Immense Scrutiny: Oh, Okay

What the hell do we even write about anymore?

Why does every single new idea
have this immense scrutiny attached to it–
this, the next in my sequence of work
after this whole COVID- dilemma kicked off.

How would one go about this treacherous task
that I would argue nobody wants to undertake?

Well, the first impression of the situation
would be that you should just get started.

But there are so many previously-made characters
just waiting for me to observe their every move
on the silver screen!!

Nobody calls it the silver screen anymore, hon.

Aw, shut up. You never let me wax aquarium.
I mean antiquarian. Same thing.

It’s obviously a completely different thing.
One involves some weird combination of wax and water,
the other is old timey shit.

Well, I meant the old shit, duh.
Anyway, I can’t wait to just dig into
another drama or comedy
or whatever shit they’re shoveling these days
over at the old network of flix.
And now that I’m standing here
thinking about it,
I can’t stand just being here
without reasonable computer access.

What do you mean,
we’re literally on a computer screen.
We could just walk two inches to the right
and bump into a browser window with let’s see…
oh, not the porn one.
But it looks like that Stephen Hawking movie
was the last thing of repute in his history.

Oh, how was that?

Yeah, not bad. Pretty damn stylized,
but what do you expect from a movie
that’s supposed to undertake the monumental task
of depicting the 20th Century’s most prominent
cosmological luminary
while addressing his ALS?

They covered his whole life?

Nah, just a scrapbook of mostly decent memories
up until the point where his older kids are teenagers
and running around in some Buckingham Palace bullshit.

Oh, okay.

Finding Ideas

Where does one find ideas?

I have a few options already conveniently laid out for that, just in case you’re wondering and would like a bit of inspiration for your next writing session.

Ideas may be found:

• when you’re on the back of a rhino during sweeps week
• when you’re looking for an easy win at whatever particular sweepstakes gobbledygook
• in the shower, when you’re rehashing the constitutionality of bellybutton rings
• when going down an elaborate water slide and your swim attire bunches up on you
• in the intricate landmass of one’s diverted psyche
• in the cheaps bin at your friendly neighborhood record store
• as you’re taking a break from the mindless rock breaking that Uncle Sam thought you’d enjoy doing as an act of courtesy towards the U S of A
• when the idea of finding ideas has gone horribly wrong and you’re scrounging around in the dark to try to concoct something before your friends ridicule you for taking so long to come up with just one idea, but then you remember that you don’t have any friends, and you’ve been defending yourself this whole time (while everybody around you seems to lack interest in your entire deal, which seems ludicrous to you until you passionately enlist the support of total strangers and get the reaction that only the more pragmatic among your friend group would have predicted, if said friend group were to actually exist)

So when you’re out there flagging down ideas, just remember one or two of these techniques and your creativity will flourish because of it!

Pretzels and Applesauce

All right class, let me just jot some things down on the chalkboard here…

What am I hoping to achieve through the the synthesis of words in this particular manner? It would appear as though I’m looking for the special key that was crafted for the sole purpose of conveying the cosmic Truth as I see it. The nice thing about this hypothetical key is the almost-negligible cost to gain access to whatever happens to lie behind the lock–that is to say, the lack of necessity for lavish expenditures in order to reach the same island of internal artistic fulfillment as anyone else who’s choosing to express themselves on this particular plane. That’s not to say that this medium of words on a page or board is inherently superior to any other form of creative expression, it’s just obviously much cheaper (which appeals to my frugal sensibilities).

Now! Who’s ready to start learning the alphabet?

Oh come on, nobody’s excited about exploring the 26 letters of our language? When I was your age, I already knew what a silent E was. Trust me, you’re going to want to know these principles as you get bigger and need to concisely present your thoughts to the world around you.

Okay, okay. I can see that I’ve lost you guys. That’s okay; I’ve been teaching kindergarten for 25 years, and this is par for the course. I think you all have definitely earned your snack and nap through how attentive you’re being today, so good for you! Now remind me, who among you are vegetarian/vegan/lactose intolerant? Anybody know? Okay, pretzels and applesauce for everyone! Yippee!!

Old Fashioned

There’s something you gotta know when it comes to filling the back of a notebook page in order to get the most usage out of the limited real estate within that binding: there will always be more notebooks out there, but none in exactly the same space and time as the one being used for that particular purpose. Plus, you don’t want to be that jerk who wastes perfectly good page space because of a stupid aesthetic hang-up of some sort. I thought we were working toward something greater, you know? Just call me old-fashioned that way, but I tend to prefer writing my thoughts down in a physical book that was bound with care (or with reckless abandon, either by a person or a machine, depending on how cheap said book is). Perhaps a part of it is my narcissism and the desire to see my handwriting form my thoughts in a way that nobody else could, rendering it wholly unique in this world. Anyone can use a kitschy font to accomplish their compositions, but the uniformity of the pixel arrangements just seems to drag on my soul in such a way where I must allow my hand to express the gunk floating around in my brain (which, in turn, was planted there by the subconscious and unconscious in a seemingly-random order, brimming with detail and novel goodness). Even using my hand to capture thoughts on a tablet with a state-of-the-art pressure-sensitive stylus has a feeling of disconnection from the unlimited facets of our universe, even if the resolution of that tablet is so well-defined that you can no longer see individual pixels. Call me old fashioned (and a broken record), but books are the bee’s knees.

Oblivion – 15:51GMT

Did you think the world would end?

I’m regretting that I ended up in here;
can’t read or write or draw.

Yesterday (it feels like yesterday)
I detected a 6% chance of oblivion
coming on, like a light precipitation
stalled by the height of the clouds.

Were it to have more gravity,
a poor excuse for brevity,
I do genuinely feel like the world
would have stood a chance to–at least–
become toast, a crispy roach’s paradise.

But as it stands now, every day
of our consumption
is another plastic nail
in the coffin of our lovely carelessness.

I really wish I could use my arms.

Salt Spray and Low-Hanging Fruit

Don’t sever all ties
with the teeter totter land
we used to call home,
we may need to return
at some point and beg
to have our jobs back.

Just tell them we’re going
out for a weekend fishing trip.
We’ll actually go fishing at first,
since I know how much you hate to lie,
but after we catch a couple bass
we’ll take off for the tropical climes

where breezes constantly waft
through the air and our hair,
transporting aromas of salt spray
and low-hanging fruit. You can
get to work on that novel
you’ve always said you’re too busy for.

Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ll make sure
we pack enough pens and paper.
Just for God’s sake, make sure
to keep the supplies where the water
can’t get at them, or we’ll have to
double back and risk being caught.