Monday, March 21, 2005

A bit on writing that compares it to the murder of innocents, apparently.

“What do you know about it? Who are you anyway? Who are you? Criminals? Are you proud of yourselves? Proud of breaking safes or cheating at cards? Things you could just as well keep your fingers off. You wouldn't need to do all that if you'd learn a proper trade or if you'd work. If you weren't a bunch of lazy bastards. But I... I can't help myself! I have no control over this, this evil thing inside of me, the fire, the voices, the torment! It's there all the time, driving me out to wander the streets, following me, silently, but I can feel it there. It's me, pursuing myself! I want to escape, to escape from myself! But it's impossible. I can't escape, I have to obey it. I have to run, run... endless streets. I want to escape, to get away! And I'm pursued by ghosts. Ghosts of mothers and of those children... they never leave me. They are always there... always, always, always!, except when I do it, when I... Then I can't remember anything. And afterwards I see those posters and read what I've done, and read, and read... did I do that? But I can't remember anything about it! But who will believe me? Who knows what it's like to be me? How I'm forced to act... how I must, must... don't want to, must! Don't want to, but must! And then a voice screams! I can't bear to hear it! I can't go on! I can't... I can't…”

--Hans Beckert

Famous last words.
That’s what those are, the last words of a battered, fictional, German man, pleading before a court of criminals. Helpless? Yes. Lost? Without a doubt.

A sick, sick man. A man that I think I understand.
I don’t murder people. I don’t whistle a creepy tune and entice children with gifts and whispers, leading them off to their demise like some manner of gargantuan spider. And yet…his words still hit home.


I have enough sense to realize that the small list of people on my friends at this website aren’t going to take the time to read this long winded bit of business. They don’t have to, and I’m not sure that I would ask them to. They’re busy enough people (everyone is busy, everyone has a story, everyone has a problem. Way of the world, right?) that they don’t have the time to bother.

So why do I do it?

For the same goddamn reasons as the sympathetic madman. The desire to write something, anything, whatever it may be, burns and twists and melts and warps and moves somewhere down inside my belly. I need it. Without it, nothing is right. Way of the world. Right?

So it was that I found myself with writers block. Except that it wasn’t writers block at all. It wasn’t a lack of ideas, a lack of vocabulary. It wasn’t a lack of desire. It was merely a lack of motion. My words couldn’t seem to gain momentum, leaving me alone at the start of the page staring at a jumble of words that had no meaning to anyone, least of all me.

Standing still.

And there it was. The desire was there, the need to be fulfilled, as were the means by which do it. But I couldn’t move. I was stuck there, churning about within my own goddamn head, thinking those thoughts that are always there. Except when I actually get it done. When the words flow freely and the thoughts move with them, working about with some sick kind of euphoria that I’m not smart enough to explain.

Know what I mean? Probably not. Not because you’re not clever enough. Simply because you’re not sitting there reading this. You’re doing something else, walking down the street, smelling the roses, reading the paper, typing out a thesis, breathing mountain air, screwing your brains out, kicking a football, burning a bush, living your goddamn lives. Isn’t it wonderful? Way of the world.

The last time that I really felt the need to write something was back when I found myself stewing inside the vast expanses of the mountain terrain. I couldn’t do anything else, and I found that all of my senses were screaming at me, but in a singsong manner, demanding and pleading to let something out. So I did. And I was happy.

I found myself journeying around the campus, moving my body and moving my words. The cold air embraced me within itself, pushing me along until my salty sweet lifesong bled its way out of my eyes. The tears were frigid as they moved down my cheeks, sliding in criss cross patterns that may or may not have been there. I’m never really sure any more. But I am sure of one thing. The beauty was there.

I felt it then. Now…not so much. I’m here trying to get something done. I’m forcing the words down here, hoping they will mean something to me. The idea was there, I thought it was, I FUCKING KNEW IT WAS. Where did it go? I’m not sure. Not anymore.

So I sit here, amidst the quiet hum of sunlight and beverage machines, my tired ass resting against the cushions of a couch stained with Joss knows what. I’m getting nothing done, and I’m lost within that feeling. And as I write this, I find that the feeling has led me to know something. What it is I’m not sure. But I think I might be closer than I have been since that evening that I lost all that time ago.

It’s not the couch, it’s not the sun. The true place to find yourself is on another couch, one that sits in the suffocating basement where the air is clogged with dust in the non-wind. The walls are cheap and painted white, but they have gained the ability to suck up that desire. That need, the drive that pushes some to murder, some to fuck, some to sneeze, and some to write. The desire is held there, and it moves to you when you ask for it. Look for it, if you can. If you can.

I tried to find that place again, in some hope of resurrecting that movement within my mind and my words. I walked in a sweater on a sunny day in Van Nuys. I sweat. I wanted to. And I found myself sitting in an empty lot, empty of man but full of tall grass. Tall grass that did little else but drift calmly along with the breeze. I sat there, on yet another couch.

A couch that needed to be there.

A couch with grass poking its way through the cushions that were almost halfway there. It was almost enough. So I wrote. And I was happy.

Happy enough to try again. Which is why I’m here, pandering to the ether. I'm still not sure if I've said anything at all. But if I have...I hope that someday it will mean something.

Enough to keep me away from that courtroom full of criminals, looking to judge me for the crimes that burned inside me.

Here’s hoping.


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