To Love and Art,
I almost want to write about what I look like without my clothes on, but I can't, and I won't. I think I can be beautiful. When it's just me and myself in the mirror, I'm all. I am everything I have, and that is me, and it is perfect. Balanced. I'm all I need in my mirror. Friend, enemy, me in the mirror.
Even now, with all this thought, my writing seems shallow and reserved. I know there's so much more. I can sense it. Maybe that's it. The only reason I'll ever have to keep writing. Ah-hah! ... Uh-oh ...
A moment ago, standing in front of the refrigerator with the door hung half-open, idly eyeballing over all the tupperware bowls, expired food, and things I refuse to eat because they're not my "taste", I said aloud, "Look, you're surviving." All of all day, and all of all night, and look, you're still surviving. I came up with a little song about it, and I sang as I settled on diced pineapple.
It all begins with sight, does it not? Sight first, and then voice. And voice is what's really important, isn't it? All this voice, or all that voice. I doubt I'll ever overcome the noise.
Where is it? He? It? They? You? You know what they say about cats ... Those curious little luxuries. But they have such a tempting decadence about them. As do all animals, in some way. I do agree, though, that all dogs are liberals, and in that way, they are curiously less interesting.
Animals are strange. I saw four deer tonight. Two separate incidences. Two pairs of deer. The first pair I saw after I decided to stay out later, to drive farther, to run away. They stood at the side of the road, staring me down as I rounded a corner. They took me by surprise, and for a moment I couldn't decide whether or not to react. No surprise there. Late reactions - I'm so prone. And, in a way, for reasons I'd prefer not to lay out in detail, it was overwhelming. The second pair I saw after I decided to go home, to settle, to cope. The second pair had been split: one had crossed the road, the second had begun to cross, but was interrupted as I closed in on the final half of their silent procession. I can be so callous - I had no invitation to intervene. The deer got spooked and tried to run any way "away", but instead, perhaps by mistake, or likely because she was suddenly terrified and blind, she ran alongside the road, keeping pace with my car for a few short bounds before I passed her, sympathetically.
Oh, imagine the metaphorical potential there - all that lining up the way it does.
But on the topic of "awayness", I once wrote in my journal the following line: To the heart already fondest, all awayness is a plague.
And now the line haunts me. Even in moments of what I believe to be complete fulfillment, I am haunted by the thought. Away. To be away. Being away from something or someone or someplace. But distance is distance, is it not? And I am always away? All ways away from all, but somehow still entirely vulnerable.
As I passed the deer, the one who wanted whatever "away" she could claim, I yelled, again aloud, "You ran alongside me! You felt it!" And I repeated the lines, with manic determination, again and again, not knowing exactly what I meant - not knowing what there was to be "felt". What was there to feel in that moment? Some silly single something? Dear Deer, What message have you to deliver? It kills me not to know. I ran too, and was running, and I knew it. I felt it. Did you?
See, my whole plan, tonight, during the drive, was to talk to myself. I wanted to say everything aloud, and I mostly did. This was after I smoked whatever I smoked, of course, and I thought I might feel somehow more "in-tune" to self-directed criticism. And perhaps, you know, I think I was, because as I drove, I'd press against the steering wheel with a scrap of paper and a pen, and record my little moments.
First, I paid my dues to the in-between. The here and there, that is. What is mine and what is not mine, and what never will be mine, and what I never want to be mine. "I'm full, I don't want any more," I thought, and then kept thinking, if only to betray myself.
I found the one word that describes quite accurately what I want out of life. I found it once before, but then I wasn't alone, and it was different. Here, again, it made me feel manically determined. I felt almost euphorically disconnected from the source. Perhaps because I knew that, in that moment, the word was entirely mine. The one word is "involvement". More than anything, I want to be involved. In something, anything, everything - I could even be involved with nothingness and that, too, might be fine. "What a word!" I thought. "Involvement."
And I laughed.
I then began to consider what it was that held me back from becoming involved. This one was hard to place - to find the right words for. I searched my vocabulary, and passed so many words. Finally, I decided. I think it is an overzealousness. Not zealousness, but something pathologically "too". It is some overblown, unspecified desire that overlooks too many critical details. And I lose my footing to those details so often, it seems, that I am forced forever in to debt. Debt on an emotional level, that is. Am I trapped?
I often feel trapped. When I feel trapped - and this is another thing I spoke to myself about - I tend to follow a very strict routine. There is a hierarchy to my coping mechanisms. First, if it is at all possible, I will cry. This is of the utmost importance. It is what I do first, before all else, if I am able, and nothing will prevent me from doing so. It costs nothing to cry. But if I can't cry, for whatever reason, or if I have finished crying, I will write. I will write instead of draw or brood or sigh. It is my responsibility to myself, I feel, and I simply will not balance my priorities any other way. And last, after all the rest of it, I will talk and I will vindicate, or forgive. Sometimes simultaneously, but oftentimes in linear sequence. I'm generally always forgiving. I will forgive you for making me happy. I will forgive you for making me sad. I will even forgive you for offering nothing. Just grant me time to work through it in my own way, and I will forgive anything, anyone, for the time being, until I must run through the process again. And it is a process. It is how I process ideas and, if I am willing, I will learn. Willingness, however, is another story altogether …
I realized, also, that it hurts. But I did not speak aloud about the pain.
The pain can be distracting, and when it interrupts, it is introduced. I would say, again aloud, and this time with false enthusiasm, " ... Aaaand we're back!" I would imagine myself as the host of some late night television show, introducing an unpopular guest. The sarcastic tone in my voice would imply that I am not entirely sure whether or not the frequent appearance of this particular guest will boost ratings. Deciding, again, to be optimistic, as I tend to do, I thought, "They may not like you now, but the unlikeliness of you, your subversion, might keep them coming back!"
"I'll sell myself out!" I thought. "Just like Johnny Eck, the half-boy! Just like the lion-faced man, and the horse-faced woman! Just like the circus sideshow!" At least, then, I wouldn't be alone. But would I get paid, or would the pay be plenty? And, if so, by who, and how much, and in what currency? The economy of things is bothersome. I wish I were an anarchist.
And, finally, I heard this song, and the song said, "I like the morning. I like the day. The sun is my morning. All my life was a morning." I felt strangely at ease with that statement - I could relate, so I did. And that, too, in its own way, was moving.
Dear God, whatever you are, take my writing with grace and be patient. Don't take it out on the words. They don't mean it. Obviously, they don't mean it. And neither do I. I am a pacifist. I am not a propagandist. I can't be a propagandist. God, look at me. I'm a propagandist.