#500WED: Why?

Why write? Why breathe?

I will be moving through my life and encounter a sentence like a bubble floating up from the bottom of a lake. It will pop in front of my face, and I will see it with utter clarity; I will know where it wants to be taken. Like a small child, it will grab my hand and I will feel the warmth of it, the solid form of its structure and intent, and we will walk together as it grows. Soon there is not a child holding my hand, but a grown person, and it releases me, waving good-bye as it walks onward by itself, fully formed.


I have aspirations to become something, someone of worth and weight, whose name is not known globally, but in certain circles is taken quite seriously. I want to surprise those people, the understanding sort of people, with my desire to speak with them, to learn about them, and maybe later, to write about them.


I carry a moleskine with me everywhere. It is blue, and the pages roll like Pacific Ocean waves due to some accident of humidity or of my own. Some of the pages are filled with practical lines – places to be, things to remember, notes taken during meetings I would rather not have attended – but there are ideas there, concepts that have not yet taken a form. They are simple amoebas, gelatinously evolving over the course of words or pages, and I let them sleep for a while until they are ready to evolve. In the meantime they grow, and I chart their progress mentally, trying not to disturb them or let them know I’m watching.

They find me, you see. I don’t go searching for them.


I am a detective. I have the trench coat and magnifying glass, see? I can snoop things out. I will dust for fingerprints, and track footprints and trail markers, and solve any mystery because I have crafted myself such that it is so.

I have scrimped and saved for the clothes. The attire of a detective is not given, but earned, through small cases, and pennies found between cushions, and advances given (“half now, and half later”) until you don the coat, or the hat, or the shined up black shoes, and people look at you and think, “That must be a detective!”

In reality, these things only provide the necessary image. People expect a certain look, and if you don’t deliver, you aren’t worth your snuff. Anyway, money is not difficult to find, and it only occasionally takes much time. What you need, what makes your insides worthy, is the forging of the metal for the handle, the blowing of the glass. There will be many attempts, and many castaways, many failures smashed in shame upon the floor or melted down again and again until unusable.

Finally, though, there will be a magnifying glass, and it is yours. It is a thing of beauty because it is a thing of usefulness, and it is yours. If someone stole it, it would be useless; they don’t know it like you do: where to grasp, where to look, which angle can use the sun to etch burning into things (you admit, you’ve practiced).

It is yours. You have made it. It is yours.


Why breathe? Why bring in the air only to let it out again, a repetition bothersome with its triviality, its automated mindlessness – what use?

Have the air or eschew it. You tease yourself with fullness and with the lack of it, and all the while changing, moving – even in sleep you do not let go of it, this security blanket of constant momentum.

Stasis is death, you say, pointing to the ones who have ceased to breathe, and then you walk on toward another destination, moleskine in the breast pocket of the trench coat, magnifying glass at ready in hand, and the other waves as the child, now grown, turns toward its new horizon.

Why? Breathe. Write.

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