I never stop being amazed that people read my writing. I honestly can’t wrap my mind around it.
Just think– if you read every post I posted in 2019– the second sparsest year of writing this blog has ever seen– you read over 50,000 of my words.
That’s a novel!
A bizarre, disconnected novel, but still. A novel worth of words. Written by me.
Some of you have actually read my books. Bought them from stores, and sat down, and read them.
Today, a child wrote to ask me questions about being an author. She asked if I was writing any new books, and I thought about how I always am. Several books.
I have more words than I have time to write them. I have more words than I know. I have more words than I have projects, and so many of them are the same.
Does every book on everything need a page or so about love?
Yes, I think it does.
A man who has read my blog from the beginning wrote today to say that he’s followed me on Instagram these last days, and he’s disappointed to see that I’ve become radicalized.
This made me laugh.
Radicalized. From radical. From the Latin, meaning, root.
Meaning, what I have always been before I was anything you would recognize.
Discounting articles and prepositions, the most used word on this blog is: loved.
As in, you are.
You are loved.
You are loved, even though we could pass each other in the street and not know. Even when there is nothing we can offer to each other except the reaffirming of that truth.
You are loved.
Even though, because, despite. Without anything required or owed, or due.
I say this all day long, from prison cells to hospital beds, on social media, and in letters out. It is my most consistent message. My most important one, and the one most likely to be challenged by the world.
There’s so much money to be made in tricking people into forgetting how loved they are. Whole institutions are built on those claims.
How could you not see that I’ve been radical this whole time?
Why would someone who so fiercely defends your right to be loved, to love, to be love– not just as firmly stand for your safety and freedom?
Why wouldn’t I love your neighbors? Why wouldn’t I want them to live in a world that holds them up, gives them space to grow?
Why wouldn’t I say something?
Wait. Have I not been making sense this whole time?
I know– I know I am missing the point of his message, but I can’t help that in the millions of words written to this space, I’ve developed a sort of writer’s ego.
“Writer’s ego” is a fancy way of saying I now have two stomachs. One normal human one for food and instincts and butterflies. And one that just flips, and tosses, and fills itself with ants as I worry that there is no purpose to my writing, no universality, no understanding.
I worry that maybe those ants are carrying me, that maybe I have swallowed my own crutch. If I stop writing, I might fall. If I keep writing, I might only be feeding my self-contained ecosystem.
Maybe I only think I am reaching out into the world, but really I’m just butting my head against a terrarium tank made from my own typing?
I am working on a few new books. I have more words to put in them than I even know. There are some words they need that I am still learning.
With language being as new and old as it always is, it is no wonder that being an author is one part writing, eight parts something else.
I don’t know what those other parts are, I tell the little girl for her summer school assignment. I just know they exist, and for me, that other stuff tends to look like swallowing down as much life as I can. Into both my stomachs.
Life is lived twice when you write about it, and maybe seeing it from that perspective is what makes it so easy for me to believe we can author a better chapter for this world.
I see my whole existence as a kind of story, a book. A spine of a book is the same as the root of a person– it’s what holds all the pages together. Life has not been easy. I’ve had pages ripped out, erased. One time, I threw thousands of words down a prison toilet and flushed them away with tears of grief. And even though so many pages of me are blank, I stay sturdy because of that glue, that spine, that radical radical root that knots up my back and holds my chin up.
I am loved. You are loved.
And we deserve justice.