The trouble with being me is that everything is meaningful. That might sounds fun, a kind of mystical place where each thing I posses and every moment I experience is suffused with a kind of mystical potential that diffuses slowly into the fabric of my existence each time I reach out and touch them. This is not, in fact, the case. The case is that every moment is, in some way or another, a moral referrendum on how I’m living my life. Writing, the most embattled and in some ways important, piece of my life, is no different except in its extreme.
Archive for the ‘writing’ Category
I just got off the phone with a friend to whom I said, “I have to write everyday or I will kill myself.” That is not a literal truth, but neither is it a huge exaggeration. When I don’t write, when I spend my days avoiding writing, for whatever good reason, and let a string of days go by without stopping to record something, without stopping to reflect on my life I begin to lose faith, to doubt myself. The crisp image I have of myself, the firm identity I draw from writing, from being a writer, a storyteller, a scribbler and a poet, begins to dim, begins to fade from the page, and I am left with very little to believe in. And that is what I need on a daily basis, to believe in something, to believe in myself, to believe that I exist and that what I do matters somehow. I can’t tell you in words why what I write matters more than what I draw or what I design, but it does. On a metaphysical level I need these words to exist.
The top of my head is bald, balding really. I keep my hair shorn, shaving it weekly or semi-weekly, depending on how motivated I am. It’s color is uninspiring, unmemorable, a dark blonde or brown. Maybe just brown; any trace of blonde has long since leeched away, and including it in my description is an aspiration to my past, a fragment of the boy I still remember myself to be, often catch myself thinking I am.
To say, ‘I am,’ a whispered phrase in the darkness, half dream, half illusion, seems too bold a gesture to make, too audacious a motion to make in the glimmering of twilight, too dangerous a temptation to succumb to. To say, ‘I am,’ with certainty, standing surefooted and formidable against the desert wind, burning without being consumed. To say, ‘I am,’ thunderous against the sky, cracking the bowl of heaven. To say ‘I am’ and call down all the powers of reality in an instant seems too powerful, too painful, too potentially deadly to ever attempt.
I cannot imagine what it must be like to be something, to say, ‘I am.’ That is not true, exactly, not completely. I cannot imagine what it would be like to believe that I am anything with certainty, anything that I cannot feel or prove. The physical things, the flesh beneath my fingers, the bones beneath my flesh, these I cannot argue with, I cannot deceive or deconstruct. But beyond this, beyond the physical realities of the things within my vision, within my reach, it is difficult for me to reach out and hold on to them. I am a man, I am male, I am an adult, I am an artist, I am a connoisseur, I am a fan, I am a father, I am a son, brother, husband, lover. All of these things fluctuate, move and sway with their own internal momentum, contained in their strangely shaped crystal containers that purport to be definition, but whose meaning is liquid and sloshes and spills whenever I seek to drink.
I cannot say with any certainty that I am. Am what? I don’t know. I stand before myself a great mystery, a ghost in the fog unable to determine the lines of contrast between that which is me and that which surrounds me. I float from day to day seeking the rigidity of external constraints in order to somehow define myself, to give myself for the moment the illusion of definition, a fleeting sense of self, a temporary reflection in the heavy, awkward pieces of furniture I surround myself with in the hope of some semblance of shape. I am afraid that there is nothing here, that this spirit that has infested this flesh is nothing more than an accident, a mistake, an oversight on the part of some absent-minded deity who, in all her power, let slip some important piece of me and left me unfinished.
None of this is true to look at me. I have learned, in the way of my people, in the way of the shades and ghosts, to imitate the movements of the people around me, to move smoothly through the world without disturbing the flow of events or the feathers of gathered birds. I have learned to reflect the attitudes of the room, to throw back the colors and the frequencies of most crowds and almost every individual. It is not difficult to do, but it is nearly impossible to stop doing.
And so I float, the words ‘I am,’ burning my heart, my lungs, my throat, my tongue, my lips. I have not eaten this fire, but it consumes me nonetheless. I am. I am. I am.