I am a disciplined sonofabitch.
Every day for the past 50 years or so, I've sat down at one sort of keyboard or another and tried to write something.
For decades, I wrote about Richard Wright or Charles Chestnut, or Chester Himes or Langston Hughes or Zora Neale Hurston as I ran straight uphill climbing a waterfall toward my PhD. in African-American literature.
My over-arching thesis was heretical then. It would be regarded as even worse today.
That there is a commonality on this benighted planet of how humankind copes with hatred and prejudice and oppression. Doesn't matter who you are or where you're from. We respond in some universal ways to universal actions. I believed that when I was a scruffy-assed graduate student sharing a roach motel with a trillion arachnids. I believe it today.
But that's all beside the point.
The point for me is my keyboard is my life.
Life enters through my eyes and ears and nose and feet and hair and sphincter. It swirls around amid my ever-dying corpuscles and it comes out through my fingers onto the keyboard, onto my screen and then, finally, some of it enters the world courtesy of some ugly platform and some free cosmic entropy-distribution platform.
Some of my clicking and clacking, most of it, too much of it, I get paid for. Writing about database software, or an exotic skincare line from Northern Africa or a breakthrough that could, we pray, eradicate disease.
Probably too much is paid for and not enough is me, but that's the way it goes. My breed was born to work. To track and kill the Mammoth. To drag it home. To skin it. To start the fire. To cut that sinewy Mammoth apart and cook it. And then to make tools with its bones and clothes with its skin. Your eyes are our jewels. Your bones are our tools. Your skin is our canoe.
My shtetl breed was born to work. To live to work. To die stooped over having worked myself, lonely, to death.
Too little is me pouring my baseball years onto the page, my whale an orb of horsehide. Or my life as a burn victim. Or the travails of a small man who, like Job, sees an angry world of marzipan plutocrats arrayed against him--and the crowds, frothing, that plutocrats sway with their bread and circuses--beer and football--against me, trying to make me go along poor and anesthetized believing I am fat and happy. When my soul is emaciate and I dwell in the sub-basement of gloom.
Too little is the hardship and pain of sweat and misery of trying to be different and decent in a world that prizes none of that. Too little is the loneliness of life and the estrangement from most living creatures who chase after plentitude and run from their souls.
Too little is what I want and too much is what I must.
Sometimes my fingers and thoughts are palsied and paralyzed. Nothing comes. Yet I force myself like a weightlifter forces his "one-more" rep.
And sometimes it sucks.
Sometimes I face my Qwerty and I strike out. I am deep into suck and fuck and blather and lather and crap and pap and a steaming hunk of junk and funk.
Sometimes I swing and miss, eight times, ten times, fourteen times. As one player once said somewhere to some bobbleheaded manager, "Coach, the moon got in my eyes."
Sometimes the moon is in my eyes and I cannot see for the fine dust of the universe that abrades my corneas and my lungs. I swing and miss, not nicking the ball, not getting near the sphere. But missing like life misses love. Like milk misses the glass in an old Keystone Kop Komedy.
But that's life and how it goes.
On those million days you swing and miss and miss and miss. It doesn't matter that a miss is as good as a million miles. You miss and miss.
And you get up the next day.
And you fight that fight again.
You swing after the ball again. The keyboard is there. You let you digits go, what comes out nobody knows.
Breakfast is ready.