It’s been a long time since I blogged like I used to. It’s been a long time since I even thought that way.
When I was 16 I would be awake all night reading and writing and re-writing, trying to perfect my Bukowski vibe. I’d hit up Angelina, Pax, Bobby Skullbolt, Green Catfish. I listened to Saul Williams on repeat and tapped away for hours. My dad was in the other room creating an internet empire. School started 180 minutes after my bed time. I had a lot to say.
And then what? A split between the dark and the light. I got dragged outside. Girls, boys, beer, music. Friends. And then what? More nothing. I got shoved towards the middle. Straight line thinking. A to B. Direct. Grind. Grind. And then what?
Something. Something bad. Something gradual. Something insidious. I guess I stopped living like me. I walked away from art. Not in a pretentious way. In that other way. You know. I’m talking about the other kind of art. Where you feel like every minute is an event. Where you invest, daily. Where you follow yourself. Where you see yourself and you see other things and the seeing is what matters to you. That art. Well. I stopped seeing myself. I excised a lot of nothing. Like half of the planet, I can write one hell of a sentence when I want to – but about what? That’s the thing. The life thing. I held down the bluebird.
Thankfully, the truth will out, no matter what. There was just something in there that would not stop, would not shut up. It would not settle, and I could not settle. I got frenetic. Things broke free. I couldn’t put words to it but I tried everything – at the same goddam time. I could barely keep up with myself. I still get defensive about it; about the jumps and half-starts and changes. I point out all the reasons those things are okay, are good: mostly, that I don’t want to know just one thing in life. To have done just one thing. I tell people that. And I imagine my soliloquies, my grand stands, to and against so many unmet foes. I construct the logic. I know it’s tight. Winnable. But damn, why do I feel so defensive?
And then what? Now what? These little moments begin to peek in. These little slices of Old Me. Having something to say. Learning new things. Finding new truths. Revelations in the weirdest places. What’s the difference between me and some girl my age who grew up with a different mum? It’s standing in the corner of some fucking dirty Campbelltown warehouse and discussing our shared ambitions. The truth about opportunity and support and tax brackets and the future, right there. Felt, and finally understood. All I’m thinking is, fuck. Fuck. I’m sorry. Good luck.
Heavy stuff, and then silly stuff. Speaking meta-physically. Dreaming quantum physically. Smashed thought platters. Real brain mash-ups you just don’t tell anyone about because they’re so stupid. They always get you somewhere, though. Welcome back.
Anyway, here and now, that’s what. An earlier me, crawling home. I’m listening to Saul Williams on repeat and hitting my old spots. I’m feeling a little better, a little less foreign to myself. A little less defensive.
Because – and this is the truth, defensive or not – I don’t want to know just one thing. I don’t want to have just one root, one single line that can be traced backwards without detour.
I get to these places, these blog places, and I ask myself: What’s the truth? Say that. Tell the truth. I try to, but I’m never sure. I’ve always been afraid that I’m incurably full of shit. Like, I can’t trust my personal data. I don’t know why. I have theories. One is that I was too often told of my unrealised potential as a kid. I took it too far in, over-identified with it. The pathology of that idea explains practically everything.
If someone decides you’re smart, but underachieving, you are elevated to this special place for them. They treat you almost the same as if you were actually achieving – sometimes they treat you better. They smile at you in this way, and they say, “Look how well you’re doing now! If you’d just focus you’d be unstoppable! Exceptional!” and they tell other people how exceptional you’d be, and those people do the same. They all keep telling you that your perceived lack of effort is proof of your special intelligence. And once this is set up, you never have to try – your proposed potential does all the work for you. But eventually you have two thoughts, and they change you. 1) Am I really not trying? and, 2) I’m stuck. Because there’s this global story about you now, this mythology, and if you try and you are not exceptional then you’re what? And if you can’t try, how will you know if you’re already trying? So anyway, blah blah blah, 20 years pass and you still don’t know if you’ve got it or you’re just full of shit.
And, yeah. Who cares? That’s the middle class narrative, right? We all lived it. We’re all so full of potential. We’re all so frozen by it. I don’t remember why I mentioned it in the first place.
Hmm. What is the truth? Say that.
I still want to be a writer some day. There are caveats though. I’m not talking polished, employed, to order. I am talking me, circa 2004. Wild. Awful. Self-indulgent. Unreachable.
Not a human machine; a writer. Someone who did all this stuff and saw all this stuff and understood all this stuff and hung out in the corner of a warehouse and at the head of the boardroom and doesn’t speak the language and lived through the whole thing and prevented a minor tragedy and saved someone from fate and saved themselves from whatever. Yep. That’s the truth. And there is something deeper than my affects and uncertainties that helps me along, that clicks on and off when I’m making my plans. It is bullshit-free. It is trustworthy and wise. It is rage, misery, excitement. It has been patiently verballing me for years.. And now that I’m finally back on the path, I am getting that feeling again. The one I had when I stayed up all night devouring great words and great thoughts and listening to Saul Williams on repeat.