a note or two


A Note on Timing:

No matter how well-received their work is, there’s always something missing. To write one billboard headline they sit down and pen one hundred, but what if they penned a thousand? Ten thousand? A million? Would they end with a headline so powerful that the billboard would transcend mere advertising? First accidents would start on the highway leading up the billboard, then crowds of people would come to visit it, crowding around its base. Whole lives would be changed. People would have the words tattooed upon their bodies (which isn’t saying much these days). As long as they could read the words, see them printed on another source besides their minds, they were happy. Must every story end with self annihilation? Many begin with an object. The object usually has life-altering qualities or allows our character to break the chains of his personal experience and experience the lives of others (every writer’s dream). String six words together that could change the world. The thing is, no six words can do that on their own, they must be in relation to something, they must be borne out of a particular context, one that everyone can feel, if only subconsciously. Also some phrases become worth repeating simply because they have been repeated so many times. Some campaigns, for example, build their own contexts around a phrase or a string of words. They define their poeticism with their actions. This is what gives words real power; they must be tethered to a context which funnels down into a single question, then that string of words becomes the answer. Perhaps that’s the process of writing: coming up with answers to questions you haven’t yet asked. We ask the question only once we’ve perfected the answer. But what if six words could do something like that? Perhaps they are responding to a universal question, one felt by all but never expressed before? What would people do if they saw the answer to life written on a billboard? Would books be burnt? I suppose that’s every great thinker’s dream (not the part of the iceberg that we can see), to supersede all that came before. To destroy our ancestors and their efforts, to grow the richest fruit from a fallow field. I say we must quell such desires, wherever they dwell in the depths of our minds. We also ought to rid ourselves of the illusion that we are on the brink of time, that everything that has come before, like dominoes, has led us here. The dominoes can fall whichever way they please. Any time besides the present is malleable. The more of it we uncover or illuminate, or even change, the larger the past grows. Anyways, I meant to hammer home the point that we are not strapped to the front of time. We, and our experiences of the present moment, are not the bridges between past and future. Past and future have never been separated.

A Note on Anger:

I do not believe in forcing our waters to be still. Anger and other such vices are tools, and do not inherently exhibit any quality, good or bad. Rage is like a forest fire; every now and again we must let the fire spread through the forest, consuming but the old and dry wood. The problem is that we, like people settling their homes on the edge of forest, have carefully built our temperaments on the edge of anger. We then strive to put out these fires whenever they arise, for fear of losing what we’ve built. But ultimately, we have only postponed their burning, for fire is a natural process, a re-stabilization, a natural catharsis, and if we hold it back for too long, as many do, we risk all the trees losing their greenness becoming old, dry, and easily burned. And so we require the regular wildfire in order to burn up all of choler’s kindling. When we stifle our anger needlessly, we are liable, when ignited down the line, to burn out of control, consuming entire continents of the mind.

A Note on Notes:

The value of the written word is enormous, but the value of the individual’s written words are dubious. I’ll carry on anyhow, for its value is not standalone and cannot be separated from the life of the individual. The act of writing, not the outcome, can be inherently valuable for the very reason that it cannot be quantified. Like our blessings, not counted but weighed. Counting such value would be like counting water.

To write of beauty alone does not create the sublime. Hope and change creates the sublime. Chekhov’s The Kiss is perhaps the most sublime story I’ve ever read. What is its anatomy? Such a wonderful string of words. It needs no context, no explaining besides what is already contained within its pages. The sublime is gladness at time’s wasting; the sublime is the acceptance of hopelessness.

Writing is like stabbing in the dark, and you never know when to turn on the light.

The writer who lives a life of dullness cannot help but write the mundane. The trick is to make the mundane fascinating. Such is the mark of a master. It is a battle of temptations; sensationalization is but a photocopy of the epics already written. The mundane is all that is left.

It’s so hard to conceive of a story worth telling to the end. They all become so flimsy and frail as they’re formed. Sick anemic stories with no rhyme or reason. How does one finish anything? How do we hold the sand in our hands for long enough to count the grains? The well is never dry, though sometimes the rope breaks. Beginning, middle, and end—it’s like wrestling with a ghost. A few lines, a metaphor, an anecdote, an attempt at an aphorism; that seems to be all that I can muster. How do I tell the truth, simply and plainly, amidst these lies? And what of our life’s demands? They seem to multiply and multiply. Certain limbs must be amputated. Let’s hope I’m no hydra. 

