Unrequited Consternations

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It’s consternation time. I’m sorry about this but I needed something. I needed to puke thoughts onto a page and I didn’t want to think. I never want to think. I wanted to form a plan and share it with the world, even though I know the world doesn’t care. I write this introduction to warn you that what follows is unedited drivel. It is consternations of a sort I’ve not shared in quite a while. It’s over two thousand useless words. It’s a love letter to me. It’s a reminder of everything I ever wanted to do but forgot how. It’s a plan that I know is fueled by too much caffeine and too many easy promises on a day when my fingers are moving of their own volition.

I write this introduction as an inoculation against my demons. I post it because I wrote it and writing and posting are synonymous in my mind. I don’t fear valueless work. My life has been full of such half-hearted efforts. I fear my lack of efforts, my comfort in the warm embrace of scribbling and pretending that art doesn’t require effort or pain. Art is dedication to an ideal. I don’t know what my ideal looks like, but I know the warm feeling of having written. I want to return to that embrace and look back and know that there’s something there. That it’s not imaginary or useless.

Ideas first then words.

“Stop telling me what I should do.” The water glowed brightly. The air shimmered warmly.

I’m worried about it. I try not to complain too loudly by there it is. I wait for complaints.

The world formed slowly rising from the mists. I used to know how to form worlds. I used to have ideas that would blossom into stories. Who am I kidding? I never wrote any stories. I only threw filth onto the page and pretended that it would mean something. Argh. There is something to be said about filth.

I’m a chubby guy. My clothing is baggy because I try to hide it. It’s filthy.

I have to suffer. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to sit in front of the computer and suffer. I look and find distractions instead of pounding out words, hoping that something sticks. It rarely does, but I can’t start sticking until I start writing two thousand words or thereabouts. I need the marathon. I need the constant push for more words, for more stories, even if those stories turn out to not be of interest to anyone. I need time alone with my screen and my thoughts and my thinking.

I need to do this every day, rain or shine. I need a mug of steaming coffee and a blank screen and suffering on my wrists. I need to write and write and write. There will be a time when this means something, when I can stop the consternations, reach deep into myself and find something worthwhile. I know about doodling; doodling is something I do to relax. It is not an effort but a reflection. I also know words. Words are something I do to cause pain. But the aftereffects are astonishing. They are eye opening and provide incredible value. I can’t believe how good that value feels. How happy it makes me to go over my words and see output. I want my imagination to open up, to free me of the bounds of everyday life. I need to set aside time, real time. Not work time, not sleep time, but time where I sit up in bed after showering and grab a cup of Joe and go for it.

This is not a project but a love affair. I want everything I do to be focused around this time. All of my learning, all of my thoughts, all of my creativity to pour from me like a black sludge that covers everything in a gooey badness. I want to forget why I never did it. I want to only remember that it’s about words, lots and lots of words that mean something. I want filth on the page. I want dirt and crap; I want to be proud of that crap.

The dragon reared on its fat legs and roared fire.

I need more. I need plain looking people to jump about my page like beans on a hot pan. I want them to run into each other and worry about things and see conflict and cry about their conflict. I want them to never get over it. Any of it. I want them to die alone and afraid. I want to relive terrible moments and create new triumphs that dwarf the real lives of little men. I want people to read this in a way that means something to them in the same way that it meant something to me when I put the words down. I want this to be painful, to be hurtful, to be something that no one in their right mind would think important. I know some days will drag, but others will feel like effort is not required. I’m old now, older than I’ve ever been, and I have to realize that it doesn’t matter. None of it ever did matter. If I want to do it, I should do it and stop looking to excuses. Where and when? Does it really matter? I know the answer and it’s easy to say on such a prolific day. I have an hour a day of sitting and struggling. I can grow that but never shrink it. I will sit in the chair and think of the big thoughts and with righteous indignation sear the page.

Some days will be worse than others. I will sometimes story, other times I’ll flop about looking to story but never finding what I thought existed in me. This is not a one month thing. This is a lifetime’s goal. This is my plan B, this is my escape from the world to my own little world. I see these words and I look to my word count and I know I’m on to something. Yes, these consternations are useless and will likely never see the light of day. It’s not the daylight that I have to worry about. It’s my goals and my hopes and dreams. These are things I should not take lightly. I should wake every morning with a renewed knowledge of what I want and grab it with all my heart and the strength of my fingers and yank it toward me. If it takes me consternating for two thousand words a day, then consternating I will do. I will share or not share, I will create or not create. It doesn’t matter as long as the words keep flowing. Once the faucet is unstopped, where will it end? Does it even make a difference as long as I can look back and say I did something. I created something. I communicated with somebody.

