What to believe in

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2012

Through the years of interaction with people in my life, I've had some rather incredible, awkward, weird, interesting, humbling and fascinating conversations. Over the weekend, however, I was confronted with one so unexpected, I was momentarily rendered speechless. 

While I tipped back a delicious Blonde Ale and shared words between fellow writers and others who had attended the reading where I had just read, one of the familiar faces from the event approached me. He began simple enough. 

How do you go about getting published? It's a god damned mine field on crutches. You have a lot more bad luck than good, but you keep going anyway. Life is short. Words go on.

How do you write? I write the way anyone should write. Honestly. No bullshit. Most importantly not to yourself. It's OK to embellish a bit for the reader. Write what you know.

The questioning and conversation went on like this for some time while I began another bottle of the Blonde. The brewing beer had been carried out to chill. I grabbed a cube of cheese and listened to the chatter. The inquisitive one came to my side and put his arm around my shoulder. 

Whether it was the free-flowing, home-brewed beer that was, at that particular point in time, adequately coursing through myself and the bodies surrounding me in a garage warmed by brewing beer or not, I'll never be sure.

What I want from you is this. He trailed off. I stood apprehensive of what he would ask. My Blonde was almost finished. I needed more.

What I want from you is...I want you to tell me what to believe in.

Words didn't come to mind. How does one answer a request like this? Though this fellow was certainly under the cloudy powers of free-flowing alcohol and I could have answered by telling him to believe in a Rock Lobster, it wasn't that easy. I pondered it. 

What the hell do I know about beliefs? My own are simple. Books and truth. Knowledge. The earth is round. Good scotch. Writing. Art. Women's legs. And yet, here was a man, intoxicated or not, asking me to tell him what to believe in. 

"Yourself," I said. What else could I say? It seemed honest enough.

He stepped back and considered my answer. At least he seemed to. I thought about it myself. Probably more than he did. Thanks, man, coupled with a hand on the shoulder.

That was it. After that, he stepped out the door and into the frigid night air. 

I don't know whether I'll ever meet up with him again. Or, if he'll even remember the conversation we had and what I had told him. If it actually meant anything or if it was merely the booze speaking. The only thing I know for sure is that it's a memory which will stay with me for some time. If not, always. It's the abnormal experiences that find a niche within the confines of my memory.

I've got no problem with that.


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