The First and Final Warning

Be careful, friend.

You are too loud in quiet spaces, too eager to reveal your ignorance. You think weaving words is something any fool can do because your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister woke up yesterday and is now – Ta-da! – a wordsmith.

Listen. I am very glad for your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister. The discovery of one’s voice is something to be celebrated, always. But let me alert you to your mistake, for your own good, so you never repeat it.

You must show respect. Don’t argue. Don’t play with things you do not comprehend. Don’t tell me everyone is a writer deep down underneath, for while we are all engineers also, you will never catch me telling someone how to build a bridge.

Listen, friend, before you slip and fall and break useful things.

You think half-assing your way through the sacred space of stories is nothing, because no one taught you how to respect words, or whispers, or secret spirit places. Never mind. I am here now. I will teach you.

While you played marbles I created worlds in the back of my school exercise book. While you tried on one “calling” after another, discarding them like torn hand-me-downs, I was deep in the belly of the universe, swimming in tales the likes of which your mind could not possibly conjure.

Words have made me a fire than never goes out. I am a warrior, born to this, bred for it. I am a storm. Don’t step into my arena and try to wound me with pebbles. You will fail. You will falter, and I will not help you up.

Be courteous, friend. If you are not…

I will write you into a corner.

I will write you into a deep, dark hole and bury you in splendour. I will break you apart in a thousand wonderful ways until you bleed words, until I have made you a mage, until all that is glorious in you unravels into glistening threads sticky with story sap, and you are utterly undone.  And you will thank me, because you will not understand. You will be so grateful to be suffocated by the sheer wonder of words that you will not even know when it’s all over.

Be wary of those who do what you cannot, for we are all magicians and our spells are not the same. There are wonders all around us, wonders and weapons, and people who know how to wield them.

I am very, very watchful, friend, among those I do not understand. Mouth shut, eyes open, pen at the ready.

Be watchful, too.

Be careful.


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