top of page

On safety

Saturday 1/14/23

My mother fell off of a chair she was standing on the other day. I didn't learn about it until today. She seems to be okay so I'm relieved but annoyed because what the hell are you standing on a chair for? She's lucky. She had an awful fall off a ladder a number of years ago and she's fortunate that didn't kill her. Which means I'm lucky she didn't die and her daughter is and her grandkids are, etc.

I'm like, "I thought you promised me not to stand on things?"

And she says, "That was ladders."

We're doing a technicality? So I extracted another promise from her, with greater coverage. I should get it in writing.

But let's make this a general thing about safety. I'm saying this to a bunch of people today of all ages, and I'll say it here now: Don't take your safety for granted.

I'm a Zulu warrior, right? Do you know how many times I look both ways before and while I'm crossing a street? Even a non-busy street?

It's like twenty times. Drivers will run you over. They don't give a fuck. They're not looking out for you. And never assume someone won't be going the wrong way down a one-way road. Expect them to. I do.

People die for all kinds of stupid reasons they can control. Now it's a bit different with my mindset, because I think, Okay, you're here to change the world to the good more than anyone ever has, you need to be around for a long time. I carry that around with me. It's how I always think. It informs many choices I make.

But you have to be careful no matter who you are. And never assume someone else is going to be looking after your safety.

Now, having said that, it was thirty something degrees today and raining and I ran 3000 stairs at Government Center. But I am very cautious as I run. I'm not absent-minded and I'm making certain of my footing. I've had one fall in my years of stair-running. I'm not a dare devil out there. I did 200 push-ups as well.

I worked on two short stories and wrote a new one that needs work.

I wrote a very unpleasant, ugly--for what it had to address, not the upstanding, polite, professional way in which it does so--letter that I have not sent yet.

I'm not taking it anymore, bigots of publishing, if that wasn't apparent. I have no fear, and I will expose you if I have to. There isn't anything you can do to me that you haven't already done, and there is much I can do to you. Either you stop, or you get taken down. And even if it doesn't happen right at first, it will.

This is from one of the stories over the past few days. Game over prose.

I don’t know. What’s meant to be in the envelope? Why is it getting pushed? Pushed towards whom? When I hear that phrase in connection with what I do, I think about me making some demand upon myself and writing it on a piece of paper and sticking it in the envelope and sliding it across the table. Sliding it back to myself, I guess, or this other version of myself who is really who I am. More than this guy talking to you. Not that I’m being fake. Little sidebar. We moved from the East Coast and the ocean to the Midwest when I was a kid. And I didn’t feel myself in that new place. I don’t feel myself without an ocean near me. Doesn’t have to be outside my window, but I need to know we’re fairly proximate, if that makes sense. An ocean could be a part of my day, and that wouldn’t require a plane. That’s the same way with story. Not just the here-I-am-formally-writing component. I mean it’s a way of being. I open the envelope and I see my demands that I made to me, which are really my expectations, the buttressing of my being. Or the proof of the buttressing, what it looks like outside my window, so to speak. What’s the window? People say the eyes are the window to the soul. But that’s wrong. A window doesn’t have a window. The soul is the window. Like the surface of the water is a window. We make the mistake of thinking that windows are made of glass. They don’t have to be. The characters are in there, in the envelope that I’ve pushed to myself. By opening up myself. That doesn’t mean autobiography. It means everything I am. It means my imagination. It means being present. It means empathy. I am closer to these characters—these people—than anyone else. But we’re a long ways off from the McDonald’s arches, do you know what I mean? There are no formalities here, and mere signage can fuck right off. The given—which is also the last thing I would ever take for granted—is that I will listen and try to learn from them, about them, these characters. I don’t get more real than they do. If anything, I aspire to their level of realness, as I fill in the gaps and the blanks of myself. I’m indebted to them. And of course you listen hard—as hard as you can—to someone you’re indebted to at the fundamental and transcendent level of who you are. Wouldn’t you say?

This is Primal Scream playing XTRMNTR in 2000 because it mirrors my drive of late and I'm listening to it now. "You got the money/I got the soul/Can't be bought/Can't be owned."

bottom of page