keep me company. To be a community. To push and to push back. To cheer, laugh, cry, risks, succeed, fail, inspire and most of all keep me accountable. This is my start line.
Zack Hoffman 2017