January 29, 2010

Stones up Mountains

I fear that it is complacency that keeps me from writing as much as it is anything else at this point. I threaten myself with media blackouts and various punishments to motivate myself to write, but in the end there is just me and myself and I am the only one who can make myself write anything worth saving, or writing at all. It is hard to describe what it is like. I feel like water against a drain stop, swirling and pressing and filling in every little bit of space just waiting for the stop to be pulled and to fall rushing forth into something new, something else, even if it is just a drain pipe. I have made progress yes, and I have written words and paragraphs and pages, yes, but none of it seems enough to make up for all the time I lost writing nothing. Reading nothing. Living almost nothing. It is amazing that humans may live entirely without life, and that is what Santa Cruz felt like, that last year before I evacuated. There was no drain; I was a huge unchanging stagnant pond with no hope of escape--no streams or rivers to lead me from myself.

I remember, my sophomore year, doing free writing exercises in an intermediate creative writing workshop. The professor said begin and I began and pages, pages, pages fell away from my fingertips like sand and I barely had to stop and think and wonder what to say. And the professor said stopped and I stopped but I didn't want to; I could have carried on forever, it seemed. I wrote recklessly and lushly, peppering phrases with adjectives and similes without concern. My time in the concentration taught me restraint, and I emerged spare, like my writing had been corseted. And from then on the laces grew tighter and tighter until there was nothing left to squeeze. No words to pick away or punctuation marks to delete. Just broad empty pages staring back at me, as if to say, Was this what you wanted? I crave proliferation. I crave abundance. To write ten pages in an hour and keep writing beyond that, unaware of page numbers. There should be so much to say, shouldn't there, after so long silent. It's like Susan Orlean said in the film Adaptation.

I want to know how it feels like to care about something passionately.

I think that what is hard for me is that I do know, or I did know, or I do know. I just want to remember how I knew, and what it was like, and who I was when everything seemed so essential and immediate, like burning your hand. All the energy you have focuses in on that one thing and it's happening and you cannot stop it from happening. Being passionately driven to create was like being in pain. An inescapable state of being. But you're in that state or you are not and there is no pathway and no door. You wake up and find yourself there with no way out or wake up and don't with no way in. I look at pictures of myself from my junior year in college, a time I fondly remember as some sort of a personal creative Renaissance, and catch myself scrutinizing the image as if the secret to all of this is somewhere on my own face. A, what did you know that I don't now remember? As I was reminded yesterday, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. While we're on that subject, wouldn't such a claim mean that living, in of itself, is an insane act? We know where it ends and yet we all keep trying, self-deluding our way into believing we're some sort of immortal. But this Sisyphean dilemma is not the topic at hand. Or is it? Hell. I just want to write something so good and so beloved that something explodes inside of me and I never stop writing again.

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