Friday, November 24, 2006

A slight beginning.



To die is a privilege, granted to those who deserve respite.

It was I who said that. I remember it. I remember it clearly, because I remember everything clearly. Too clearly, some (including me) might say. Memory is often known to be a well-worn patchwork quilt, made of generational hands quietly sewing in tiny bits of history with love. With care. With anything, really. The incidental and the coincidental, all in that collection of individual memes, forming something that can be looked back upon with a sense of personal wonder. Not all of it can be seen. Not all of it can be regarded. But it’s all there. All of it. And when people remember, they often remember things of pure wonder. Not so, with those like me. Those who remember everything. Everything. Those who tend to wonder: Would the world, my life -- would it be better if I could forget?

I remember where I was, the moment that I spoke those words. But more importantly: I remember why. Because before I was sitting there, aside the best friend that I can manage in a place that I continually waste away my days, I was somewhere else. Somewhere cold.
Standing on a muddy hillock outside of Glasgow, staring at the corpse of a simple, stupid man. Watching his semi-long brown hair stand up, frozen in my eyes, although in the space of time it was probably whip-cracking him about the face, as if attempting to punish him for the foolishness that he had just partaken in. His face locked in a quiet mask that mingled an overall look of contentment with the slightest beginning of a grimace. His name was -- had been -- Daniel. And quite honestly, as stupid as I knew he was: he looked as if he had been a nice enough man.


At least…he had been. Before only a few moments ago, before he found himself laying in a pile of half-frozen mud, his body formed into a position that made it seem as if he had been made of soft elastic. The blood on his head still moving, in all probability. Still fighting for its warmth against the conflicting desires of the gale. It flowed from a wound that would have been surprisingly small, had I not remembered an infinite multitude of wounds that had come before. As always, the man was dead. But he was not alone.

It was for her that I had come.


There's more to it. More written down than these simple paragraphs, more spun than these initial ideas. There are places where this can -- where it is going to -- go. Places utilizing myths and fantasies, the roots of stories that we as a people have held close to us over the period of generations, ones that we used to explain and enlighten; ones that we used simply as an excuse to feel good. About something.

And like those stories, the ones manipulated by the vestiges of time -- I hope it may come primarily from a place of memory. If bits and pieces of the myth drop off and change, if only ever so slightly, well then...isn't that how they're supposed to go?

But even so, this moment isn't quite the time. Not yet.
Not yet.

Not yet.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

A pursuit of beginnings.

It’s gotten to the point where I miss the sound.

The sound of my fingers on this keyboard, giving that slight but momentous sensation of bringing something into the world. The individual letters shining with the traces of oil from my not-always-clean fingers. The sound of a beloved mechanical pencil making scritches that are only minutely audible. The side of my hand, sweating with effort, smearing the lead all over itself.

The sound of writing, writing, writing as the day grows dark; when the night rears its beautiful head, creating a new realm where the thoughts burgeon anew. Where the sound doesn’t stop, where the fingers keep sending out signals of thoughts that aren’t even truly thoughts, moving far too fast to be anything beyond the electrical impulses. Darting from brain to page, with nothing as a buffer on the in-between. Writing that middle -- that’s a feeling unlike anything else.

But to find that middle, you first have to begin. Have to commit to some kind of initial path. Have to find a place where the words suddenly take root, letting everything else naturally grow out of that tap with the purest spirit of springtime. It’s the point where it all begins to work. And also the part where it might very well go wrong. So there, that’s the trick, the point where most kindly folks chew their hands down to the bone with the utter frustration of it all, the point where thoughts spasm with seizures hard enough to break their insubstantial backs. It’s the point where I am now.

Sitting in a place that I haven’t been in quite some time, waxing philosophical about nostalgia; all while desperately, violently, hungrily trying to begin.

Because I want to.
I want to so, so much. So much so that I find myself here now, desperately clawing at the face of beginnings, letting the rough surface tear off my fingernails without my boorish resolve allowing me to care. Force of will, force of thought. Needs to an end. Needing it not to end. Because this is the place where I need to be. The very nature of writing is in here, in this moment, in this place of frustration and tragedy. Writing hurts. It always does. Beginnings most of all.

It’s here where it all works.
In words as in life, the passion of beginnings is where the world comes alive. They have to. They have to. We have to. I have to. I have to find a place I can call home. Where I won’t let my words down. Because words, contrary to certain opinions, can never fail us. We’re the ones that fail them. We’re the ones that spit them out in formations that aren’t as bold and uncompromising as they could be, should be. We’re the ones that can’t find them when the time comes, even though they sit right there, waiting to be used in a way that makes them glow. Waiting for a time when they might mean something, if only for the split-instant when they’re read aloud to someone worthy. When we fail our words, you can feel them scream.

And it is for their sake -- those vicious masters that I love so much -- that I don’t want that to happen. Not ever.

I’ve been trying to start something.
Someone, somewhere has declared that this month is a one of words. Words, in multitude. So I’d (I’ve) decided to use this as an opportunity to begin something. To find that sound again, by forcing myself over that astonishingly painful first summit, enjoying the hell out of the agonizing scramble for a true and proper beginning.

I tried once.
I hate sleeping.”

I tried twice.
My life has always been on the outside of humanity.”

I tried three times. Four times. Many more times.
Some seemed all right at first glance, and some made me want to sucker-punch myself in the labonza (a term which needs to see more use, come on). Some were alright, until I realized they were touching upon a place that was far closer to me then I had ever intended it to be. I had liked it. It felt right. But it wasn’t right for what it was meant to be. It was merely right for me.

And so on.

And so forth. But still -- the words must go on. And on and on and on. And on again. It’s in their nature to be with us, to inspire us, to make us feel a way that we didn’t know we could feel. And they might even help us to begin something else, which in turn might help the previous thoughts begin anew. After all, writing about an inability to write is a beautiful contradiction; and it always manages to ring true. If you believe in it, as you would believe in anything else.

I haven’t gotten there yet. The story is outlined (somewhat). The characters exist (somewhat). The ideas are as crisp as they are ever going to be. But even with that in place, with conceptual guidelines having been in consideration ever since the waning days of that dismal place downwind from the Budweiser -- even with that being the case, the beginning still hasn’t been overcome. The sound isn’t consistent, and the fingers, they do bleed on. It hurts. It terrifies. It matters not.

Writing is a process, when all is considered. All of it matters. Not just the moments after you've written, when a smile burns its way across your face like you lit a line of gasoline. Not just the moments when your fingers fly with the grace of a Heron crossing the path of an orange sun. All of them. From the puzzlement, to the hatred, to the moments when everyone in their right mind seems like a sworn enemy to the purity of your ideas. Such formless madness. All of it, a wonder to behold.

Despite their difficulty, beginnings always come about, someway, somehow.

Beginnings exist everywhere.

And in some interesting sort of way -- endings never really come.

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