Friday, November 23, 2007

Location, Location...

His beady black eyes stare out from his hiding place, and two slits that serve as nostrils seem to sniff the air for food, perhaps company. His ears poke up, and his legs (stout as they are), hold him staunchly in place. He is a sentinel, a watchman, a fully-aware presence clothed in shimmering silver, unmoved. He is not a knight, he is not a tower guard, and he did not exist during the Crusades. No friends, he is none of these things, but I still must reckon with him, and all those who pass through my home must reckon with him as well. His name is Slick, and he's a round, silver-plated pig into which we drop our loose change. He sits on our desk, his home, the place from which I'm writing right now.

I usually don't write from here. In our current state of random apartmenthood, I have secured lodgings for my laptop and printer at the kitchen table, though I think I will shortly migrate the setup into the bedroom. Yes, I've just described a pig to you, a lifeless and hollow fake at that, but having the pig near me reminds me that I'm home, as this desk reminds me, as the lady in the bed reminds me, as the closet and the new jade plant and the jar of quarters and the dresser. Already my girlfriend is reminding me that we adopted (yes, she said adopted, like something you do to an infant or a puppy) this silver piggy because my silver change followed my pants and socks across the floor, and because we needed something to be ours, I think.

And now I feel the urge to write in a way that's been...missing? Is that the right word? I think I've had urgency, but urgency about what? Who do I do this for? I know it's not for my advisors. Maybe I've had it wrong. Maybe what I'm writing for isn't ME, exactly, but rather, for where I am. Figuratively and literally. Could it be this simple? Could I simply have lacked the space, the zone in which writing was not so foreign an activity? I'm surrounded by things that remind me I'm a writer, and they have nothing to do with the implements of writing. I would kiss this pig if I could do so without my girl looking at me sideways.

I've heard it said countless times that a writer needs to be writing all the time, needs to carry a notebook and jot jot with frequency, with purpose, with UGH and verve and rightnowgoddammit. I listened to the immediate voices the night I found out Pedro Pietri died. Something told me, park the car, and something else told me, walk to Union Square park, pull out your pen, and write this down. And I did. Couldn't tell you what I wrote if you'd asked me. Don't even know where the journal is. But something spoke to me of place, and my writer-self responded, and I knew, and I obeyed.

Never really considered it, though, the idea of place. There's a place you must write for, write to, one that sometimes isn't fully explained, one that can only be discovered for one's self. For me, it's this desk, this piggy bank, these objects in this room. I want to see Neruda's writing room next.

How about y'all? Where's your place to write? Where is your place?

2 comments:

oscar bermeo said...

if i listened to everyone who said i had to write every single day or else i wasn't a writer, i would have stopped a long time ago but to answer your question- the place i write is about 3 hours before a big deadline.

happy post-pernil day.

Sheryl said...

My place for my first collection was the desert border, (El Paso/Ciudad Juarez). It still is in many ways an obsession that I'm compelled to endlessly revisit. Now, in Colorado in what seems surely 6-8 inches of snow, I find snow constantly re-emerging in work. The west in general is vast and open, so I'm excited to visit NYC soon and see this urban landscape so central to so many great poets! I'm sure it will be a great experience.