why write?

"What's so hard about your life?"
Only that it's life.
Like everyone else's.
I write only to process it - not because I'm ungrateful.
There is so much to life.  My way seems more sane than surprising - don't you think?

Rilke:  "Letters to a Young Poet #1"
You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must", then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.


  1. My dentist seems like a sensible person. He's cordial, receptive to and happy to engage in whatever style humor you've got going, with a rich, deep and sensible-sounding grew-up-right-here timbre/accent, and certainly competent. If he's a quack he's doing a great job of faking it.

    I met him 20 years ago when I helped coach a little league team. His kid was a good player. He was a great batting-practice pitcher - a machine, really. It's not easy to throw a couple hundred strikes in a row to a bunch of 12-year old kids (I swear we were bigger when i was 12, etc), especially with no catcher behind the plate, never mind the shoulder pain.

    How could such a sensible-sounding gamer like that be a quack at dentistry or anything else? I'm thinking he can't and isn't, but that's just my perception. I wouldn't know - all I've got is his take and I don't really care to ask around about it, and that's not what I'm doing here.

    He's got framed "Only Floss The Ones You Want to Keep" cross stitch quotes on the walls of the treatment rooms in his office. No surprise there, but here's the thing - if you were to tell him you brush 10 times a day for 10 minutes at a time with the latest technology electric toothbrush, he'd say yeah okay whatever, how often and how well do you floss?

    If the answer is anything less than "often and well," to him the choice between that and not even using a toothbrush (just occasionally dabbing your finger under the faucet and then rubbing your teeth with your wet finger) but flossing often and well is no choice at all. When I see a TV commercial for the ultimate experience in teeth-whitening, plaque-fighting, tartar-control, gingivitis-preventing, "my dentist says it's the best thing you can possibly do for your dental health" toothpaste, I can hear my guy's groaning face-palm.

    He's not against toothpaste in general - it gives you minty fresh breath, but they all do that. Just use the regular stuff, and floss often and well. In the realm of dental health, the type of toothbrush and toothpaste you use is 1/10000th as important as how often and well you floss, that's his position.

    I don't know one way or the other about 13-year old ponytails. You seem to be making it work anyway, smoke 'em if you got 'em, etc.

    1. your dentist is 1000% right according to my periodontist. that is too how you spell, stupid autocorrect.

  2. Christy that was me, pam, accidentally under my son's account