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Writing, committing thought and wonder, questions and desire, hope, longing, confession and manifesto leaves one naked. You are naked when you write, and if you’re afraid to let the world see every lovely ugly, then the “enter” key should not be allowed. Hold fast your pen, keep your files hidden. Wait until you’re ready to slam it all down, unlock your door, let the stranger in to see you emerge from your bath, wet, bloody, home, and real.

I’m not writing so the stranger can rate me on some fixed scale like exhausted figure skaters or boxers who throw their fights walking away with millions.  I’m not writing for your approval or to raise eyebrows or cause trouble or to make history.  I am writing because, as a wise man said what seems so long ago, I can’t not write. It’s a driven and it’s a given that I will have pen juice on my fingers, that I stare long and lovingly at journals in the bookstore and have a hard time not buying binders and loose-leaf like some kind of kid going back to school. I love the smell of pen and ink and this laptop hardly creates the same kind of vibe, but that’s all right.

September has come and somebody turned the cicada’s song switch off: their voices are gone. The north wind brings a scent of flowers which I cannot explain. A hurricane comes and I am tired of figuring out which way to run. I colored my hair and bathed late, very late last night, and I wonder if my neighbors heard the water running.  My hair is clean and smooth and fragrant. I woke smelling its scent on my pillow feeling more content, happy, and pleased than I have in a long time. The moon is full and bright in my bedroom window again, which tells me what season we are in. I slept with the windows open beneath piles of covers so I can be warm and still hear the wind in the trees. I think your name and I can smile and write it in the sand, I can even allow you in my bed as I coax sleep once more, instead of fighting, fighting, fighting you, waking feeling like every little thing’s gonna be all right.

This morning’s beach is scoured clean by north/northeast winds, maybe 10 knots. Small, round rocks perfect for skimming peek out from the sand and I see no crab burrows.  A large, dead fish. It looks like something began to devour him and spat him back out, leaving his body on shore. Why?  A dead turtle, a kind I do not recognize, his small clawed limbs point southwest. I am sorry he died and hope it wasn’t because of plastic.  A black dog running wild on the beach that for some reason, no reason, for lack of anything I can explain, I do not trust him. Sea glass seems extinct since the beach restoration, but I found a little bit of blue and white ceramic that I put in my pocket.  On the final few feet back to my trail, I found a piece of shell the size of two fingers. She is deep blush-colored on the outside, and mother-of-pearl within, and she looks like how I feel when I hear his name.

I feel alive and well and ready to write. I feel grateful for everything that brought me here, what good, bad, strange, and otherwise. Time to commit the rest to paper and ink.