Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yearly Disclaimer

People ask me, “Why have you written a weekly essay for over ten years—before blogs, before Twitter, before ink?”

Okay, the truth is that nobody asks me why I write stuff, but they might ask me if I could run faster and catch them before they run away when I try to have a serious conversation about art, life, literature, and my compulsion to scratch things on walls with crayons.

If anyone did ask me why I’ve written a weekly essay on everything from bubble gum removal from adult buttocks to the proper care and feeding of hamsters living in your oven insulation, I would say that there are three reasons:

1) Because I got tired of talking to myself.

2) The invention of crayons

3) And, the sheer, complete, total, unadulterated power of it (writing of course, not bubble gum removal from adult buttocks which is powerful in its own way)

For example, when the cashier at Walmart makes fun of me for trying to get cash without buying anything, even though I had just charged three hundred dollars worth of potato chips and soda with a credit card, and I forgot about getting real money until it was too late, and she says, “What you think that you’ve got there—a magic money card? You got to buy something,” and then she turns to the shopper behind me and says, “I wish I had a magic money card,” I can reach for artistic vindication on the scales of literary justice.

I can say to myself, “I’m going to write about you, cashier girl, and describe you, and record your meanness, and your sarcasm, in a funny way of course, and by changing all the obvious details like the big wart on the end of your nose!”

That’s why writing is better than kickboxing for stress relief, and that’s why for ten years I’ve written it all down—the silliness, the sadness, the silly sadness that leads to wild chuckling over the eighty plus or minus years that constitutes life as we know it, unless it’s all a dream, of course, or the Matrix.

So, this is my disclaimer: Be nice to me, or I’ll write about you in a completely unrecognizable way, but I’ll know, and in my heart I will chortle my silent triumph.

Here’s to a wonderful fresh New Year and the understanding that my work is fiction and any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental—maybe.

Linda (I’m Taking Notes!) Zern

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