June 3, 2013
I feel immense pressure to create. Allow me to deconstruct that loaded statement. I mean “pressure” in the sense of aligning my professional trajectory and that of of the right hemisphere of my brain; I’ve always doubted that I’m productive enough to find purpose on a moon-lighting basis. By “create” I mean arrange some kind of material element in a way no one else has ever organized it before. And not because I was being paid for it (but still having the contradictory expectation that I would), or because of some utility it served, but simply because of an aesthetic, or to serve as the conduit for some kind of insight or a reflection of a greater truth.
The only real talent I have is writing. I mean, I have other talents that might – and do – make wonderful hobbies. But there’s only one that could ever become a profession. And I’ve always thought that I have important things to say, and will eventually know what to say and when to say it, and that then, and only then, will I be able to get paid to create.
I have taken the longest way possible to say that I have always expected that at some point I would say that I am a writer. It never really bothered me that – although writing is an important part of my profession – I couldn’t describe myself as a writer by trade. My profession always felt like kind of a place-warmer to keep my writing skills sharp for when I would actually use them to Find Fulfillment. I have been biding my time, keeping more notes than I could ever possibly use in MEADE compositions books, making audio notes going back several generations of cell phone, and conjuring up more ideas than I could ever bring to fruition if I wrote from now until the Second Coming. I always figured it would be self-evident when I needed to start making that transition to professional writing. After all, I have plenty of time to find my voice for all those important things I have to say.
But now it doesn’t feel like I have all that much time. And I’m also beginning to wonder if I really have all that much to say. Some major bouts with addiction and depression haven’t helped, nor has the scramble to provide for my children in the aftermath of those twin scourges.
There is also a more fundamental problem that I have been vaguely aware of for quite some time. My brain seems more wired to poke holes in other ways of thinking than come up with alternatives. I can find all the problems with your solution, but damned if I have my own. Rather than collecting answers to questions or special insights about the human condition, or least this human’s condition, I feel that all I’m doing is collecting more questions. What kind of writer just asks a bunch of questions? Don’t I need to at least need to have something of my own to add to the dialogue? Even fiction requires the writer to commit to some kind of narrative. I don’t want to pick a narrative; I want to tell you your narrative sucks.
But the process of asking the questions at least makes me feel like I am getting closer to the self-awareness that might some day lead to some tentative answers. Because I think I won’t ever know what it is that I’m supposed to say if I don’t know who I am. And I’m afraid I still don’t. Getting away from this blog set me back in that respect. Even though all I’ve ever done here is curse the darkness – as opposed to lighting a match – at least I was asking the questions, sometimes the right questions. Lamenting the questions might be the more accurate description. And I think I need to be content to do this just for me, and stop worrying about whether it’s my day job. Above all, I need to be completely honest, something I really struggle with. I want to be liked too much.
So this entry is a preface to what I hope will be my most honest period of writing. Ever. And I am going to try to do it without being cognizant of what anyone might think of me. I think that my answers, and my fulfillment, and my recovery – something I have barely mentioned in this post – demand honesty as a first step.
I am going to be completely honest, maybe for the first time ever. This is my commitment to you, the reader, who I will now try to do my best to pretend doesn’t exist.