Three Women Writing Around My Head
by Jefferson Navicky
There’s a constellation of women writing around my head. How wonderful. It’s what I always wanted. One is sitting on the floor with her back against the wall. One is sitting at a folding table. And one is sitting in a comfy chair from IKEA. They’re all so intently working. I wonder if they’re writing about me. Shouldn’t the constellation of women writing around my head indeed be writing about me? I don’t think that’s an impossible thing to ask. It’s just the right amount of attention I require, just the right ratio. I wonder if I could ask them to read aloud what they’ve written about me. It doesn’t have to be flattering! Although I wouldn’t mind if it was. Anything would be fine! Tell me anything. What do your powers of observation/intuition tell you about my style and my slouchy posture. Do tell, my trio of scribes, what should I know about myself?
Woman #1 says Art. Do art. Make art. Be art. Is that it, I ask. She says let it change you. Let your life fall apart. Redefine yourself, be brave. Wow, she’s a lot braver than I am. But okay, gulp, I get it. I can work with that. But she goes on, forget about your 401K and the rest of your retirement. Rack up credit card debt. Move to Eastport. Divorce your spouse. Get a motorcycle. Take to the road. Whoa, I say, that’s a bit much. Going a bit too far, don’t you think? I like my retirement and I hate credit card debt, and I definitely don’t want to divorce my wife. Eastport I could handle. You gotta be prepared for it all, she says. You wrote about all that stuff, I ask.
Woman #2 says Work. Do the circuit. Create new neural pathways. Log the miles. Travel from galaxy to galaxy, and don’t stop to pee. Don’t let yourself think, make yourself a little crazy. It’ll be good for you. Really, I ask, that’s what you were writing about? I liked it better when I thought you were writing about my style, I say. Nope, she says, Work. Gotta do it. Don’t be a pussy. I can’t believe you just called me a pussy, I say. Get used to it. Hmmm, I don’t know about this. Should I even keep going?
Woman #3 says Love. I cringe a little and wait for the other shoe to drop. No, silly, she says, Love. Love’s not like that. Love buys you single cupcakes at the store even though they’re ridiculously expensive and waste tons of packaging. Love says, why don’t you come take a nap, forget about art and work, you look tired. Okay, I say, I could get used to this. Love says, I’ve got your number. Love says you might end up doing things you’d never thought you’d do, but you know what? What, I ask, and still think something bad might happen. You know what, you’ll like it, Love says. You do crazy things for love, it’s true, and it’s worth it. Oh, I say, so what you’re saying is—Hey, silly, she interrupts me, why don’t you put down that pen and come over here.
Jefferson Navicky is the author of the poetic novella, The Book of Transparencies; the story collection, The Paper Coast; and the chapbooks, Uses of a Library and Map of the Second Person. His work appears in Smokelong Quarterly, Electric Literature, Hobart, Tarpaulin Sky, and Fairy Tale Review. His honors include two Maine Literary Awards and first prize in the 2019 Maine Postmark Poetry Contest.