Last night, several of us went out to dinner. That sounds so much more sophisticated than it was. We went to IHOP’s free pancake day. To celebrate World Pancake Day, and raise awareness for charity, yesterday IHOP gave away a free stack of pancakes to all who wanted. So, like the starving artists we all are, we cashed in. Food everywhere, and no one was spending a dime. (Then we all felt guilty and started ordering stuff).
Anyway, we doubled Free Pancake Day with the release of my poetry book, and made it a celebratory dinner. (IThe guys were really more excited about the free food). It was a great dinner, and refreshing from the hum drum last few weeks of normal life.
Then the conversation turned to my poetry book. I pulled a copy out and passed it around the table, although most had already seen the final copy. And everyone began to compliment me, my work, and the accomplishment. I was flattered, but I’ll admit I didn’t know what to say. I never know what to say in these sorts of moments.
I smile and listen and say “thank you,” at each appropriate slot. And I certainly appreciate the kind words. But, the conversation inevitably dies with uncomfortable head nods and then what.
I’ve poured a piece of myself onto the page, or screen, in hopes that someone relates. And maybe, just maybe, it gives them solace that they are not alone in their intimate journey of their soul. And so, when they appreciate it, a piece of me jumps. And I wonder how their soul connected to mine. I wonder what it was that spoke to them. I wonder if it caused them to want to carry on, or think differently. I wonder if they have the same frustrations, or confusions that I do.
But you cannot ask these things at a dinner table, or in a crowded hallway. These are the things we ask when the light is low and the hour is late, and we want to let one another inside those places no one ever goes. And so, in the brightness of a crowded restaurant, with the clatter of dishes and the waiters grabbing empty glasses, the conversation dies. Later, in low-lit solitude, I will re-read the pieces they must have read, and wonder how it was that I found a friend.
But maybe that’s the point of writing, or any art for that matter. Art goes to those places that we can’t talk about. And that’s okay. Maybe that’s as far as I can go, a stranger in live human form, a dear friend in LCD. And you know what, I’m okay with with that. So, if you have found a friend in me, staring back at you from this screen, know that I appreciate it. And I will continue to write to you, dear reader, with the same pensive honesty, and sly wit as always.
And if you meet me, or if you know me, know that I so appreciate these moments alone with you, my dear friend in liquid crystal.