Surprise me, lift me off to somewhere new send me on a roundabout way but make it a common journey one that I know I would have taken if not for this if not for that. Too far out of my perimeter, and I might not go with you but don’t make it too familiar.
Use your own words, the idiosyncratic ones, the ones that tumble in your head and when you speak them in the wrong crowd, they look at you slant. Don’t tell me too much. Every once in a while smuggle in an organizing notion, a re-visioning idea, sneak it past the guardians of my equanimity the first line of defense, then ease past the conversationalists the ones who speak way loftier than I do. They snatch away the lowly, the uninspired, their standard is high: language and gesture only those great tortured Southern drunks in heaven aspire to and the circle of intellectuals from Detroit who sit in my mind and discourse, alert to the cliché, the untoward the inelegant, the symbolically over-fleshed. They guard my perimeter like coyotes on the hunt.
My teachers, the owl-eyed Reines in his work shirt and heavy boots and the others sit in faculty Senate. Dr. Lehman who speaks slowly but draws on four, five civilizations he quotes from memory, Dr. Fish roaming through the texts of a dozen ancient and modern libraries of three continents they are inside me and a tough gang to penetrate.
Be thoughtful and push your ideas the best you can through them won’t you — they are merciless on language. Be a thinker, a word maven, sweet singer of the unconventional soul, and please, remember Mihaly chewing on his pipe will be standing in the final circle of review, he will be saying this, something I might have put in his mouth or he actually said it:
I need meaning.
It completes me.