ALWAYS BE WRITING
Jason Aaron's BEARD MISSIVES Newsletter #10, Thoughts on Thinking and Stuff
There’s a part of you that’s always writing.
Like an app that’s constantly running in the background, whether you want it to or not. Or like a parasite that requires constant feeding.
Not sure whether that’s good or bad. Suppose it could be some kind of disorder. Maybe something to be embarrassed about in polite company.
But as far as I can tell, it’s how the thing gets done. And the thing getting done is always of vital importance, no matter how the mind or body is otherwise engaged.
I’ve been writing while driving. While pushing the baby in his stroller. While drunk, while fucking, while at a funeral. While listening to someone talk through tears. While taking a beating. While enjoying the happiest moments of my life, perhaps of anyone’s life. While hearing screams of the most vile, hateful shit, all directed at me. While puking my guts out, while surrounded by penguins, while sitting in court with a serial killer. While learning things I’d come to wish I didn’t know. While so tangled in someone’s limbs you forget which are yours and which are theirs. While convinced I was about to die.
Life is beautiful and worth living just for the sake of the living, I know. But living is also work-related research, when you’re writing. When you’re awake, you’re on the clock. Sometimes when you’re dreaming too. Though dreams aren’t usually your best work.
Daydreams, on the other hand. Daydreams are dumbbell curls for creative muscles. You daydream other lives that play out over years, that end in your own death or carry on without you, that rewind, recast, reboot.
But what’s real is always the bedrock. You use your pain and other people’s too. You use your joy, and in the using grow even more joyful. You live and love because you need something to write about. Because you need to know how it feels to be a human who feels thing. Because maybe you’re not. Not really. Not the way most everyone else is. Maybe you’re just a blood-filled attachment for a pen or a keyboard.
I had to stop doing another thing I was doing to come write this.
Sometimes it comes on suddenly, like a fever. Sometimes it burrows and festers, and you have to work it like a splinter that’s stuck deep. Like a seed in your teeth you can’t stop poking with your tongue until it comes loose and gets swallowed below, to grow into a story you can feel deep in your guts.
It feels better than most anything when you’re able to birth all that out of you and wrestle it into some words on paper or a screen. Even if the words seem inadequate or not quite in the right order. At some point you may even be bold enough to want to let someone else read it. Maybe. But even if no one’s around to hear it, a tree that falls in the forest has still finished its cycle. It enriches the ground where it fell so something new can grow in its wake. And the feeding can start all over again. The feeding of the thing that gets the thing done. The thing that will hopefully never stop being so goddamn hungry.
I’m not sure how much of what I just wrote I truly believe. But I’m not sure you have to believe everything you write. You just have to feel it. Have felt it. Have longed to feel it. Have felt someone else feeling it. Have done your very best to imagine all the many ways it could possibly feel to be feeling it right now, at this very moment, over and over and over and over again.
These are all new books I have in stores this week, including the long-awaited SOUND AND FURY graphic novel inspired by the music of Sturgill Simpson. If you should choose to spend your heard-earned money to pick them up (I assume it’s hard-earned, I don’t know what the fuck you do), I hope they bring you some semblance of the same fulfillment in the reading that they very much gave to me in the writing.
This has been Beard Missives, direct from the bearded, blood-filled attachment that is Jason Aaron.
This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by Jolly Rancher Jelly Hearts, Lays Numb and Spicy Hot Pot Flavor potato chips and Jack London Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.
Thanks as always. Hope you’re healthy and loved.
KC, February 2021