I have always liked to break things and put them back together in a random, yet tasteful, order. You can apply that to art—mosaics, poetry, music—and life. I rearrange the physical and metaphorical furniture of my life not just whenever necessary but whenever possible.
It’s never been more true than now. Every inhalation I take these days is a subconscious meditation on having cancer and turning fifty, and every exhalation is a breathy profession of my goals. They are sosimplistic that they can be summed up with a trite Bob Schneider lyric from “Captain Kirk”: “I just wanna feel good / I don’t wanna hurt nobody / I just wanna get a good time / out of my life.”
To that end:
· I am funny, and I laugh all the time—even at my own crude jokes.
· I keep your secrets. I used to have no secrets of my own but am now working on generating a few. Please return the favor and keep them.
· I indulge my addictions. All addicts say they can live without [objects of addiction]; they simply choose not to. That’s the addiction talking, of course. My addiction chooses to drink a beer (sometimes two) just about every day. Until it interferes with work or life, 6:00 is Resurrection time.
· I am honest. I ask for what I want, and I say what I mean. I won’t waste another minute wondering what if. If I want to know, I ask.
· I am a poet. There’s a beautiful and precise way to talk about anything.
Lest you think this post is all about me, rest assured it’s all about you. Even if you’re not turning 50, even if you don’t have a serious illness:
· be funny; laugh all the time
· keep people’s secrets, and generate some of your own to entrust with others
· indulge an addiction that does no harm
· ask for what you want; tell people how you feel
· find poetry everywhere—a flower, a peach, an old salmon-colored Danelectro guitar with a moldy case, pickles, your friends.
And eat a salad and get some exercise, too, damn it.