This is my message to the world that never wrote to me.
I feel a little naked writing something that the whole world might tune in and see. Actually, I am naked. I am 46 years old and I’m naked and my hair is all messed up and I can’t sleep. This is a totally new medium for me. I have been writing since I was 12 years old and I have been writing “morning pages” since June of 1996, but all that I have written before has been written in long hand, on white lined loose-leaf paper, with a smooth-writing medium ballpoint pen, in blue or black. That never varies. That also uses another part of the brain. The part you use to stare at a tv screen and tap out little words on little keys has either atrophied long ago or never been engaged in the first place. When I write my morning pages I don’t worry about spelling or punctuation and I write in ALL CAPS to make a point and I underline and write sideways in the margins and no one ever reads it anyway. I have six or seven big binders full of that stuff and it is a veritable gold mine of information about my life and my psyche and my irritations and my likes and dislikes and what makes me happy and what PISSES ME OFF!!!! I also use a lot of exclamation points. I actually talk in exclamation points. Not everyone does but I do. I think my whole family talks in exclamation points. It may be genetic. But here I sit because Bob made me do this and I can’t sleep anyway and I was lying in bed thinking of all kinds of clever things to say, things so damn amusing I was making myself laugh, but here I am and I’m not even mildly amusing so maybe I’d better go back to bed and try to be more entertaining tomorrow. I am not going to do this if I can’t at least amuse myself. I want to use family expressions like, “Well I’ll be a suck egg mule!” but you have to be careful not to use those expressions just anywhere. Maybe I can get some of my morning pages and write excerpts from them here. Some of them are pretty goddamn funny. Last summer I went to a writer’s conference on the campus at the University of Iowa, and I took excerpts with me and it had them rolling in the aisles. I also wrote several stories about growing up across the street from the Billingsley’s, a family with four kids just like ours, but we were absolutely Victorian in comparison to them and their lives. Just a fer instance. I once watched the two younger brothers, Bruce and Jay, get in a fist fight in their bedroom when they were maybe ten and twelve. Jay kicked Bruce in the chest where he just happened to have pocketed a handful of loose matches, and the matches struck and started to combust straight up out of the polo shirt pocket, and I had to break up the fight to PUT BRUCE OUT. That’s how it was growing up with them It was a laugh a minute. They are still my favorite people on this earth. I just went to see Jamie in Fayetteville about two weeks ago. All we do is laugh. I have to go. I have to get up and go to work tomorrow as a librarian. I mean I GET to go to work. I love my job. I am known as Conan the Librarian. Or just simply, The Barbarian. I may have the least quiet library in any public school. Remember I talk in exclamation points. It’s hard for me to be quiet long enough to say SSSSHHHHHH.