Cheap Pokes

Thursday, January 27, 2005

What follows is a mishmash of unedited and unorganized thoughts. I didn’t have a plan and it doesn’t have much coherency. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate long enough to form full thoughts in my writing. As work becomes busier for me, I have less energy left at the end of the day to write these entries. I had so much I wanted to say, and yet I said so little. The same problems haunt me with my storytelling. I find decent stories I want to tell, but not enough remains in me to put them down. Perhaps I’m going through a lull. I’ve gone through plenty of lulls, so this wouldn’t surprise me. I’ll hope for that and leave it at that.

There are times I question my ethical sense, my ability to do good against my doing good. Writing these words has been difficult. It hasn’t been difficult because my emotions stop me. It’s difficult because I don’t know how to express certain emotions in words. I pretend that all the writing I’ve been doing is helping me be a better writer. But what is a better writer? What is the purpose of this writing? I’ve touched on it a few times. There’s a superficial desire and there’s a deeper desire. The superficial desire is to “become a writer,” retiring from my day job. It’s bullshit. The deeper desire is to change someone; affect that person as I have been affected by others writings. That’s also bullshit.

I’m frustrated at how I’m saying this; it’s like chewing on tinfoil. I see what I want to express but it’s out of reach, beyond my talents. It feels like fakeness before I even type it, but I continue to type it, and I post it because that’s what I do: post things.

I’ve had a strange relationship with emotions. I don’t remember much from when I was young, and it’s difficult to know what I was like as a young child. I was a curious and intelligent boy. I was also a sensitive child. The sensitivity might have come from an overprotective mother or genetics. Either way, it’s who I am then and now.

My grandfather died when I was young. After he died, my father showed us his watch and explained that people die, but we must value each second that we live. I change what he said every time I tell the story because I don’t remember what he did say. I remember the watch and my father speaking, but I have no recollection of what he said. I want him to have said something meaningful. I have so few memories left of him that I want each of them to be special.

I cried when my grandfather died. I didn’t know him well. He didn’t talk to me much that I remember. He was blind when he died, an effect of his diabetes. He smelled like an old man. I remember that much. I didn’t even connect his smells with that of age and sickness, but I have a very good sense of smell, which, I have learned, is mostly a hindrance since there are many more bad smells than good smells. When my grandfather died, his passing changed me. Loss has that effect on everyone, I think. The first death, whether you’re five or twenty-five when it happens, it changes you.

Religion was the next to go. Religion is the answer to a question you don’t know when you’re first taught it. The rabbis instill rituals and beliefs in you before the question is put to you. But then it happens. Death confronts you and the hope is religion eases into place, providing a comfort between death and you. It’s an explanation for the unexplainable, the answer to the question that challenges every person.

Ethics has always been a strange word for me. When I first started philosophy, I had a cute differentiation between ethics and morals. I don’t know where I developed it (or stole it), but I thought I was rather clever when I shared it with others. Ethics are the rules that society (or religion or family) places on people. Morals are a person’s individual value beliefs, passed down through ethical teachings. There you have it. Now everyone can understand ethics and morals.

But this personal story, that’s not what I wanted to get out today. I wanted to share my emotional state, why these things effect me as they do, but I didn’t want to dwell on them. I didn’t want to drag memories up to dazzle you with my poor imitation of feelings.

What am I doing with myself, with my writing? How am I making a difference? Whom am I helping? Goddamn saints piss me off, if you must know. They’re out there, making a difference and looking down at the likes of me, puttering away my own life, searching and finding nothing but questions, and then not even finding the ability to put those questions to people who might answer them.