[ Eluard: But what does it all mean?
Jean-Michel: Oh you hopeless bastard!
– p. 321, A. F. Ricard, Plays That Never Happened]
It is a question unto myself: now that I do not feel the acute need to write anything non-fictional, am I free to write anything else? Will I be ceased by a poetic impulse? By a wish to do experimental damage to the English language, to stress-test it against lyrical, semantic abuse? The answer is an indifferent no. A no that consists of two letters and two letters only, an N and an O, one shaped like a fallen Z, the other like a perfectly opened mouth or blackhole or re∞†um. Signifying denial, negativity.
For ten or eleven days I’ve been on holiday now. Remove the i-ay and you get the idea. Hold. I’ve had time away from the obligation of becoming a productive, diplomaed member or society. The cog metaphor comes to mind. Of once again entering within the productive embrace of its membrane. At what point does a metaphor stand a chance of becoming totally real? Only language and reality can properly resolve this question.
In this time I haven’t blogged much, that is, I haven’t written any notable amount of non-fiction. I have had time to realize that writing to me, even if I won’t acknowledge it, is after all the outpouring of mental energies. Shaping them into a humanly if not necessarily intellectually recognizable structure. Like the young human being: “Look here, I have created something. I have made stinky-dink. Applaud me, give me a food pellet. And a nipple to suck, not that I’m precocious or anything.” I am as pathetic a symbolic animal as anybody else too. Only that twittering and status updates don’t quite provide me with the fix I crave.
What crave I anyway? Talent is worth very little to nothing, persistence the remaining very much to everything. It is my luck or downfall that I am not blessed with either one. I make a few strides and then come to a halt, look back, unable to tell if I just started, am in the thick middle of something or am coming to the relief of an end.
I am interested in beginnings, happy sorties that patter out at the first signs of my losing interest, resistance, whatever made the French crumble like Meringue when the Nazis came knocking from up north. The first five kilometers of territory are interesting to me, all the things that go into establishing a rhythm but then it inevitably gets boring. Boredom. As far as I can tell this is generally considered bad. Things are supposed to be carried out to the bitter end, to be seen through, one must finish what one has begun even if it’s a gigantic load of crap [see Hitler’s enterprise]. This might be mostly right, but only mostly.
I’ve now finally given myself the latitude of discontinuing certain things that are simply not worth their while in wool; in which the end will only be pursued as an end, as a fake-hearted teleology, not as a meaningful point of termination/closure/resolution. Above all, I mean books and movies. For example: I started Embassytown [by Mieville, god forgive him] but after two hundred pages I’m not getting an urgent enough sense that the narrative is going to once again pass through worthy places, nor are the language or concepts intriguing enough to keep me wanting to spend firepower. I’m forsaking this text in the cold of unreadenness, I’m afraid, without a bad conscience. Nor did I finish Black Man [by Morgan whose writing I otherwise wolf down with zest] because it continued beyond its “natural” life span and became, as one would expect, a zombie: wooden, foul-reeking, toolish. What else did I leave incompleted? I watched that British spy-movie by LeCarre to the flaccid finish only because social etiquette demanded it but my mind walked out twenty minutes early: early 70s UK is not per se a stimulating thing to look at for two-plus-hours, nor is Oldman’s uncharacteristically anemic acting. Word to the wise and any potential movie-goer.
I, in a certain disagreeable way, haven’t finished off my obligations in regards to December’s wedding, that is, I’m still to type up the speech. This I fully plan to do but it’s an example of my recent intermination. The unfinished cup of coffee with its remaining two gulps, the three-fifth’s delected chocolate crumbled to mid-bar, the thought that trails off into an unmeditated gaze at the hotel across the street it’s all a sign of my who-knows-what. Bottles of unfinished water stand about.
There’s a notable absence, shimmering almost. The will not to have any particular will. Not to write, though I’m writing. Why write? Not to have written but to be writing, to do it here and now. The will not to write. The not-will. Not even really indecision, only that dreamy-floaty feeling of not having any pressing obligations to take care of. To do nothing. To achieve nothing. To sit in a cocoon of books and DVDs and workout equipment to achieve what is perceived as stasis. Winter is not yet over and it is not yet spring. The term has not begun yet. The will to wait.
I could perhaps blame the carnival: blaring trumpets, trombones, clarinets and skull-thumping drums. Carnival as the inversion of order? Never, too neat and contained and predictable, too disgustingly ritual. Now everybody a little some and act like they’re a bit crazy, cajole, live some, see if there’s a self that has not been battered beyond repair, if so, let it come out and play. Fasnacht smashed away for days the possibility of moving ahead with a clear thought.
Never mind writing one down, then another one and another one and so forth to a slapdash draft’s end, go back, revise as though it made any difference, revise again because it didn’t seem to, ultimately splice together something like a text, a genetically badly mutated sentence. A drooling sentence with too many limbs and rolling eyes, mouthing incomprehensible gibberish. A sentence starting but then not going anywhere, unwilling, waiting. If I will: A hopeful monster.
For a change then, let me end on the right word: bitter.