Your Early Morning Freewrite
Give me art for art’s sake. Give me the shallow puddle on a populated road. Give me white bread with unsalted butter. Give me the stuff that keeps my forearm hair at bay. I don’t want the stuff that makes me question everything, that puts the fear of existence in my gut, that makes me wonder if anyone should be doing this at all. I want the small stuff, the minuscule. The bare minimum, the things they teach you in school. There is nothing better than sipping on a lukewarm cup of coffee with too much cream, free of bitterness and disease. I desire no pain and too many referees. I yearn for every call to be made lawfully. No tricks. No backtalk. No fermentation.
Revelation 3:15–16 says, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
I want that spit. I’ll take it and swirl it around if it means I can be the median on a highway for everyone to see. Let me be digestible and go down easy. Let me be just enough sunshine and not be too much heat. The struggle doesn’t move mountains: comfort does. When you’re comfortable, when you’re asleep, when your chakras are all aligned, and you’ve got enough REM sleep, dreams are far better than reality. To be neither hot nor cold leaves one in a place of desired mobility. You are always ready to lean hard to one temperature or the other.
Find me at the salons with my hair made a cup, and my eyebrows curled just right. Nothing is ever wrong with me. I am perfect in every way: in style, in form, in the extract, in how I choose or choose not to perform. My shoelaces are always tied rabbit-eared. When I smile, every tooth is alabaster moonshine. I possess no distress because I straddle the saddle, never taking chances, never emboldening myself with misery, and never creating dangerously.
Where does that get you?
Where does that lead?
Who does that benefit, but the people in this world that need it most?
That wouldn’t be me.
And when I’m finished not finishing, I’ll have ended where I’ve started. I will have accomplished nothing and made no new comrades. People will remember no qualities of mine because I showed them none. History will skim over the minutes I toiled at mediocrity and lack of depth. My neatly pressed, tearless shirts will reflect an indifferent sun. The sand underneath my feet as I walk the beach alone with the waves lapping in laughing will sigh at the thought of one day imbibing my body for their good.
Camus wrote, “Art created outside of society cuts itself from its living roots.”
As I lay my head down, clueless to the fact that it is my death bed, my death pillow, my death sheet lining that I’ve always hated, I’ll regret how hard I worked being on the outside of it all. I’ll sigh at all the time I spent looking in rather than being in. Then, I’ll bring my soft hands to my chest, breathe one last breath, and try not to think about how faint my fingertips feel. That’s how they’ve always felt.
Mitchell Duran is a freelance writer of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and has been published in RiverLit, Penumbra Magazine, The Turks Head Review, MusicinSf.com, and The Bay Bridged. He received the Wilner Award in Short Fiction in 2017 for his story “Into the Night” and The Clark Grossman Prize for his novella progress “The House of 21” in 2018, awarded by Lydia Kiesling, author of the novel “The Golden State”.