Some use the written word as a paintbrush, others a scalpel.

The pencil and the page are our string within Minos’ labyrinth. It is only with the string that we may find our way out again, and tell of the monster below. In truth we write our way out having never been anywhere but inside the labyrinth. We were born here, and the string forms as we string together our words.

Must the fish be caught in order to prove that it was there? Must I prove that these dark waters do indeed have fish within?

These days I am out of fuel. Writing things I don’t mean for people I’ve never met.

Reflection, honesty, and warmth seem to be the cure for woe. Such an antidote is only available to me through scribbles.

I still wish to make something out of these eulogies to lost time. I have lost so much of it, and yet I’ve written sweet words to only a fraction that has past. There is other time that I’ve killed that I’d like to speak of. I gain nothing from all of this, I only lose less.

These days it seems I’ll never finish a day’s work before the day’s done.

Genius, literary or otherwise, seems to lie at the crossroads between discipline and impulsiveness. The power to force creativity through routine and also the power to break and transcend such routine. I do not come to this notion from my own experience.

A Note on Unity:

It could be argued that God was a necessary creation in order to contemplate the unity that is the world and our experience. It is difficult for a part of the whole to recognize wholeness, until we give this knowledge to an outsider; to God. Perspective necessitates duality, foreground is nothing without background, and so we cannot feel at peace with unity’s truth unless we contemplate it from the perspective of someone beyond the all-encompassing unity. To wrap our minds around an all-encompassing and ever-expanding universe, we need to imagine what the universe is expanding into. That cannot be imagined, and so we chalk it up to god.

If we cannot accept god as the ultimate outsider, then we promote ourselves the post. The fly on the wall character within us, the endlessly tormented and hopelessly alienated, manifests itself. It’s much better to promote something else to such stature, otherwise we will end up the imposter; for we are not apart, we are merely a part.

A Note On Darkness:

   I was up north, in the country. I went outside to take a piss. It was quiet, there was no light besides the moon above. Darkness and moonlight danced together over the ripples, the leaves, my dick in my hand—everything. Then the wind rustled the leaves of a small tree beside me. The darkness enabled my mind to run wild, to see things that were not there, to change the appearance of the tree as it moved. It became a little pigmy-like creature waving paddle-like hands around. I could see it was just a maple sapling, but I could also see it was something else.

   I thought back to those nights as a child, the ones where shadows of the trees on your wall and the shape of a hoody hanging on the back of a door holds sleep hostage. Mind racing, you imagine that hoody turning around, a face, gnarled and evil. The shadows of the trees cut lines across your wall. To you they are the shadows not of trees, but of tentacles or long freddy-krueger claws. I miss the darkness. Here in the city I don’t get to experience it. The light from the street lamps isn’t the only trouble. Light seems to leak out of everything; houses, stadiums, traffic lights, bars—all this light spills over and spoils the darkness. Under so much illumination, there is no question of what things are.

   I see a flower in the night. I can recognize its species, I see almost every detail, but why? Am I not afforded a rest from knowing or desiring to know what I’m looking at, not even in darkness? Darkness is frightening. In darkness our minds fill in the gaps, and more often than not our minds are cruel to us. We take an innocent scene of darkness and fill in all the darkest parts with demons and bad memories. It may be frightening, but at least it’s creative. We’re seeing something that isn’t there, out of fear and darkness we create monsters. We need monsters. We need fear and imagination. A world where everything is clear as day, where everything tells you what it is, and the world has nothing to hide, that is the world where imaginations are enfeebled. The dark is half our world, we can’t simply chase it out with our lamps and lights.

   The darkness of night moves our focus from the objects and entities around us to those within. When, if not in darkness, do we battle or yoke our mind’s chimeras? I am convinced that without darkness, we never make such progress.

   When we experience enough darkness, it ceases to only be a source of fear, and becomes inspiration. It is in darkness that we dream, but dreams do not all have to occur in sleep. We are not meant to be at odds with our environment. Whether we like it or not, we are affected by it, as the tides are effected by the moon. So turn off your lamps, leave your flashlight behind, and live in darkness for a time.