I have been moving around all my life. Going to different schools, living in different houses, shedding old roles, assuming new ones. This way of life is as natural to me as staying in one place is for other people. I do variations on the theme. I return to places where I used to be. I find my old personas. I try them on. If they still fit, I wear them out to a party or a show. If they begin to restrict my movements, I take them off. I am a human being, capable of mimicking anything I see or remember or can imagine.
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It was spring when it happened and the schoolroom windows were open all day long, and every afternoon after Billy left we had milk from little waxy cartons and Mrs. Jansma would read us chapters from a wonderful book about some children in England that had a bed that took them places at night.
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That's great, " Katie said. "Actually, it's revolutionary. If you can work and be in love at the same time, you're the first woman I ever knew that could. Maybe you're the missing link, Amanda." Maybe you ought to get a job for the 'Ladies Home Journal.' They like simplistic shit like that.
Young women are closer to the time when they were manipulative and childish and they don't let their babies manipulate them as much as older mothers do. These are only my conclusions from watching children in grocery stores. I love to watch them work on their mothers to get what they want, and, because I am always a child, I'm pulling for them to get the candy and to get it NOW. The other day I watched a little blond beauty pull her mother's face to her and lay her hands on her mother's cheeks and kiss her nose. Needless to say they opened the bag of cookies then and there.
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The first thing a writer has to do is find another source of income. Then, after you have begged, borrowed, stolen or saved up the money to give you time to write and you spend all of it staying alive while you write, and you write your heart out, after all that, maybe no one will publish it, and if they publish it, maybe no one will read it. That is the hard truth, that is what it means to be a writer.
We cannot get from anyone else the things we need to fill the endless terrible need, not to be dissolved, not to sink back into sand, heat, broom, air, thinnest air. And so we revolve around each other and our dreams collide. Look out the window in any weather. We are part of all that glamour, drama, change, and should not be ashamed.
How often I have tried to tell writing students that the first thing a writer must do is love the reader and wish the reader well. The writer must trust the reader to be at least as intelligent as he is. Only in such well wishing and trust, only when the writer feels he is writing a letter to a good friend, only then will the magic happen.
I haven't written poetry in a long time but I read it and I miss it. It is so hard to write. So hard to finish, so hard to find the exact word to make it shine. In honor of my youth I will write a poem to finish this essay. It is spring in the Ozark Mountains. The yellow flowers are blooming and the birds wake me at dawn and last night five planets lined up by the moon in the western sky. If that doesn't inspire me to poetry what will?
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One thing I know is that it is a bad idea to marry someone who had bad parents. If they hated their mother, if they were hated by their mother or father, your marriage will pay for it in ways both obvious and subtle. When the chips are down, when someone is sick or loses their job or gets scared, the old patterns will kick in and he will treat you the way he treated his mother or the way she treated him.