(the country is my childhood home in every way that means anything to you and i’ve been training for the apocalypse all my life. i always used to feel better when things fell apart. then i got my things together and the world fell apart.)

last week i stood in front an orange tree on the street in east los angeles and i asked it if it had a message for me. i don’t really know why, it’s not a ~thing i do~. but, i have been tuning into my surroundings and myself lately. the tree was striking enough that it called my attention and when i was looking at it i felt compelled to face it completely, body alert, as a sign of respect? then when i was square to it i felt like asking it a question. i can only compare the impulse to–are you ever walking by yourself somewhere and you have the urge to stretch your arms up and out but you know it’ll be so weird and someone might talk to you so you don’t? it felt like an urge from that same headspace, but one that i allowed this time, because i’m experimenting. then a thought began to form so i opened my notes app and started typing:

your work is partially the work you do and partially the energy you build around it. you can write a great piece that will get no attention if you’ve never put energy into the fact that you’re a writer. let’s say you put out your first piece without prepping people. people will be surprised, first processing that this came from you (oh wow they write? i didn’t know) and second processing the piece itself. let’s say the piece doesn’t get a lot of attention. you could give the exact same piece to an established Writer with a reputation and an “image” and it could be a huge hit for them. same piece. you’ll say this isn’t fair but that writer has done more than you’ve done, actually. they’ve written and they’ve built energy around their identity as a writer. both take work. building a public identity *around* the work that you do is work in itself. and it holds value. and as we’ve seen, so often it seems to hold more value than the work itself. make your artistic identity accessible to your audience and your work will be appreciated even more.

it flowed in one extended instant, i typed without pausing. i looked back up at the orange tree and walked away before i was able to be like, wtf, damn. then i laughed and titled the note A message from the orange tree on El Roble.