All consternations end somewhere. No matter how poetic or artistic or cathartic I think of it, it will eventually run out of steam and begin circling the drain, and then fall in with the sewage. I see this even as these words float to the top of the sink, the drain so far and its force so weak from this height that I can’t but laugh at its efforts. It will happen sooner than I expect, whether it’s tomorrow morning or later in the week. It’s then that my fingers will stop blooming. With nothing going on in the real world I will have to reach deep into that other world and find the happenings. I have to know that there is something out there waiting for me, something that knows no boundaries and doesn’t worry about dragon blades or wizard’s hats. It is spaceships and rides all squished together into a toothpaste tube. I won the toothpaste wars and I need to shout it to the world.

Even now I wonder what if anything these words are bringing me. I see joy and heartbreak. I see the pain of knowing that I don’t have what it takes but not caring. I don’t want an audience, I don’t even want to pretend like it means something to me, even though deep within I know that there’s nothing I want more but their appreciation. I shouldn’t care but I communicate because I want to communicate and because I don’t know how to communicate elsewhere.

It’s the heat of my body that pours itself onto the page. I have to care about the warmth, care about what it will bring before I begin. I need to make this mean something. I need to push beyond the boundaries that I share with others; I need to forget the small talk, except when the small talk turns out to mean something, to make some connection. It’s a million twitters on a tweeted night. It’s the last thing in the world I ever thought I would lose. It’s the caffeine withdrawal that’ll make the writing worthwhile. It’s everything and nothing. I don’t even have words to say how I felt without it—without the thought of waking up each morning to the mug and the keyboard. I knew that there was something bigger and not quite real that I wanted to share but didn’t know where to start.

These words used to mean something to me. They used to bring me about and realize that even with all the distractions and all the useless words, there was something there that I wanted to share. I have to put off the doubts with the dreams. There is comfort in doing nothing. There is a sameness that is compelling. But I can’t accept it. I have to fight against the ordinary, the thing that everyone expects. I have to throw unedited words on the page and wonder how they’ll ever come together in something that people would want to read. I don’t even remember what that’s like. I’m not sure I’ve ever known. It must be an amazing feeling. I want to understand it. I want to find it and grasp it and wrap my grubby little hands around it and yank. It must be wonderful. And even if it’s not, even if it’s just the journey that brings me there without worry or hope, then I still won’t care. I won’t care even a little bit as I push toward the word goal for the day. Sometimes I’ll be smiling with the pure effort, and other times crying; it matters little. It doesn’t matter if I invest in a boatload of caffeine to push me to the goal. I’ll pay for it in the evening and the mornings as my mug grows to accommodate the larger amount of drugs that I push me toward my goal.

I’m comfortable with this pacing, with these thoughts on a beautiful Saturday morning. I don’t know how comfortable I’ll be on a less beautiful morning, when the words are stuck like usual, when I’m staring at the blank page and wishing that I could find a ninja large enough to fill it—or a samurai or a sorcerer and wondering why I even bother. I bother because I want to create. I complain that my job doesn’t allow me to create. It allows me to push papers to create money through a balance of risks and creativity; to write logically, or as logical as people pretend that they need to understand and decide. I want more than that. I want my life to have more meaning. I want to wake each morning excited about the prospect that I’ll be putting words to paper and paper to bindings. I want it to mean something, my creations. I want people to look forward to word that they’ll probably never read; they’ll be comforted that I created the words. And by people I mean me. I always meant me even if what I want is acceptance and an audience that does more than look at not-so-pretty pictures.

Even with too much coffee and a plan, I watch as it slips through my fingers. Yes I have plans and needs and desires. But no, I don’t know if I’ll ever fulfill them. It requires work and heartache. This has not been painful but tomorrow will be. I’ll wake up tomorrow full of zeal but in two weeks that zeal will be gone and I’ll be looking for the next distraction, the next project that has nothing to do with words. I’ll look for someone to hold my hand and remind me how unimportant these words are. There’s nothing here that anyone cares of, least of all me. Why do I put myself through the suffering, through the silences and the useless words and the finger and wrist pain? There’s nothing here for me. There are no ninjas on the page. There is no action or resolution or anything that will remind me who I am. I am nobody and it’s time I fess up. It’s time I met my dragons and smiled as they pulled me back to my ho-hum life.

Forget them, forget the word. On a beautiful day like this, with the sun shining and the Doolies across the table from me anything and everything seems possible. Who am I to doubt the possibilities? Who am I to question that if I didn’t just sit each morning and push words that some of those words magically will be worthwhile? I can’t know unless I try and I can’t try unless it’s every morning. It has to be routine like brushing my teeth. One missed day and I might as well give up on the toothpaste wars.