Good morning to you exactly where you are. I’m in my orange living room, listening to the sizzle of toasting banana-oatmeal bread. The light peeks up over the Oakland hills, breaking through the cloud cover, giving us a spray of sun.
This is what I want to tell you today: every single time I sit down to write, I freeze up. My mind goes blank. All the voices that want to tell me how stupid or crazy or has-been I am come roaring up inside my throat, behind my hears, in my belly and bones. They tear the words from my fingers and laugh at them. They want to know who I think I am. If I don’t try to write anything serious, then I’m ok. If I only write in the notebook, where the words will not be seen or heard by others, the voices quiet down. But once I sit here, fingers poised over keyboard, intention sharpening to cut through the bullshit into what I really wanted to say, the voices come hard. They know how to protect their turf. And they know how to beat me back into submission. They know I will give up sometimes, and so they come at me every time, ready to overpower me again.
Here’s what else: Today I am thinking about Veteran’s Day. I want to sit here and simply honor those who have served our military, who have given their lives, in one way or another, to the idea that the military keeps us safe. I want to easily enter into that safe and comfortable cultural narrative. And the truth is that I do honor those who went to war and were changed by that experience. I wish they had had other options. I wish they didn’t feel the need or call to take up arms against others. I wish they were more supported by their institution and by their country when they returned.