I struggle to write essays. It seems a strand of spider silk is the tether to what I learned in school. My grasp of craft techniques could break without anyone noticing. Meanwhile, a cardinal sings from the bamboo thicket. His song is loud and confident. My attempts at writing are weak and clumsy. I am not even a baby bird. I am a newborn worm flailing in the soil. Tiny oaks rise out of the mulch. They will know nothing of the thin soil they rest upon until their roots touch limestone. Not even the Ozark rains will help. I understand why some writers drink. Booze deludes them into focus and ambition. I know this is a devil’s deal, but still, I envy their self-assured ability, even if it is a febrile dream. Sober creativity means dancing with demons each day. It means feeling like my brain is not a compartmentalized system of tidy files. Facing the blank page is a geologic hotspot of tectonic shifts. I try to hold onto knowledge as if it is a rope anchored to words like success and self-worth. To write is an act of entering a dream I have no control over. God, you are the giver of dreams. You are also the giver of pollen, the forest’s hope for virility, and my entire porch and all its contents are coated in this powdery exclamation. I do not need to be grand or a beautiful songbird. Let me be a weed that shows up over and over without fail.