Why Duke Miller Writes

Why would I write about why I write?   The dog inside my heart is chasing its tail and if people don’t care about what I write, why would they care about why I write?  I’m sitting against the wall, spitting on the sidewalk.  I’m walking out the back entrance of the restaurant, leaving the girl at a table for two.  The truck is slowly winding its way down the Mt. Igman road as I listen to “This is the End”.  Nobody cares about stuff like that.  I have a limited audience: me and an oblivious Saturday night, me and the sick girl with a diamond necklace, me and the Brit driver.  Speaking of Mt. Igman, the French troops wondered out loud if it was a good time to go.  Reasonable question, but it was never a good time to go.  Even the pine trees knew that and they weren’t the brightest trees I had ever seen.  Why do I write?  Let’s kill a few obvious ideas: I think many people write because they want to be relevant.  You can find any wall or bathroom stall, and see where people have left little pieces of themselves in paint and ink.  They want you to know that they are around and ready to give you a blow job or that they love somebody or for you to back off.   Do I want to be relevant?   No.  I understand that even the most powerful and wise among us is soon forgotten.  Time overwhelms everyone, so the idea of relevance is only an illusion: something for the fatheads.  Do I write as a form of therapy?   No.  Although, some of what I write is cathartic, I still don’t sleep well, drink too much, take drugs, and I have a very hard time telling people I love them.  Do I write to become rich and famous?  That’s a joke and I won’t even bother to go into it.  Do I write because I want to be a soldier in the rain?  Close, but no duck.  You don’t have the slightest idea what I mean and you never will, even if we met in Bangkok and hit Soi Cowboy and then caught the night bus up to Nan.  Oh, maybe you might understand, but later you would not particularly care.   No, I think the reason why I write is because I enjoy connecting my feelings to the written word: it’s like a triple bypass and the closest thing I know to a second chance at life.  Writing is the opportunity to say and do all the things I never quite realized.  If I told a girl who was terribly scarred that she was ugly, well I can slightly change what happened and I can tell her that she is a real bitch and nothing more.  I can stop the kittens from hitting the water.  I can make sure the radio message gets through.  Let black ride on the wheel.  The bomb does not go off.  The pallet does not cut off the leg.  I can put all the assholes down and fuck all the women I should have and earn all the money that I let slip away and trick all the political bastards and save all the children and help all the old ones crawling on their hands and knees.  I can feed all the people and end all the epidemics and tell a few people I really did love them.  I can drag the guy out of the ditch instead of leaving him there and pick up the woman and carry her to the end of the alley.  None of it is real.  Nothing three-dimensional.  No, it is only connecting an honest feeling to a word or two.  It is an internal vision fired by a series of brain nerves reaching into my matter, touching who I am.  I call it the reason why I write.  You see, you don’t give a fuck.  I told you so.  Welcome to Tin Hats.


13 thoughts on “Why Duke Miller Writes

  1. I always enjoy reading your posts, Duke. You have a way with words I wish I had–and the ability to write Chic-Lit, which is really one of my favorite genres. Sometimes I think there’s “fun” in writing, being immersed in something, or as you say, connecting words to feelings. Thanks for sharing.


    1. SDWood–Like I always say, if you are not laughing, weeping, or cringing over something that you have written, then you need to delete it. Kill every cliché (I mean every fucking one, even if what you substitue doesn’t make sense) and like the great ones say, if your family likes it, then it’s probably shit, which, of course, leads us back to my writing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish there was something called “the truth” that we could tap into. In order to get that we would need to use all the computers in the cloud to focus on one question at a time: how many donuts did the fat woman really leave me? I don’t know if the cloud could answer that one and she is dead and her brother wasn’t there. So as to how many donuts she left me, well that is just going to have to be my feeling about the whole affair. On and on it would go: the women, the dead, the wars, the diseases, the towns, the jungles, the mountains, the deserts, the idiots, the whores, the drugs, the kids, the bad water, the roads, the check-points, the generals, the presidents, the ministers, the fights, the beatings…on and on it would go. Fucking hell.


  2. Duke ,
    When we moved from Formosa to Texas in junior high and I met you , me wearing a jean jacket , jeans and white loafers , and you dressed in solid white , I knew that I had met a unique kindred free spirit who didn’t give a shit about the norms of life , peer pressure or bullshit values .
    Some things never change Duke…so Tin Hats off to you mofo !!!
    Rock on ,
    Mike ” White Shoes ” Stevenson

    Liked by 2 people

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