about my writing obsession
Will Men Please Stop Complaining and Doomsaying?
a headline caught my eye
after cruising my Photos with a lust for salvation
finger in the water
via some friends I used to meet
ah, USED! condoms baby, only sailors wear (war) them
oh, meaning tendril glampening (i bet no one’s ever said that before; it makes no sense, like life — i have lost the voice of irony and humor; or it has to be remade like bread
on the Mediterranean with a newly fabled Her
there, a good line — how many enough for rent tickets, to not be left in the street to expire
(GPL 10/17/22) registering i guess my want to be here, my belief in nothing but honesty and what hands do — no problem to solve (dew or doo-doo; all is truly stable on/given the periodic table of elements—all is explainable except the heart and memory and death which of course are everything drawing the schedule events to a close (now you’ve seen everything, know the form of gathering — how to make it new? it ended so soon, innocence; i got it too soon, know too much, have to boot up a fake ego to struggle with now; oh, there are real bodies, children, yet artists dwell in caves and studios working on their fake figures to make real
i don’t want to and can’t complain; i don’t prove or hide or sell my schema yet here they are, every bloody mental wanderlust-train
all it took was enough days dissatisfied; don’t ask for a cure, be real instead (this is not advice; it is formless, not memoir since nothing’s been achieved, not a coaching practice since you know what i know — now gently letting it come, letting reality overwrite my assumptions about the turns of the game: letting people overwrite my models of them is demanding
the show goes on: the replacement show; you must tell me now what this all means; no meaning is stable, meaning-making’s a wicked organism thrashing leviathan shrimp-tails taking the form of everything wanted: a place to crash, no seepage through the windows, no accidental deletion of the beautiful thing, no tragic whinny to thrust all your glance at to cure
there’s a good paragraph, i could walk away from the rest — the real question at the end of all this is what makes you bleed yourself, then you’re done and like the rest
but you have to correct it, make it different, stop it from rhyming through equality, that’s too easy
no, no, stop signing and proving you were here, we know! we the angels above you!!!!!! LISTEN!!!!!!! LOOK UP! *airplane noises* a mother feeding you; oh, he’s a ‘fever dream’ kind of guy, trying to write all the lines out then arrange them and summon a symphony…it’s there, it’s here, it’s every night,
call it a vision obsession, a freedom obsession, a trust obsession, a commitment to following the mind wherever it thinks it ought to go next: a totally liberated version of creating art and being a creative person and artist! Big words, big shoes, I’m not the first, last or only person to create here; you are too, everyone is; I am simply testifying to existing; I grew further away from trying to sell it, make it legible; sales happen because rent must be paid—there is no winning except doing more work: the art world is no different from law school and the legal profession: a pie-eating contest where the grand prize is more pie; and life is pie, and you’re good at slicing it, by sheer repetition, gross tonnage of years spent at the lathe, every boring weekday all day every minute. Ritual, habit, routine; (7/19/22)
my mind is flooded with awareness / perhaps what i commit to is freedom of the mind to take whatever direction it wants, and never faking; never cutting off part of myself, no work-life balance, no doing anything that isn’t part of the soul’s desire to grow, nothing forced, no coercion (eventually one becomes useless and recites and rehashes riddles and koans, and is inedible to hierarchies of command and control, monetization, capture and seizure of market or customers—I wheedled out of being a capitalist operant, which might mean no savings of money ever in my life, wandering, indulging in luck, making up a language and forging a way of being that was impossible before I did it. This sounds real, heroic, long, vanilla, pretty cool after all, lonely, quiet, inward, raising eyebrows, being someone others will detach from but maybe re-approach after it’s clear all the striving was for nothing, and one gets stranded in middle age and making more money doesn’t really matter; breaths matter, and do you know how to live in your life, and do you want to live — can you survive suicidality and actually engage in your own leadership, speaking, writing and eventual disappearance, and witnessing the decline of others; dare you help your aging parents and talk about it with others or listen to others as they go through it too; will you stop doing the next thing, will you be able to be where you are, breathe, be mediocre and in trouble with a list of worries and action items a mile long; will you be able to survive the night (7/5/22)
talking to myself about what to do from where I am
I keep trusting the making of new written material; something happened years ago that anchored me to my inner voice, and I keep on believing there is such a thing as being an artist and that if you don’t stop listening to and translating the voice coming through you — if you keep your inner voice sharp and coming on the page in front of you and see this as a holy chore and your biological imperative as a living spore; if you let the blood flow as ink and never stop, the world will protect you. Like trees help each other, sending sugar down their roots. With humans I suppose, the sugar is money: money is like oxygen for a community, but where are the lines of community?
All I can offer are unhinged rants, stream of consciousness, paintings with my anxiety: ancestral, adenoidal, essential, pure. I just need to make it. And eventually you do it enough and realize there’s no other personal past to look back upon except a record of having published these “pieces” — what’s the genre? Poetry, creative nonfiction — I like the idea of thought painting, painting like a child with reckless abandon for no purpose at all but pleasure; the gall to do this during a pandemic and high racial tension…well, if I were another kind of writer, I would be glued to the Associated Press wire, editing together a report of what’s wrong in the world, naming other men with official positions and holding them to account. Well, I’m more of a make tea, listen to classical music and let my inner moonlight be the raw material of my art, these Medium posts that don’t make sense…I often can’t even reread them. What I might need is a collaborator, someone who reads this, suggests edits, and together we make it a thing…but what makes something a thing? A gatekeeper saying so? One of the big four publishing houses saying so? No: I did learn the lesson of the 21st century as far as culture and media go: user-generated content is everything; word of mouth is everything. If someone likes the sound of what I do, they can dig it, and share it, and see if their friends or online freak-community digs it too.
