Anyone else see this? What do you think? I take it from the context that Ordinary Wonder is responding to contingent of Tumblr-ers who are asking for writers to put out more—not get lazy. But I honestly don’t know the context.
At any rate, what I find a little disagreeable is the sharp-ish distinction between “high art” and “Tumblr art”—the “living first drafts” of amateurs wallowing in limitless space:
Keep writing. Keep posting. Tag your posts how you want to… but remember that being popular/liked doesn’t put you on par with the professionals. It doesn’t give you the right to trash standards/conventions outside of the Tumblr platform. If your aim is to be a professional writer… you probably have a lot of work, and studying left to do. You can confirm/disprove this by submitting out your work.
I am not saying Tumblr writers should be allowed to contend in the “high art” arenas, but rather that the Tumblr writer(ly) eco-system is a challenge to the very notion of the high-art/low-art distinction. Who has authority to critique whose writing? Convention says the “published” have that right/duty, while the unpublished must maintain humble introspective silence. The Tumblr writers, de facto “amatuers,” are of the latter category. See the problem?
I guess if I were a better man
I would cross all the useless miles
from here to wherever it is you are
and it wouldn’t matter
what you were doing or who you were
doing it with
I would find you and I would tear
my dumb heart from my dumb
chest and I would place it at your feet
Father, you would not be surprised that I lose
at cards. I get very drunk, and I lose at cards.
You are not dead and you would not be surprised.
I also make many modern mistakes. I know that I am
in love with the idea of love and not with someone.
I make mountains into molehills and then regret
the loss of mountains. I deny the sexual potency of ambition.
I remember calling you while we were both boiling
eggs at night in our kitchens to tell you about this.
You said, Son, we have both been clouds
in the rooms of undressing women. I found
a photograph in your dresser of an unfamiliar
woman wearing a grey t-shirt standing
beside a newly asphalted road bordering unmown
Midwestern grasses, and I ached for dull,
hometowny spring. You are not dead
or clearly dying, but I am going through your stuff.
I want your leather-bound Superman comics, your Kingston Trio,
your bamboo Buddha. I have been in love
with two women who look like the one in your photograph.
I think I have only seen you three hundred times.
I am twenty-four and you are sixty-five. I need
a box spring and a bed frame if I’m to be at all
comfortable in the coming years. Suddenly, it is embarrassing
not to own a table. Today I replaced the burnt-out light bulb
in the bathroom with the light bulb from the hallway,
which used to be the light bulb from the bedroom,
which used to be the porch light. To what extent,
father, does this sound familiar?
Do something wild with me. Slip off your shoes one at a time. Peel your socks off with your agile toes and feel the relief of air. Walk barefoot somewhere glass hasn’t broken just yet because nobody is thirsty that way. Stare into the sky and see constellations you’ve only ever heard of because artificial light hasn’t choked the archetypes out here. Shed every layer of clothing in the heavy shade of a tree and wake up every inch of your fragile skin in the water—dunk your head below because nobody cares about misplaced strands. Graze my body with your toes underneath the soft current—pick up a stone with your foot and see how far you can throw it. Listen to the water drip off your shoulders, tendrils, body and return to itself again and again. Return to me, this place, this way—again & again.