|Nearly 7 Days as of the Beginning
||[Jul. 31st, 2009|12:44 am]
I’ve wanted nothing more than a career in writing for as long as I can remember. Even back in the day when I thought I’d write novels about tragic teenage love it was the only thing I could seriously contemplate doing. It is quite simple, I love thinking about new and old things, I love debating with myself and I love writing. I love the thrill of my fingers tapping on my laptop and the odd sentence coming out that makes me flush with pride. I hate the feeling immediately after anyone else reads something of mine; suddenly I feel such a fool. I feel I have mistakenly shown them my insipid pre-teen diaries and my face burns red with embarrassment. I re-read everything a hundred times, I find every flaw and then I find the bright spots and try to take comfort in those. If I feel it is especially bad I simply try to forget it exists and quickly change the subject if that particular piece is brought up.
Writing in a public way has come on to me gradually, introduced gently with forums and then by gate-crashing Independent Minds. Suddenly I had some confidence, I had some purpose. I wasn’t the best or even amongst the second best but I was good enough to receive compliments and interest from total strangers. I was good enough to not be laughed off.
I am as a person a strange mix of an open and a closed book. In conversation I am candid and prone to laughing at myself but in reality I feel very isolated, as if I could speak all day and no one in the room would know me any the better for it. Followed by that feeling is one of misplaced ego, as if I should be ashamed for even contemplating a room full of individuals would want to know me any better. All I know is that I wake up feeling separate and I fall asleep feeling separate, and I am bound by duty and love to remain where I am. I will never know if where I am is the happiest place I could have possibly been because I will never be anywhere else. It is as Pangloss constantly and idiotically (or wisely?) says in Candide “it is all for the best for we are in the best of all possible worlds.” And as Voltaire concludes “We must cultivate our garden.” To put it simply I am here because it is where I am. The matter of choice or preference is irrelevant and moot. I believe there is a point in life where if you are a certain type of person you will never backtrack, and you waste no time asking yourself if you are happy because you know the answer means nothing. That is not to say I do not madly and truly love my friends and family, and many aspects of my life. I am wise enough to understand exactly how lucky I am, and never lose sight of it. But sometimes, yes I want to break out of the garden fenced in around me and experience that which is not of this world.
Writing gives me as much of that as I can hope to achieve within my limitations. Going on a trip around the world or even for that matter simply fifteen minutes away to Colchester is usually impossible. Changing levels of wealth, educational opportunities etc or indeed acquiring a time machine are substantially less likely. I am where I am, I am who I am and I could be no other way, although a billion tiny choices could have made me someone else. Another surname, another country, maybe even another religion. I am confident that in all of those lives I would have been more uncomfortable than I am now which sometimes has to be enough. At any rate when I write I feel more myself, more connected to the world around me. My brain has whispery little tendrils climbing out of it plugging in to the greater human consciousness that is something, and suddenly I feel clarity. Irrespective of whether or not I manage to convey it, to me, the sense of it is enough. I have a gorgeous light feeling of floating above it all, understanding and perceiving but apart. Then suddenly I feel deeply, sensually within the matter, as if the words are like sounds; three dimensional objects which are buffeting me on all sides. It is involvement and detachment all in one great push and pull; dragging me around a world I can dominate because I have the power to think about anything I choose.
I resent the fact that most respected writers must be educationally qualified and grammatically correct. Money and time buy that kind of ability; training, teaching and experience at the elbows of others lend it polish. I resent the lack of knowledge I have, that I speak no language but English, that I stutter when I get very nervous and that I routinely allow myself to forget the social credit rating I am lumbered with. Most of all I hate the sickening feeling that the real reason I have no career in writing is that I write nothing of any worth. I make no secret of it that I want money for writing but I don’t want more than I deserve and I don’t want it just to make life easier. I want it because if someone pays me to write for them that means they choose me; that I have something good enough to sell. The money is the necessary by-product of the true emotional victory.
Irrespective of where it comes from I do require money and have cleverly managed to find it in selling newspapers. However it is not in the art of captivating readers but rather in the method of scanning barcodes and exchanging pleasantries with customers at my local convenience shop. Make no mistake, I love this job. The hours suit me to a “T” and the people are beyond lovely. Even the people I can not in any way relate to give me so much to think about that by the end of my four hour shift I feel as if I have nibbled at a selection tray of humanity. I get to laugh at silly things and experience the thrill of not controlling my environment. I even have a superstition I obsessively cling to, at the end of each night it must be me who bundles all the unsold newspapers up and leaves them outside the door for the distribution man to collect in the morning. Not only do I get the chance to read the headlines but I get to caress or bury each one depending on its merit. I simultaneously infuse it with Essence of Me so that when it travels its circuitous route back to the centre it will pass a quiet message along through all the other papers waiting to be sent out, through the men who bundle them up, through the printing presses, through the writers and in to the Editor’s office. There it will possess him or her to employ me, rather like a gas bomb that induces decisions made in my favour.
Sadly this new job of mine leaves me far less time to write for pleasure, as the title of this piece alludes to. Now I wake at 7am, care for Alex the whole day without a break, Matthew comes home at 5:30 and I am at work for 6. There I am until 10 when I come home and do such trivial things as banking and daydreaming about a posh hybrid bike until I fall into an exhausted sleep any time from 11:30 to 3 am. Then it starts all over again and I find the idea of sitting down to write doesn’t fill me with excitement but rather dread that I am too mind numbingly tired to think of anything but reciting my ABC’s. What would have taken me a day will now take me 3 and even then it is likely to be more rushed and disjointed than I’d like. And so I wonder if this is the way dreams go, bowing and scraping before reality, crumbling into self indulgent ramblings when I would be better served getting some sleep, ready for the next day ahead of me.