Today's Zelda's Inferno exercise: claiming and defining words. Pick a few words from this list we came up with, and write about how they do or don't define you.
poet, criminal, artist, climber, activist, anarchist, transgender, atheist, zen buddhist pagan, beatnik, bouncer, actor, bohemian, mother, caretaker, sojourner, dreamweaver, songwriter, alien, time traveller, healer, patient, pacifist, shaman, soldier, gravedigger, gambler
Somebody asked me the other day, as I sat in the cafe with my laptop in front of me, a disorganized bunch of phrases slowly resolving into a chapter, if I wanted to be a writer.
Want to be? I am, I replied. I write, therefore I am a writer. Subspecies poet, wrangler of words in rhythm, transgressor of boundaries. Sometimes a songwriter, sometimes an actor writing my own lines for a performance piece. A linguistic anarchist, denying the rule of Webster and Oxford: for when I use a word, it means just what I want it to mean, no more, no less.
"Atheist" doesn't say what I am. I says what I'm not: not a theist. It's as descriptive as saying a thing is not orange - well, it might be grey, it might be blue, it might be pink with purple polka-dots, it might be transparent or submicroscopic and thus colorless (what color is an electron?) or rainbow-hued. So, yes, I don't believe in a big daddy in the sky who created the Universe because he was bored or because he wanted a bunch of worshipers or whatever. That doesn't tell you anything about what I do believe.
In this society, everyone is a criminal. No one gets through the month without breaking some law - a traffic law, a tax law, the zoning code, a copyright regulation, whatever. Given some of the laws still on the books in this state, I pity anyone who's not a sex criminal.
So, yes, I freely admit it - I'm a criminal, a law-breaker, and I take no shame in it. I don't let the legislature make decisions for me - though of course I try not to get caught. The state may have no moral authority, but it does have more guns than I do; I try to avoid it like I avoided bullies in elementary school.