East End Park
I’m sorry I got suspended from school for smoking cigarettes outside the art room windows and calling the art teacher a cunt. I don’t even know why I said that. I mean, I like her. Which is more than I can say for all of the other asshat teachers at this school. But when I snuck back in through the art room windows and the principal was there and he was all, “Miss Parker, would you like to tell me where you’ve been?” And I said, “Ms. Quartz said I could,” and then he looked at Ms. Quartz and Ms. Quartz looked at me with this fake little disappointed smile and was like, “Now Katelyn, you know I would never give you permission to smoke outside the art room windows,” and I was like, “Actually that’s exactly what you just did,” and the principal just ignored me and Ms. Quartz didn't even admit it until he was out of earshot and then she said in this low, hissy voice like the one you use on me when you’re mad, “Are you trying to get me fired?” Then, obviously I’m going to say something like, “You’re a cunt,” because obviously that’s a cunty thing to do, even if I do like her. I mean, if you’re going to let me do something like that, you need to be more specific about the rules. Especially with someone like me. You said it yourself – I was born to break rules.
Which brings me to my second point, which is that I’m really sorry I skipped my in-school suspension to walk around downtown and smoke cigarettes. I’m just so into exploring cigarettes right now – I think they’re part of my process, you know? Like, the initial fire and then the slow burn and then the broken, dirty stub – I think for sure there’s a metaphor in there, I just don’t what it is yet. I hope you know by now that I don’t break rules just for the sake of it. I was born to break rules because I was born to be an artist – like you! Except I’m going to be famous (no offense). I think your problem (no offense, again) is that you followed too many rules in your life. I mean, you were like valedictorian of your high school! And then you got married. And had a kid! Whoa! I’m grateful to be alive and all, but I am like a total drain to your artistic process.
See, I’d like you tell me where you think this high school thing can really take me. While I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a bench on this basketball court at some park on the east side of downtown, and there’s these guys playing a pick-up game. They’re definitely not any older than me, so they’re probably skipping, too, and thank god they are, because you should see them playing! The way they move across the court, the way they handle the ball, they way they sort of dance around each other – I mean, it’s beautiful. No one can teach a person to move like that. And when you find that you can move like that, the only thing to do is keep moving until you move better, until you are absolutely just shimmering with fucking beauty. You have to take every moment of beauty to the edge until you’ve exhausted it.
I’m sorry that I make you worry. And I’m sorry that when these guys finish their game, I’m going to smoke a joint with them. But I’m only sorry because I know you would think it was “a bad choice,” and not because I think it actually is one. There is no such thing as a bad thing to do. And the reason I’m being so honest with you in this letter is because I think someday you’ll thank me for helping you see things from a different point of view. I’m just trying to get your inner artist to unfold its wings and emerge! For the record, I was trying to do that with Ms. Quartz, too, but she obviously missed the point.