Unreality Check
In the last "Writing Meditation" post, I put up a nice quote about believing in the impossible. And I believe that quote--anyone who knew me in my poverty days in California can tell you. I bought books at the used paperback shop and the Woolworth's bin downtown, between bus rides to hellish jobs. (I found Jim Harrison there and blew my entire meal budget on a pile of his books they were unloading for $1.50 each; oddly enough, I also found A.R. Ammons there--I discovered one of my favorite poets right over near the goldfish and parakeets, under the escalator for $3.00 a copy.) I bought all my records at Arcade--$1.98, used. But I always had music and books. How I abused my patient girlfriends there--they stood aside as I dug through every bin in the store, deeply unmoved when I found SRC's "Milestones" and whooped with joy, only to have the clerk offer me any two other records in the store if I'd just let him have the SRC.

All of it was fuel for the rocket inside me. I used to eat old chili mixed with corn from cans at the missionary storehouse--me an' the relief workers catching a meal from the cast-offs of suburbanites--before we went back down into Mexico for more hours of blood and mud. Impossible, everything that has happened since.

Still, I look at the impossibility thing slightly askance. Am I lying to you? Is this some happy scam, like "The Secret"? Magical thinking? I'm not an idiot (not completely)--I'll never be in Latino People magazine's "50 most gorgeous Gente del Mundo issue"! No matter how much I "manifest" it. My pal, Nicholas Gonzalez was there once, but it won't be me. I was actually in a Playboy photo shoot last year. My dad would have done hand-stands if he'd been alive. A fashion shoot! Do you know what the fashionista woman said when she saw me? My dresser? She took one look at me and yelled, "Fuck!" Uh-huh. Put a rhino in a fancy business suit.

I hear all the anti-God industry at work now. The Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens et al "God sucks/is dead/doesn't exist/is ridiculous" industry. We are ever less likely, I think, to believe the impossible. Especially in this era of holy wars and hypocrisy. (Who was it who said, "I believe precisly because it is impossible"?)

But, you know, those baby maple trees are sprouting up all over. Those nasturtium seeds are putting up round and eager leaves all over my garden. That seems impossible to me. Ridiculous! But it's right there in front of me, so I believe.

During the long torture, I mean delight, of writing Hummingbird's Daughter, I saw ghosts. I saw spirits. I was physically touched by something firghtening in the dark. I felt its claws scraping across my feet until I woke up and bolted from my bed and sprinted away. Do you think me mad? I am not. It was all before me, and I believed.

So, you know, I believe, and I urge you to believe in the Writing of the Universe. However, the new issue of Harper's magazine came this week. They have listed osme sobering satistics in ther "Index" section. Believe the impossible? Check it out: the minimum number of books that sold in the US last year was 1,446,000 (according to the Nielson Book Scan); the number that sold fewer than 99 copies was 1, 123,000; the number that sold over 100,000 copies was 483.

483 out of 1,446,000 sold in substantial numbers!
Most of my books are in the fewer than 99 copies column!
I have still not cracked that exclusive club of the 483!
So do it for love or for joy.
There aren't a lot of Cadillacs in this game.

Because it is impossible....L

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