The truth of the matter is fleeting. The truth is I don’t know. And this why I normally avoid writing that purports to know, like essays and stories.
I just finished an essay I have been working on for about a year. (In writing time, that is not so long.)
Now it is done and undone.
With creative non-fiction it feels as though as soon as it is done it is false. That slice of moment of the self that was writing it is gone.
This is true for poetry, but somehow poetry seems okay with being an artifact of the moment, like peeling off a layer of skin, maybe from your thumb where you can spare some thickness of skin, and placing it in a collage of other items, framing it for viewing (no glass as the reader needs to be able to touch and smell the objects) and that is all it intends to be … a slice of a moment to remind us to see those slices.
An essay, however, asserts itself, with all those complete sentences and direct tellings and the bravado of saying, “I know something, so listen.”
A poem says, “I don’t know, so try to figure it out with me.”
See, that is already false. I can already think of one argument of how that is not true: 1. Writing this essay was necessary to work out my own obstacle, as if I needed to be given permission to be freer and more joyful. Another is: 2.the wonderfully lyrical essays of Jacqui Morton, who is able to transcend form and invite us in to share her figuring out living (she does a damn good job of it).
So, I wrote this essay, which may or may not hold true, but it holds something that is important to me, so tonight, I am going to send it out into the world because maybe it holds something that someone needs to hear.