Thinking Of Cut-Down Trees
I can’t seem to get over this idea that to be a writer I have to be beautiful.
I think it was Vonnegut that said all writer’s wives are beautiful without exception. It might be pretty gross of me to be quoting Vonnegut but two years ago it would have seemed pretty gross to me to still be alive at 23. 23 was an age I never did think of in terms of the future, 23 years is more than enough for a city to rebuild from an earthquake. Do you get what I mean? Stability. Stability and good economy and a feeling of safety.
Thank God I don’t have to be a writer’s wife, at least. As it happens I may be an artist’s wife in the future. Marriage wasn’t something that I ever really dwelled on, either, it was just an occurrence that may or may not happen in my lifetime. Like an earthquake. Like a World War. My thoughts about my future were largely unsupervised, that is: I was opposed to anyone having an opinion on what I should be and who I should be and how I was to go about doing what I was going to do.
So at fifteen I had been writing for eleven years or whatever and I got a sense of belonging from it, three years later I chose Toughnight as a stage name underneath whom I might give an unending monologue. I think of Hamlet whenever I think of monologues. I am no Hamlet. I don’t do enough to be considered as a main role in my own life. Either way I figured I would be a writer because I was already writing. And after Toughnight came other pseudonyms you can find in literary journals and mixed-media glossy magazines etc etc.
But writing words doesn’t make you a writer. I am not a writer, I just write sometimes. I am also not beautiful. The latter of these things irks me more when it comes down to the idea of writing a novel. I fear my face on the inside of a slip cover. Artists are mysterious. My face gives away no mystery.
I may or may not be an artist’s wife, if marriage is something I want to do. If marriage is something that we want to do. My boyfriend used the word ‘partner’ in a sentence referring to me not three days ago. Imagining his grinning face as I walk down an aisle is more than I can bear, sometimes, when I’m trying to be bitter in order to write lists of guys I’ve fucked. If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know what I mean: I was sad for ages and I was self-destructive and that was easy and appealing to write about because of Bukowski, really. Bukowski and the thrum of hormones left over from my teenage years. My teenage years when I thought I would die before I started anything. I did think I might be beautiful later on and then I could be a valid artist, musician, writer.
There’s an intrigue, I can’t be wrong about this. There’s an intrigue, a shallow appeal, that is needed when admiring a creative person’s work. Especially if it is dark in nature. And that appeal is sexual, at least to me. Because attraction is valued above all else.
You fall in love with writers and musicians and artists. And when you find out they are normal, they are goofy and sarcastic and have said uncool things when under the influence, you feel like a jilted lover. Like some internet-dater who has been catfished.
But then my partner hasn’t read anything of mine. And my partner calls me his partner and he kisses the corner of my mouth when he sees me.
I think my slip cover will be a picture of a blank desk, which everyone can find beautiful, because it’s a beginning of something. Like a teenager, like the rebuild after an earthquake. Like a person who thought they would be dead by now but isn’t.
Fuck you Vonnegut, I may never be as great as you but at least my husband will be attractive, like all those writer’s wives.