Archive for category Essays
I declare up
front that this is an essay. Essays appealed to me
during one part of my life when other things were important to me. It’s been weeks
since I wrote a poem and months
since I wrote a good one, and my last
effort at a series secretly unveiled my current world where nothing is important to me.
I thought I couldn’t write
poetry because my depression was in
remission. When the depression becomes most disturbing, the evil
fingers of all of the nerves crawling through me seem
to force me to write. And then after I’ve written, I feel
Is this god’s design for this worthless mortal?
It’s an odd cycle:
hate the writing,
enter remission causing inordinate amounts confidence in my Superman powers in creation of recovery,
inadvertently encounter some minor and inconsequential
but despicable piece of human behavior,
suffer and here
we are back
to the beginning.
One time remission lasted three weeks, and my joy
was overflowing as I thought, “This is why
people might want to live.” I thought, “I knew
this shit would leave me someday! Everybody
gets better some day! All of my recovery
work is paying off! I’m human!”
And right when I start questioning what kind of god it was
that has pushed me into unfathomable joy,
(I have a question for you: do you know what I describe when I say Crash? Let’s pause on Crash.)
Then I feel like a victim, the idiot in a con
game, where the trickster is able
to repeatedly make me feel as though I am progressing, when
really, the spiral only goes right back
to the sick depths of insanity. It
never goes up for
long, and right when it stretches
my credulity, it strikes out
for the bottom,
for the basement,
a shadowy world
than the last one.
So I’ve just had another crash, and I’ve been coaching myself to ignore it. Just think
of the others, any others, even the mean others, and try
to help the others. There will be no pain.
So I zip myself into the trivial. This includes my day
job. It includes raking the leaves, watching the Chiefs lose and thinking
this might bond me with some community out there, and seeing all of the terrible
muckraking of Facebook, or the grandest triviality ever fashioned
by man, Twitter,
but even those Trivialites, who enjoy those
snowflake machines, think I am a worthless
clown looking for my own gravesite.
Then I think, “Why I’ll write like my
heroes did. I’ll write grandly,” but these tiny
insects bite at my brain cells and tell me I’d have more
success flying to India and becoming
a heroin addict.
I’ve been the sickest of addicts before, and I won’t go
back there, so it is death or fool
myself into doing the greatest triviality of all, writing trashy
poems and getting lucky every
hundred or so, and seeing my humanity in a
poem and feeling as though
creating this crap is worth something.
An apology doesn’t seem necessary, but sometimes I like to work at explaining my failures. I thought the Writer’s Digest Poem a Day effort for National Poetry Month would be a good thing for me to join in on, but I should have considered it more carefully. (I wanted to understand why some things get a day, some a week, and then poetry gets a month. Puppies only get one day, and if I were in charge, I’d give puppies a whole month and strip poetry down to one day with the side benefit of only needing to write one poem each year in celebration; however, I think it’s not that way because puppies don’t need much help in being lovable, but poetry sure does.)
I didn’t start PAD until the fourth day, clearly demonstrating my propensity for procrastination, but I thought no problem, Read the rest of this entry »
Here today, things started to change dramatically.
Do you know, when I just said that, I knew it was false,
but it’s hope, so fuck ’em. So for a few minutes, I thought,
I might be a writer. To me, that meant I might be a decent
human being. I have this blind sense that humans need to
have a central purpose, a reason for going on despite all
the facts that seem to recommend action to the contrary, but
it is blind because I don’t know other humans well enough
to know that they need a purpose. In fact, often, I wonder
how these integrated, bloated masses of people get along
without purpose because they simply trudge through, yes,
contented, but vacuous, contented with eating three meals,
with chips and snacks and pops, and weekend trips to the
lake ( THE fucking lake), and working on these schedules
that are preposterous, barely having time to hug the dog,
rarely awaking without an alarm designed to send humans
into blind destitute, where they don’t know how empty all of the
facades are, and I sit here, wanting to spit on my new pants,
wanting to throw the cafeteria tray across the room, blowing
out the perfectly-clean window which teases me with a Zen
garden that is never used for true purpose, not for lack of need,
but because the minds are entrapped in this buzzing hum
of doing what responsible adults and other gurus have told us
we are meant to do, despite our god-given sense that we waste
this gift of life every day, each day with these millions of
moments that spin down clockwise through snake-cleaned
drains made of the detritus of all of the gold we mined in the
good days when living in a tent and eating smoked rabbit
was a good thing. Here I am praying for a revolution that will
turn me into a writer and allow me to live out my days,
comfortable in some sense of purpose, praying that there
are people who might read and might be changed in the
slightest, because if I can touch a few people with writing and
eat a bit of rabbit, what would be wrong with me, but I’m scared
in the end, remembering those nightmares of walking out of
my tent and hanging myself with heavy rope on the sturdy,
horizontal limb of the old oak tree, ending what seems to be a
useless quest, a useless longing to rid myself of this vast,
empty purposelessness. And here I am wondering what kind
of stupid fuck would write about writing, and I stop. I’m due
back in my cubicle.