I don’t want to have to meet disruption to my daily life. Out of money again with no clear way out…“monetize through community” supposedly works, but I don’t know how — from this side of the screen — to make someone care, and I don’t know if I want the responsibility. Being known and followed is fine — I don’t really want to be touched or bothered; does that invalidate me as an artist? I don’t even always refer to myself as such, but I’m desperate…but that’s natural for a writer. There is no way to be at ease in the world if you write a lot: it becomes a lifestyle, and you confront the America you’ve been brewing in. Universal basic income would let me off the hook from having to submit myself for understanding to anybody else…I would prefer cart blanche to work my daily ritual without interruption. How to make it possible? Earn supporters?! I am writing from the center of the storms of want and refusal: I want to keep going, I can’t and won’t comply (unless of course someone understands me, and sees what I’m trying to do through the noise and furious scribbling of the man who feels like he’s out of options). I’m always willing to chalk this up to being the fiction of who I was yesterday — all I’m doing is writing what I have to say. What comes next won’t come until I’ve said what’s “top-of-mind.” I’m not too concerned with keeping a reader with me for this fugue. This is an escape: more of a painting or a symphony than a piece of writing, unless of course it’s edited into a beautiful thing that shows the flee. Maybe I comb back through and recover all the verbs and nouns, letting the rest of the chaff blow away…what would be left is a strong skeleton.
The problem is I can’t live in the past anymore, can’t tell you my old lovers still matter to me, they don’t bother me, they’re like everyone else, waiting for America to resolve itself — and it won’t. We’re stuck in the gruesome present and so we barricade ourselves in our cozy apartments and put on classical music and brew tea…waiting for someone to save us, unclear on what can be done about poisoned men with power and cotton-for-brains, them and their made-up minds — the Ivy League graduates can’t seem to do a thing! Anyway, this is about creative freedom, freedom from doing mundane tasks…maybe this is all just procrastination until I find…what is it: what’s the name of the savior? Client? Patron? I don’t and won’t drive outcomes for anyone; by barricading myself behind my creative output and process (rather than getting on the horn and making some calls) I prove once again that this is my only way forward, however ridiculous it is to think this is product and work. It is. It has to be. If I have to change the world with my own two hands, so be it: I will grab and bend until there’s a place for me to stand.
This wanting makes me a different person, which is probably the goal of work anyway. This wanting for creative freedom waters the soil of my bones and makes me who I am. Maybe I’m meant to learn today that I write a lot and it does nothing! Can this be edited? Why live in the past? Perhaps I’m teaching myself about time here. Don’t I bottle up and explode whenever faced with a threat to my way of life? The bacteria culture of my body stand pricked and in revolt against the onslaught of financial reality. How to be free? Convince someone else of the fruits of your labor? Maybe. What else do I do? But what if I’m not getting it across?
At least what posting this accomplishes is obliterates any hesitation or holdup in publishing whatever comes from my fingers unbidden. This is purely automatic writing right from the demented head dipped in 21st century electronic America ~ it aspires to the madness of an Allen Ginsberg Howl; I may keep losing the reader but I won’t lose myself — I just don’t know what to do tonight. Maybe I have to keep writing until I think of something else to do with ease…7:45pm, a second tea infusion, the troops of calamity called in — the writing process is a place for me to doubt; maybe the goal is to lose the reader, to achieve a place to be alone at the end of this line, an island I weaved for myself. A record of madness. Anything to get away from where I was: full of doubt about where the money to pay for my life will come from, having fled the world of reading New York Times OpEds, having broken away from the addicted electricity of Twitter, I’m a cognitive vagabond, hitching on highways I find in my apartment between paper I write on and posts I can go back and edit. I sort of know there’s no salvation here; maybe it is just practice, just art, art as therapy — that wouldn’t be so bad. I’m not here saying it should be mainstream. You either dig it or you don’t; I’m doing it to please myself. These things I say and believe about art have been said and believed about art and writing before. Writing is an art form like any other: my voice, however, is not. No one has come out with the particular spurt of English words as I have ~ wouldn’t this make the parents of a son named Geoffrey proud?
So much angst about identity! The central tension in any life: what you really want vs. what’s expected of you. I have leached expectations from my life, have signed no contracts: mortgage, marriage, employment.
I keep insisting on this freedom to make pages of stream of consciousness. Am I painting the same painting over and over again? Maybe I do it so I can obliterate the stuff I’ve made before. Maybe I’m doing it to make myself sick of it once and for all so I give it up, realize finally there’s nothing here and I can get a job, settle down…though I fear for that spouse and child, for I think I would abandon them or not make it. The pull of art is too strong.
I wonder if I’ll forget this night of writing. Maybe this is the stuff that should be destroyed; it probably will be; I’ll look at it in a month and it won’t relate at all to where I am. The essential thing is to make it, to write for a long time when you’re feeling healthy and mentally at ease…if nothing else, this is just grease for what my body knows I have to do tomorrow, for my future is not figured out — or I’m ashamed that I’ve received “free money” from my mother and my father, that I’ve tried jobs and got smoked out ~ it’s easy to forget that two years ago I still believed I could be a full-time something else: a recruiter in tech, doing deals…my heart wasn’t in it. The woman who fired me said, “Follow your bliss,” I suppose I did. This isn’t the end of the story because the art of survival is a story that never ends until my dying day.
Now, I expect to put my whole night into this post and never speak of it again, because frankly, this is table stakes: I’ve talked many times before about the 15-hour workday, about going around the clock…maybe I had to remember what it’s really like. Today was the perfect day. The quality of attention and commitment I gave my writing was unparalleled. Perhaps this was what I needed to do to reset the foundation, touch home base, renew the covenant.