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writing partners

Edward Hopper’s Automat. image via


Responsible parents? Responsible parenting? Writing partners?

What’s is really mean? It’s more than a roof over their head and food on the table.

And when does it end?

We want answers, dammit, and not the easy ones.

Too easy to say, “You’re eighteen, my jobs doe. Get out.”

But you could and no one would blame you.

Not my style. Does that make me a helicopter parent for life? Maybe.

But no one wants that. Call it habit.

Then you hear what your adult kids listened to in middle school. Yeah, they listened to rap. I knew that.

In the car I heard what they played in back plugged into CD players. Of course it was shocking.

Instead of banning those nasty rap songs, their mother and I started making up our own. Just as nasty.

Their songs stopped while they listened to us spitting it.

Not long after they switched to other music.

Good parent, or bad, it left a lasting message.

On me. Turns out I like rap and hip hop just fine, I tell you.

And here’s the proof:

Writing Partners Please Stand Up. Looking At You


Saw a kid in Starbucks looking at me

over her laptop sipping chai tea,

I walked through the door like I’ve done before,

another Q-tip with big white shoes on the floor,

She’s a writer, a real writer, I could tell,

by an expression on her face that said go to hell,

I’m not looking at you, it said, I’m just thinking,

you’re an old man who ought to stop drinking,

Sure I’m old and getting creased

but don’t mistake me for another beast,

All men are created equal so we’re told,

put your nasty judgement face back on hold,

Save it for your daddy, your brother, your boyfriend dude,

don’t flash it in here, that’s just rude,

Because I’m white and married isn’t the problem,

it’s bad attitudes and you’ve got ’em,

I’ve been you but you haven’t been me,

eat at Horn and Hardart in a dirty city,

Watching the dregs choke on old food

without staring because that feels lewd,

You’re a Portland writer, I can tell,

by your pinched little face and a waterproof shell,

No one believes you or reads your blog,

but you stay dedicated, you’re in whole hog,

I’m no gypsy but I’ll read your fortune,

you’ll be great before you’re done,

Working on a piece to pay the rent

instead of plugging into power in your momma’s basement,

You’re a writing partner if you don’t know,

an inspiration like Jon Snow,

You know the character, the main POV,

what motivates him pushes you and me,

It’s the same green force that drives the flower

and makes Dylan Thomas face look so dour,

Find writing partners alive or dead,

leave them in your head when you go to bed,

Hold dreams of Shakespeare, Yeats, or Joyce,

there are libraries full to make the choice,

Read Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich,

tell what it feels like to be a feminist,

Hold your breath, dive into the wreck,

send up bubbles when you start to check,

Watch the clock, the time, this is your chance,

to get off the stool and learn to dance,

With your writing partners dead or alive,

get down on the page so you can thrive,

Your vision, your dream, tell what’s hurt,

squeeze out tears and smear that dirt,

Make it you, yours, when you write alone,

do on your laptop or your smart cell phone,

It’s the message, the story, not the medium,

stop chasing dragons, ’cause you don’t need them,

Find writing partners like Dr. Dre and Eminem

About David Gillaspie
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