Welcome to my world
"Welcome to my nightmare,
I think you're gonna like it.
I think you're gonna feel,
you belong, here."
-Alice Cooper, "Welcome to My Nightmare"
I am a big Alice Cooper fan from way back when I saw him on The Muppet Show crooning eerily alongside ghosts. This was my true love, but I didn't have the words to say that. I didn't know what to say to the screen, to this beautiful scary man who looked deep into my eyes and said, "Welcome."
For a high school assignment (English lit? Social Psychology? Journalism? I forget.) we had to write a list of we. That is, those groups and cults and entities that claim our solo souls as being part of "we" or "us." Making lists has always been fun for me, and this one was easy and thoughtful. I wound up with the longest list. I wasn't trying to win, and I did not realize the teacher's true intention, (I still don't) but I remember the feeling of writing that list.
We the people
We Catholic Apostolic Church
We the sinners
The list went on and on, for pages. I had never realized how much I belonged. That feeling fought fleetingly during those days against the common angst of teendom, and it became clear that I was not destined to be one of the many. There were not many like me. There were not many who liked me. Or maybe there were too many. It was hard to sort it all out back then: who was really my friend, who did I truly care about, did Jesus die for me and was he a vegetarian? Listening to teens now as I lean back into muffled Walkman days, it is clear that the questions of "we-ness" are not only for the lonely, the teens, the philosophers, the teachers seeking busy-work. We, all of us, each of us.
We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder We belong to the sound of the words we've both fallen under Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better We belong, we belong, we belong together
-Pat Benetar, "We Belong"
This belonging is an aching desire within every living creature. At least I think so. I don't need to belong to everyone, or to anyone. But in combining my thoughts, space, breath, plans, actions, dreams, with another person and people, I become part of something more powerful and gentle and wholly soulful than I could have ever imagined as a kid.
When I write, whether it's poetry, a short story, an escapist novel, or any words any which way, I am offering myself to the world. It does not mean I think my words are good or bad; I do not need to be judged. I need to be connected. And I think you do, too.
So remember, when you read my words, chat with me in line at the grocery store, sing along when my windows are rolled up but you can still hear me driving by; you are with me. We are connected. When I sign your book, it is a personal gift from me to you. When you read my words, that is your personal gift to me.
Welcome to my world. Let's make it OUR world.