Photo by Antonio Ruiz

To be honest, I can’t think of anything to write about this week. Well, that’s not totally accurate. My problem is that I have many things to say but can’t decide which one to write about. I looked for inspiration in the three books (not counting the one in the bathroom, Z by Vassilis Vassilikos) I’m reading. There’s The 1619 Project (yes, that one that has the entire GOP in angry hyperdrive convulsions) created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Growing up Latino: Memoirs, and Stories, edited by Harold Augenbraum and Ilan Stavens, and Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez by Richard Rodriguez. There’s a lot of angst, trauma, love, and inspiration in all these books.

They did get me thinking about what to write about, and then I hit this wall. I could discuss the role of racism in the country, and then I thought, Where do I start? Or I could write about my own story about growing up in the South Bronx, but that would take more than a thousand words. Hell, it would take a multi-book series, which would be for just the first thirteen years. There is also the story about my education at Saint Rita’s Parochial School in the Bronx. It was there that I transitioned quickly, like Richard Rodriguez, from speaking only Spanish to speaking only English.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Then I came across a couple of old poems and a blog post from last year that exemplifies my struggle about putting words to print. There was this one from November 2018:

Writing is not easy. The words in my brain swirl around like balls in one of those bingo cages. Turning over and over again, waiting to be spat out. B10. A36. D0. Constructing. Building a sentence. A meaning. Something that makes a point. Or not. Plays on words and images and meanings. That will excite me. That will open a new window to see what is outside or inside. Make me and/or you uncomfortable or comfortable. Just sitting here moving words around as they spit out of my brain. G20. O9. O11. D3. 

The point was that writing is like trying to hit the jackpot in a Bingo game. Waiting for those numbers/words to spring out from wherever they spring out is often left to luck. It’s not something you can control. They pop up from somewhere, in this case in your head, and you’re just lucky when they help you with the jackpot, the finished piece.

There was also this piece that I wrote for one of my Creative Writing classes at Long Beach City College, Writing at 5 a.m.:

When your mind is 
waking    fuzzy from dreams. 
The coffee high trying
to find clarity    
where there is none. 

We write
the pencil crawling       hesitantly
across the soul              reluctantly
making letters              wishfully so
we can define words     hopefully.

We write 
like a knife
cutting up
our souls
spilling all over
that fine white notebook.

While we suck it all up
with a no. 2 pencil
And hope
we understand it all
anyone else does. 
Image by Simon from Pixabay

Truthfully, I stopped using a pencil and notebook to write my pieces (except for ideas and outlines) some time ago, but you get the point. Writing is hard not because I can’t come with ideas; hell, I have a million of them. It’s because I have to dig around in some deep emotional shit, using my creative process like a knife cutting up my soul. When was the last time you wanted to cut up your soul?

Look, this is hard. Yet, I am like every other serious writer committed to writing until you can’t write anymore, as in when you have dropped dead. Read this piece from last year, Writing Until I Drop Dead.

There is something about writing that frees one’s soul.

There is something about shouting from your mind through your fingers, tapping a keyboard, and letters miraculously appearing on the screen in front of you. Spelling out meanings/hard words/soft words/definitions of real-life/made-up life/life as only I know it.

I wish I could reach back into the past for that one memory that eludes me to understand myself better, and I could write about it and tell other people who might use it to understand themselves better.

I just want to help.
I wish I could reach into the future to see that where I have been had not been a total waste of time.
That all this effort has not been in vain/that lessons have been learned/words, have set a vision and clarified the truth of where we are today/at this moment/so people can better understand themselves.
I’m just trying to be helpful.
And isn’t that the point about my writing?
Tapping out words that float around me/out of the neurons in my brain/I hate having to tell you this in person/because I’m shy and I’d rather my words and the stories they shape speak for me/really.

Imagine for a moment what type of house/street/neighborhood/city/state/country/planet/universe we could build if we just took the time to write a love letter to ourselves/our lovers/and haters/and we had no time for hate or war/If we just took all of our time to read those love letters.

This is why I will write until I’m dead.
I’m just trying to be helpful.
Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

I’m not saying this is all excellent writing. The point is that you write because, well, because. You write to flush out your mind and soul. You write because there is some truth you’re trying to unravel, discover, lay bare. Or you write because you’re obsessed with spilling your guts, and even if you’re pained by the process, you just can’t help yourself. Damn, it sure looks like some S&M kind of shit. Pleasure out of pain. Wait that sounds more like what a heroin addict might do. Yeah, been there, done that. I’ll just stick to writing to flush out my mind and soul.

Author: Antonio Pedro Ruiz

Antonio Ruiz is an ex-junkie-alcoholic, former seminarian, one-time radio host-producer, past community organizer, continuing to be a media advocate, retired television reporter, ex-commission executive director, once a street vendor of jewelry and gloves, waitron (waiter to you), a former bartender who drank too much on the job, an ex-motorcycle courier who learned to ride a bike just for the job, ex-airport shuttle driver, former Entertainment news director-producer, the best time of my life, one-time live TV events red carpet producer-executive producer, ex-small business consultant, ex-youth media and journalism mentor, and now a college student who also has been married three times (thirds the charm), and just couldn't help living with two other women because well, that's part of my story.

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