This fact occasionally occurs to me: no one needs to write. My fingers won’t atrophy away if I don’t. I won’t wink out like the flame of a match. Or rather, I will with or without writing.
It’s enough in Santiago just to smile. It’s in the lay of my shirt collar, the lilt of my parted hair. They know I don’t belong. I’m six thousand miles away from home. I’m a whole other groping person here. No one cares what grad degree you have—it’s just that thing you did that one time, that line on your resume that keeps drifting further down the page. When people ask my plans for the future I try to tell them, try to believe, that life is just like a good story. You don’t have to plan. You don’t have to outline. You just nudge your best words into the best sentence you can, and move on to the next.
If in the end you look back down that long line of sentences and every one works, then you have a good story.
Bruce Johnson is an MFA candidate at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is currently living in Santiago, Chile, in conjunction with the program’s international component. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bartleby Snopes, Floodwall, and Cutthroat.