Bull Horn

A few days ago, I walked past one of the many giant glass buildings with marble floors and revolving doors. Security guards looked out in amusement at the small group of protesters that had amassed – a taunting “You won’t ever get in here” hand on their hips.
It’s a mining company, the corporate office, and if you look inside again, over the front desk, you’ll see a panoramic photo of a giant scar they’ve made in the side of a mountain. The stripes of marbled minerals sweep across the wall like geological porn. It’s not beautiful. The size unwarranted for the subject. Perhaps if it were two horses running in a field or a base jumper flying off red rocks or a goat climbing the Himalayas, I could understand the scale. But to them that must be beautiful, to them that ugly scar means money.
It made me wonder why people do things when they don’t garner much attention – from those in the direct vicinity to the “THEMS” of a greater scale?
There was one protester with a bull horn yelling at the lowest people on the corporate totem pole – the security guards, who I’m sure work there because they have families and it’s 9-5 and job security. What would they know about policies and fracking and blowing holes in the sides of mountains? Where does Bull Horn think he’s going to get? Who was really listening?
And then there were a dozen others carrying signs and walking around in circles and what appeared to be an overzealous journalism student with a camera who probably ran over from ASU’s Downtown J-School 5 minutes earlier hoping to fulfill a breaking news assignment. This was low budget stuff, scraping the bowl, amateur protesting. But they were out there anyway because they believed in it. They felt their voices might actually do something – alone, one by one, together.

It made me think about my writing. About why we all write. It’s such a lonely journey we take and a terrifying one at that. We put hours of work into words people might never read, that people might think is low budget, scraping the bowl, amateur at best. When we fail, and God, do we fail, we might be out of commission for a few days, weeks, maybe a month, but like anyone who breaks a leg, it’s going to take some time to walk again, but we do walk, we even run.

I can say right now, that most of the stuff I’m writing is probably crap and has been crap for a while. That I know nothing about form or history or structure. That I’m building a house on a faulty foundation. Yeah. OK. I hear it. I understand. But the thing that I love about writers is they see their shortcomings because they see everyone else’s shortcomings, they see their weaknesses because they see the world’s weaknesses. We are born observers. And we are the world’s bull horn. We protest in a much quieter way sometimes, possibly through an obscure line of poetry or mashed into a character’s personality, but we as writers are willing to change because we expect others to, we expect our characters to, we expect the world to. Art can only be as honest as its artist. So when we see something wrong in ourselves, a falseness, a weakness, a lie, I hope, at least I try, to change. I’m trying to be better.
There are times no one will listen. There are times we scream at security guards who can’t possibly give a shit. Change is a heavy gate we have to push open every morning to reach the world. But we keep pushing and pulling because we believe that somewhere beyond it something beautiful is waiting. Even if it’s looking up from a book to watch the sun explode behind the horizon. Even if it’s to weep. Even if it’s to listen to a coworker singing The Doors from his cubicle. We are addicted believers because we have to go on. The days keep coming and whether we are in a rut or not, we have to keep our eyes and armor open because some days impossible things happen – good and bad – and we have to preserve them.
There are days I wish I was a house cat or a gecko or an inch worm. There are things happening in the world my “advanced” human brain cannot understand and if I were a house cat or gecko or inch worm, I wouldn’t be required to do the heavy lifting. But I was born the creature I was born and to ignore such things would be a disservice to whatever GOD, FROG, ASTROID, EXPLODING STAR that created me. We have such great minds – complicated, dark, twisted, unknown, yes, but sometimes beautiful and thoughtful; sometimes heroic. I guess that’s my bull horn. The reason I stand outside an impenetrable building every day banging on the door, hoping my voice will be heard. I believe I’m just trying to understand.

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