It’s hard to write when you’re people.
Prose, anyway. Poetry is easier. Poetry isn’t written by people, not in the way that matters. Poetry is written by ghosts. Poetry comes from hollow voices without faces, speaking secrets of the wind. When I read a poem, I don’t see people. I hear narration over forgotten forest paths and quiet autumn evenings.
Prose is different, or it’s supposed to be. Prose comes from people, who need to eat and breathe and poop and pay the electric bill. People are visible.
When I wrote before, I didn’t really think I was people. I thought I was a ghost, even when I was writing prose. And I said the things that ghosts say, secure in the knowledge that those who looked toward me would only look through me.
Until, in times when I was people, doing people things, others would repeat things back to me as if I’d been the one to say them. Things a ghost had said. Secrets of the wind. And I realized I was not a ghost after all, just a child peeking through holes in a bedsheet.
Ghosts don’t have to worry about people things. Ghosts don’t hurt feelings any more than wind leaves bruises. Ghosts don’t have to worry about consequences. Ghosts are consequences. Ghosts can’t lose friends or jobs or respect, because they don’t have any in the first place.
People, though…people can lose all sorts of things.
They didn’t disappear with rage and thunderclaps, no violence in their departures. They just faded away like mist, like dreams, like dew, like the strength of old similes. It was funny: I’d thought myself a ghost, but it was everyone else who was disappearing.
It’s not all bad. When everyone looks past you, it’s almost as if they’re looking through you. If they refuse to acknowledge you, your words like narration over forgotten forest paths and quiet autumn evenings. When there is no one left to bruise any more, you become something different from what you were before, like a hollow voice with no face, like the wind.
And there are so many secrets to tell.