I keep thinking about damage, the damage that we do each other, the commenter who insists on using the writer’s real name when the writer still needs the anonymity of her pseudonym, the friend who expresses displeasure that the writer didn’t take up her suggested subject as if the writer’s own ideas weren’t sufficient, the relative who, upon discovering that the writer writes, insists on being given every piece of work, handwritten, and signed for increased value, the other relative who insists that she too could write, that everyone loves her letters. They are good letters, but why the competition? Why did the relative insist that the writer sign the ugly bird house she’d built and given as a gift? Why did the best friend step down from ‘best’ by yelling at the writer about the way she raises her son based on a story the writer wrote, a story filled with that twist that storytelling always gives what begins by looking like fact? Why did the professor begin to pick, pick, pick at the way the writer lives, again based simply on the fiction of her words?

I’m sure the doctor gets to diagnose pains at dinner parties.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the accountant complaining that her friends want their taxes done for free.

The artist is asked, “What does it mean?” and “Would you do the sets for the grade school play for free?”

The musician is told by her mother, “How are you going to earn any money as a musician?”

Does the teacher get told how to teach?

The engineer told what to design?

The architect told how the silhouette should appear against the mountainsides?

Why do people work so hard to tear down what isn’t even finished being built?

Thank you for listening, jules


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