- Fuck all the rules.
- Read what you want to read.
- Everyone has a story to tell.
- Share your work.
- Be confident no matter how bad you think your writing is.
- You are an artist. Never forget it.
- The literary cannon is not important.
- Write for yourself and everyone else.
- Grammar is not the be-all, end-all.
- Always keep writing - never stop.
The story of how my parents first met
is one I never ask to hear. My dad likes
to tell it anyway. He prides himself on
his marriage to my mother. Says that of
all his accomplishments in his life so far,
that’s the one that matters most. Says
that my brother and I should feel things
like blessed and lucky because in a world
where everyone’s parents are splitting
up, they’ve somehow managed to stick
together. When they kiss, it brings the
sun. It is not perfect, my parents’ marriage,
but for them it works.
We don’t mention how my father almost
moved out two years ago, how whenever
they get into a fight it splits up the house
like a checkerboard. We don’t mention that
sometimes my mother will go into their
bedroom and cry after he’s yelled at her.
We never say how mom has said before
that she “can’t stand that man”, how I’ve
caught her on several occasions flipping
through travel magazines, that she stashes
pictures of beaches and mountain ranges
under her pillow like she’s eleven again,
waiting for the tooth fairy.
I figure that some things must work for a
reason, that sometimes it’s the things that
you don’t say instead of the things that you
do. My father tells me that he hopes my
marriage will be just like his, but I’m not
eleven anymore, dad, and the tooth fairy
has never existed. I still remember my
mother coming into my room that night I
lost my front tooth and prying it out of my
hand in exchange for a dollar. We measure
love in teeth, in dollars, in children. Marriage
is just a race to see who can make the other
cry first. It is baby teeth in a child’s fist.
Confession: Sometimes, when I really get into the groove of writing and things are falling together and the words are running off of my fingertips like droplets of water, I get so absorbed into my characters that I forget who I am for a split second, and I suddenly become the character. It’s only for a second, but it’s still a second that happens.