by Jeff Oaks

Right now someone is reading a friend’s manuscript for nothing, making suggestions, writing questions, giving up her own writing time. Right now an artist is sketching a bird he’s never noticed before. He sketches it not because it will make him money, but because he wants to remember it and know it as deeply as he can before it disappears again. As he sketches, the bird merges with the artist’s dream of the night before. Right now, a man with a hangover is singing in the shower, when he suddenly realizes a slight alteration in a line of the song would allow him to write about something he always wanted to. He gets out of the shower and writes it down. Some of it is lost in the moment between. Right now, at the edge of a river, a woman is stacking small river stones into vertical towers on large river stones. Maybe no one else will ever see them before they fall. Or maybe they’ll be seen only by someone wandering, thinking about what to do with his or her life. Right now a couple of kids are constructing secret trails through a wild place behind their houses, at the edge of town. They leave signs that only their friends will recognize. Adults will think nothing has happened here. Right now, in a book, in a basement, a child will find a sentence that will let him or her know that the world has an explanation for the reason the child has been locked in: cruelty. Right now a teacher is asking a student nothing about the assignment the student has failed to address but if the student is all right, because there may not be anyone else to ask that question otherwise. The student for a second doesn’t know. How to begin…? Right now, you may be turning to look around, wondering the same thing.