Writing: Sestina

Kim Addonizio

trigger warning: suicide

I spent an entire day at my desk writing

vapid effluvia like I’m so sick of writing

pages of drivel, not feeling like a writer

at all even though “A writer writes

and doesn’t just talk about writing”

was drilled into me by a writing

instructor years ago. “Writing

begets writing”

was another lesson I learned from this writer

though she published only one book, written

when she was twenty-five, and never wrote

another. She taught writing

until she shot herself at forty. Writers

sometimes kill themselves—after all, writing

is difficult and so is mortal life and even good writers

are sometimes bad at living; writing

can be a place to hide, but you can’t write

all the time and when you hate what you do manage to write

it makes you feel dead already. To write

well is another story entirely. Sometimes writing

takes you so far out to sea that you, the writer,

disappear like shredded fog. There is no writer.

The ocean is the writer.

When it lets you go, weak as a dangling modifier, the writing

washes in like space debris. You say “I wrote”

but you didn’t, really. You only transcribed the writing

the ocean gave you. According to some writers

God is the Ur-writer

since He created the world and humans but as a writer

He got mixed results at best. The best writing

sometimes might be no writing.

Does the world really need more writing

and more people trying to be writers

when there is so much wrong that writing

can’t fix? It seems the most that writers

can do is call out to the world, but who listens to writers?

Possibly, no one. But keep writing; be a writer.

Without hope or reason: writing. Beyond good and evil: writing.

And if you stop writing, try not to shoot yourself. Get a life.

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