I’m tired of wavering between the advice of “write to a niche” and “be yourself” but only the self that holds true to the niche.
I am nicheless. No tiny, shadowed arches in which to tuck statuary or candles, to hide baseball cards or the tiny worry doll a missionary at the Sunday night slide show gave her.
I am not a tree grown to and through a barbed wire fence. Or the dogwood split by a frost in late spring twenty years ago. I am not the walnut sprung wild from the grandmother’s nearly abandoned farm.
I am not the beautiful language of binary code or the complexities of hashmarks and brackets that us Java. I am not widgets or SEO or the 140 characters of a genius thing.
I am not the vellum-touch of fine paper or the luscious velvet of a Kindle cover. I am not Courier or Garamond, although the closeness of gourmet there makes me long.
I am not the products, the checklists, the pages. I am not promises of sales or the disappointment of rejections.
I am me, stories and scars cut from barbed wire saves of beagle puppies when I was 8. I am torn fingernails and the lashing tongues of teenage girls who salve by whipping. I am the daughter a woman whose two different-colored eyes startled even those who had known her for years. I am family built on friend chicken and biscuits with chocolate syrup and family carved from Italian emigration that takes marinari to marines. I am mountains but not the hollers that speak of privacy and the perfect backwardness of dirt roads and slanting front porches.
I am the men who have walked away and two who pull me close enough to save my life, over every day.
But I am not made of niches, all my words to be on words. I am statuary and light, sugar maple limb and swamp grass, parchment and touch screen. All of it, precious and incomplete.