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Mary di Michele. "What I'd be if I were not a writer," Brick, Fall 1994. p. 19

If I weren't a writer, part of me would become a painter. Of billboards. (Because my talent in the fine arts is such that I would need a stencil to draw.) That way I could keep my obsession for the alphabet alive and the colours I see would be the colours I imagine. Sniffing pigments. Or dripping myself in the green ink from Neruda's pen I could roll around on the canvas, an action artist. Hey it's been done. It feels very deeply imprinted, this compulsion to live high, rather than to live well.

If I weren't a writer part of me would become a psychiatrist so that listening would still be the biggest part of my job. In that alternate vocation I would heal most deeply through my silence. Relying on the spoken to understand feelings and not on reconstructions of reality from my notes. No more notes.

If I weren't a writer, part of me would become an astronomer. I would specialize, not in solar systems, but in the spaces between them. And when overcome by an old ache to touch paper, my fingers, as if reading Braille, might travel over the map of our universe, sensing something lonesome in those distances between stars, farther than our species' lifetime away. I would live purely, platonically (again!), in the world of the mathematical, of the metasensual, and for me the moon would fly as satellite not metaphor.

If I weren't a writer all of me would still want to be a jazz singer, a siren with a Gershwin lyric, a sybil of song, a diva from when deconstruction was scat, my alto voice, from before semiotics, a Sarah Vaughan's, vibrato, holding the longing, lovingly, the low and the high notes, the mystery and the music in my mouth, "how l-l-l-long has this been g-g-g-going on-n-n-nnnnnn?"



Mary di Michele's works copyright © to the author.


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