May 19th, 2023
If you would have told me when I was a kid that I would eventually build my life on hurt, I would have told you that you say really weird things to kids.
But you would have been right.
I was having a recorded conversation with a friend earlier this week (for a cool thing happening this summer that you’ll be the first to know about, once it’s announced), and she was talking about my work, the fiction kind and the kind I do here, when I write to you directly about real things, and she described what I’ve built as a “platform of pain.”
Two immediate thoughts:
- I cannot tell you how much I love this phrase and that it was applied to describe me and my work; I will accept no lesser descriptors for my art going forward.
- She is right.
What I do here is about hurt: hurt (real and imagined) inflicted upon me, hurt caused by me, hurt done to you, hurt done by you, hurt given to people who deserve it and don’t deserve it and what we do once we have it.
Because we all get it.
Hurt is the cost of living and the fuel to live.
Honestly, some days, doing this, writing about pain, exhausts me to the point of sighing concern. I wake up and go, “Nope. Can’t do it. Not today.”
There are days I decide I will never write again.
And then it feels like I’m not really living.
I ended up where I ended up because I didn’t accept pain on its own terms. I tried to ignore it and smother it and submerge it, with devastating results.
I got better because, in the process of understanding myself, I got to know pain.
I have been writing about this since I could pick up a crayon, but not consciously until I was way older.
I’m in the final stages of Brushfire: Wave 2 (coloring, then lettering), and one of its themes is pain. “But, Dennis!” you gasp. “It’s a story for all ages!”
I’m just here to remind you that pain afflicts the young, viscously, and even more deeply.
I wrote an essay about how writers are just writing one story, over and over again, and that my story is hope.
Without pain, there isn’t anything to hope for.
I guess I just wanted to thank you for subscribing to my platform of pain. For still being here. I know it’s easier to post happy, vapid things; but I read something really good recently that “content” is defined by something that gets a lot of attention but has no value.
We’re all probably going to forget most of each other’s vacation and food photos. (Sorry.)
Hopefully, you won’t forget connecting with me over the pain we have; how we grieve, collapse, change, and get back up.
It’s what I’ve built, and it only goes deeper and higher.