Into the Sea · nothing makes sense
The world and I are not getting along. I mean, we’re working things out but it’s taking a damn long time, or so it seems. Am I writing just to… oh, I don’t know — why am I writing? Thoughts never translate well to paper in my experience. However constructive they appear, as neurons fire, there’s a barrier present. I know what it is now, though. It’s expectation. That whatever I write has to be something special. But none of it is.
“No worthwhile thought shall pass through these hands!”
I’ve written this before. I repeat myself a lot. It might be because I’ve successfully gotten this shit out of my brain and onto a hard drive before. It’s something I know how to do. These new and exciting thoughts that make me a better person, a more focused person are entirely new to me. If I have trouble doing them, how am I supposed to be able to write about them?
New and exciting to me, entirely old and uninteresting to you. You’ve been doing it for a long time. I’m just getting started. Every little task is an Everest of thought.
The world outside my tiny apartment scares me. Venturing out in public is an ordeal I’d rather not have to deal with. Whenever I do I feel judged and surveilled. I feel like I’m trespassing. I tense up, look mean, stare straight ahead. I walk with a purpose — to do what I have to and get away as quickly as possible. All the while afraid someone will notice me. It’s an ever present feeling of dread; I’m expecting to be called out. Singled out. At any moment.
It’s been like that since I was a kid. My first memory of social anxiety goes back to 1990. At certain points in my life it’s been easier, at other points worse. It’s pretty bad now.
Sometimes you gotta go with what’s inside your head. You want to be poignant, important; you want to let graceful and exquisite words sprout from your fingers, like slow motion rose petals in a movie. But it always ends the same; you come to the conclusion that all you write is pretentious gobbledygook.
Nature, not content with denying him the ability to think, has endowed him with the ability to write.
Don’t let that stop you. That’s the voice you have chosen, that’s who you are. Don’t be content with simple words if what you want to say requires something else. Sure, it can be distilled. It can always be made simpler. But don’t simplify solely for the sake of it. There has to be a reason, a gut feeling that overrides whatever part of your brain making those decisions.
Don’t concern yourself with what comes out or how — just write. Sooner or later you’ll stumble upon a grain of truth swathed inside that perfect sentence you’ve been looking for.
Even an idiot will make sense once in a while.
A while back I wrote about «that mysterious, wild-eyed, quiet stranger» and how I wished I was such a someone.
Today I realized it might be a good thing that I’m not. What hell it must be to always stay in the corner, alone — fearing that if you were ever to partake in sociable conduct your cover would be blown. As soon as your mouth opened, you’d be exposed as the socially awkward, shy man you really are. Or as a complete buffoon, void of any of the clandestine elegance formerly exuded.
‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt, as they say.
In many ways I am a mysterious, quiet stranger (not wild-eyed, I think). I never know if I should introduce myself when meeting friends of friends, and I always keep quiet and out of the way. The few times I do say something, it’s either commonplace or spoken so softly low that I might as well have kept it inside my head. It would probably have made more noise reverberating inside my skull anyway.
The usual reaction new people have when meeting me is «you’re so quiet» and/or «is something wrong?» Yes, I’m quiet. A lot of things are wrong, but I always look like this.
‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, et cetera.
Then again, maybe it’s better to be a proven fool who, at the very least, tries, than the suspect of a wordless crime deferred.
Some people have a certain grasp of language, they master it and transform it into art. I’m not one of these people. I hear ideas in my head that are both beautiful and art-like but that’s as far as it goes. They exist for a split second, just long enough for me to realize their greatness, before they vanish leaving me a puzzled mess.
«I had it, it was just here but no more.»
As a poetaster and a pretentious hack I often wonder if these people whom I admire for their craftsmanship and creativity have found some way of channelling their ideas onto paper, or if they too have fleeting ephemeral ideas a thousand times more grand than mine that leave them just as quickly as they came about, and that they’re just plain old better than I am.
«Maybe it never was, maybe it never will be, but it’s surely gone now.»
In the end it boils down to jealousy. I don’t need to analyze what I just wrote to realize my own inadequacy. To each his own; to you, I raise my glass.
It’s been growing for quite some time; I no longer know how to deal with it. I never really knew. Carver once wrote «The mind is sick tonight,» and he prayed for Chekhov to ease it. I once turned to music to ease my mind but it no longer strikes me.
Dust, hairs, ash is congregating on my floor. Sheets of paper are strewn across it and there are two dirty plates on the floor. There’s more where that came from in the kitchen sink.