I’m going to try NaNoWriMo again. Last year, miserable failure, so I needed a new strategy. This year, instead of trying to write masterfully, I will simply write. Can I turn off the inner editor for more than three sentences? Who knows, but I will try to turn off the editor for four weeks.
I’ve taken writing courses in both fiction and poetry recently, and I have found that my classmates have uniformly disliked my material. I’m a modernist sinking in a sea of well-trained crafty dime store novelists. I wish I could craft anything well, but I’ll be damned if I’ll write something that’s been written millions of times.
I’m not a writer, but my heart gets sparked when I write, so damn the people who don’t read the shit. I’m going to write the shit and we’ll see where we go from here.
When I left the mental hospital tonight (thankfully having been there as a visitor trying to share hope rather than floating there as an admitted patient), the staff member told me to watch for deer. The full moon was fogged behind deep purple curtains, so I had to use my bright lights a few times. I was resentful of the clouds while others are dealing with horrible winds and floods. I tried to be a blazing trail of alertness. There were no deer encounters, but there was a dead dog. So sadness pervades my evening, not as severe as the pre-visit crater of terrifying depression, but creating doubt that I have any chance at writing 50K words in November, but here on October 30th, I feel determined to plough through.
Every word I write seems to murder one of the parasitic creatures inside my skull, which temporarily alleviates the pain, so on we go – let’s kill some pain.
I don’t suffer from the brilliant people’s writer’s block.
I get these swarms of self-hatred that swamp me and create an inactive Tonka toy, ready to rust and to be kicked.
Kicked so there are dents that won’t be repaired ever and whose cracks will submit themselves to the onslaught of rust fueled by the beads of moisture tickling up from the Jersey Street sandbox that never had the privilege of sun.
The loneliness in the dirty sand.
Writing is my therapy, but fear dunks my horrible lungs – What a silly fool.
A toad who can’t stand water.
I’d laugh, but I’m sick of being sick.
Exercise is therapy also, but do I use it?
I know myself as a bucket of shit, pardon the phrase.
Meditation, yes, you have it – therapeutic, but the good people, the beautiful people, the loving people suggest 20 minutes, and my storms conquer me and my mind will not crawl in the cotton for longer than three and a half minutes, five when stretched to my maximum after a long, tortuous day, spent as a salmon in a brown pond with no outlets.
Today at lunch, I saw three people in a continuous slideshow of three side by side by side events.
For a flash, I think I can write, but it lasts only seconds.
At the end of my drinking career, I hated being drunk for almost every moment of the ten to twelve hours per night, Every Night, but there were still those few seconds of each night that crawled gently around my collar and that felt okay like a smooth hug from someone who can save you, that felt like a solution to all of my problems.
I perpetuated the myth of solution into dark ages because I hated being sober so very strongly.
Now, I like my sobriety, but the solution is spoiled milk and miles away on a dry highway below sea level, and I can’t write a silly, shitty little poem about three humans who arrived in three sudden scenes, like flashes from god.
A gift smashes my brain with light and I can’t speak.
For a moment, I knew I could scream the loudest beauty at the walls of the world, but my brain locks as a broken chain on a bicycle and it hates me.
Yes, writing is therapeutic, so I did this little essay. I share it with you because I must let it go.
Tomorrow, I will write a poem.
It will be brilliant
and I won’t
throw it away
when it is complete,
I’ll shut off my brain,
and I’ll sit still,
trying not to worry about how
I seem to be a black hole
in this lifetime, hanging
on those thin threads
that won’t leave
the new pants
I had worn into
of the Monday workplace.
1. Every day – question why nicotine gum is a required part of my life. Tie it to how I quit alcohol. Quit Nicorette.
2. Every day – reflect on willingness to sit alone in quiet for 10 minutes. Something similar to meditation.
3. Every day – Remember that exercise may be the most important thing to do in life today.
4. Every day – Consciously forbid self criticism. I try hard enough. It’s okay to fall short. I’m OK.
5. Every day – Understand everybody is doing his best so when I am around everybody, be happy that they are all doing their best.
6. My meetings, all meetings – be fully present and contribute consciously.
7. Every day – reflect on my willingness to remove mess from my life.
8. E very day – When I am most fresh, be willing to write my ideas down. Be willing to look up and forget modern society.
9. Every day – Actively do things that are not part of wasting the precious moments of life.
Today, all of the goo came pouring down through the top of my head. It became friendly with my throat. These moments when the dust floats off the blinds, the ear buds are blasting my brain, and my brain goes away. Far away. I want to write words that make people feel the way I feel when I hear my favorite music. This is what I want, keep wanting, want more than anything, and if I found it, I’d quit everything else and write, write, write for the rest of my days.
Words are limited, intentionally limited. Words aren’t meant to represent the spiritual. They can only point to the spiritual, and if you asked me to point to something spiritual, I would look at you with screwed-up eyebrows.
My hero said that fiction should be about what it’s like to fucking live. I love that inclination, especially for the 21st Century, but I will never be capable of doing what he did. Should I try? I suppose. It gives me a sense of purpose, but that goo tells me that I’m fooling myself. I’ve been fooling myself for decades. I feel as though I can do it, but it won’t come out. It’s stuck in the goo, the green goo of a stupid ass.