Writing For My Life

The following was written in response to an assignment to read “Write Like a Motherfucker” for English 404 Creative Nonfiction.

Photo by Antonio Ruiz

I don’t remember if I read this somewhere or someone told me this: Writing is writing. Period. If you’re not vomiting words onto a page and instead just looking out the window, standing by the coffee machine, or sticking your head in the dryer waiting for inspiration, then forget it. You’re wasting time. The blank page should be an opportunity, not an invitation to stare.

It took me sixty-eight years to realize that I could not take the opportunity of the blank page because I didn’t see it. I was too blinded by every insecurity and disorder created by drug addiction and alcoholism ever imagined. When I did get sober or straight enough to write, it was but a drop in an ocean of living. And more often than not, it was like the trash you see floating on that ocean. Embarrassing and disgusting all at the same time.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I love the line in “Write Like a Motherfucker.” The one that tells us, “You have to tell us what you have to say.” It has been mainly in the last four years since I turned seventy that it dawned on me that I understood these instructions. While school assignments have been an excellent excuse for writing (no one but me was going to write those class essays), I’ve also realized that it could be a great learning opportunity and a lab for experimenting. I could write until I developed carpel tunnel syndrome, knowing that sometimes I would write some good shit and other times I would write lousy shit that I wouldn’t want to read a second time. But that was okay. I wrote something.

I wrote through my moods (and boy, do I have moods) and the times that I ached from everything that can hurt in a soon to be seventy-four year old man. Fuck, it has come down to time. I don’t have time to waste. I got plans for my future, so I have much catching up to do. To use whatever time I have left (thank goodness old age is a family trait), I’ve got to keep busy.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Best lines in the essay:

“The unifying theme is resilience and faith. The unifying theme is being a warrior and a motherfucker. It is not fragility. Its strength. It’s nerve. And “if your Nerve, deny you –,” as Emily Dickinson wrote, “go above your Nerve.” Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”

Dear Sugar, The Rumpus Advice Column #48: Write Like a Motherfucker

That is good advice that I live by every day on this plane. Do it because not to do it is not to live.

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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