During a recent conversation, a friend and fellow writer asked what I considered to be my greatest literary strength. I am grateful for her patience, because I definitely didn’t arrive at a speedy conclusion. The question—though a simple one—had me stumped. I reflected on my writing across various genres, media, periods of growth and learning. Was there a collective throughline? What gave my work its pulse – its own unique pitter-pattering palpitations? What made all those words worth writing?
Vulnerable weirdness. That’s where I eventually settled.
Crusty feelings. Inconvenience. Viscera. Oversharing and non-apology.
Experiences breezily glossed over at Christmas dinner. Ugly architecture and asbestos innards. Laughing from the gallows once I’ve already lost my head. Surrendering any pretence of being “hardcore” as I weep over an Adam Sandler film. Biting a teacher at seventeen years of age. Those deeply uncomfortable close-ups in Spongebob Squarepants. A societal obsession with pimple-popping videos, perhaps borne from the jealousy that we are still pent-up ourselves, yet to ooze.
Failure and hope.
And failure, again.