(Major Arcana Tarot Card no. 9: The Hermit)
Recently, a friend suggested that my isolation due to the pandemic has diminished my ability to properly express myself. I totally disagree. If anything, now I live in the moment and speak my life, my truth! My mind! With no filtereration and no ragrets!
Perhaps it’s wrong, but I love books more than I love people. I mean, books never say I drink too much, or start in with the sassy backtalk. Look, all I’m trying to say is that books are better than most, and although I’d really like to believe that I’m wrong, Shirley Brice Heath knows exactly what I mean and why. And by the way, if it’s wrong, even if I’m wrong, I don’t want to be write.
If comics taught me anything, it’s that real heroes tend to punch their problems away, because LOL, that always works. #IsItMachoNow?
And then there are those readers—if you want to be so generous as to call them that—who think that every problem can be solved, every life’s mystery revealed with something as insipid as a compelling plot.
Shhh. Okay then, here’s the secret: I often recite a narrative when I dance, but it’s in a language you don’t understand.
Name that contains allusion, euphemism, Bakhtinian chronotope, homophobia, elements of misogyny, and a Paul Thomas Anderson reference: “Bitch, I drink your milkshake.” Stendhalian name that’s bound to not be understood in the slightest: “AKA, son of a chubby Mephistopheles.” Name that’s Skip Bayless anointed and approved: “All he does is Art.” Korean-American name: Eugene Han.
Confession: it’s not the writing that drives you to drink, it’s trying to fucking publish. The dirty secret of the industry is that most publishers are like teenagers. They fall in love with a book and treat it like a soulmate, like someone with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives, but alas, they choose a new life-long soulmate every other week.
What to do when you spill your guts and empty your heart, and nothing comes out?
Exactly what defines a writer’s writer?
We feel little compunction in mentioning that we respect both the necessity of tradition and the undeniable need for innovation. Thus, as is so often implied: lower me down/ pin me in/secure the grounds/for the later parade.
Toe tap, stutter step, head nod, quarter turn, quarter turn, stutter step.
And in preparation for writing this, I sat right down, waiting for the gift of sound and vision.
Energy? What you call energy I call having a strong command of tone and an easy facility with syntax, the product of years of deep reading, learning, studying of the form(s).
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took a shit right there!
Vampires. Bloodsuckers. Those who always respect the process until the moment they realize they play no part in it. To create art is to prioritize art and the act of creation, not one’s relation or proximity to it.
Colors are extremely important because colors can influence the course of a person’s life by subtly altering their mood. So then, what does it mean that my favorite shades are wine and pine?
To reiterate: if experience has taught me anything, it’s that if I had to choose between books—certain books—and people, well then, there’s gonna be a lot of whole lot of dead motherfuckers out in these here streets.
Do I surprise myself? Very well then, I surprise myself. I am genius. I contain difficulty.
Rone Shavers is the author of Silverfish, an experimental Afrofuturist novel just released by CLASH Books. His fiction has appeared in various journals including Another Chicago Magazine, Big Other, Black Warrior Review, PANK, and The Operating System. Shavers’ nonfiction essays and essay-length reviews have appeared in such diverse publications as American Book Review, BOMB, Electronic Book Review, Fiction Writers Review, and The Quarterly Conversation. He is fiction and hybrid genre editor at Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, and he teaches courses in creative writing and contemporary literature at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. For more information, go to his website at roneshavers.com.
Image: “The Board” by George Weinisch