Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
 print preview

Writing Through the Body

I grew up in northern Minnesota rollerblading with my brother every day. The best part of being a skater is that you’re out on the streets—you skate at Bell State Bank, you skate at Curt’s Lock & Key, you climb over the barbed-wire fence to grind rails at Dakota Electric. You meet a lot of bums and see a lot of crazy stuff go down. One time I saw a dude shit on the sidewalk and take off his shirt to wipe his ass with it. Another time a hobo bailed from a moving freight train and limped over to ask us for a cigarette, teeth bloody from the tumble. The wildness of the world flips on your senses. That’s why I don’t write at home. I edit at home. Home is good for that. But when I’m writing something fresh I head out on the town. I walk the streets and talk to people. I listen to what they say. I keep an eye out for free piles on the curbs. Then I sit down at a café with a journal and pen and let my body relax. This is the key moment. The body stills but the mind keeps racing forward, churning to help you survive the next peril. But with the external world becalmed, the electricity turns inward, the wheels start to spin, and slowly, you begin to hear the music.  end  

return to top