Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What do I do when I'm not working? An innocuous question, to which my only feasible reply is invariably: Not a lot. I stress feasible rather than honest, because the truth is a little more complicated. It's true enough that a lot of my time is spent in pursuit of admittedly juvenile thrills, which have historical roots in my seeking to bleach out the once painful act of everyday living. But whatever little of it is spent productively - and there is a little of it, not none entirely - is in devotion to something immensely private. These writings for example have seen sufficient attention that by any reasonable definition, they would constitute something approaching a hobby. Yet there's precious little here that I can reasonably share with anyone I know in any personal capacity: the edges are too sharp, the references too oblique.

Where, I wonder, did those figs go? Once I had the thought of writing beautiful, universal words that would make up a rich tapestry of an inner life. I seem unable however to put my experiences in a language that anyone else can understand, or even cared to listen to. If I were forced to guess, I'd wager it's a simple consequence of my perennial sin of elevating my own consciousness above everyone else's. I can curse the words for ending up the way they have done; but at the same time, I can't quite conclude what I could have done differently. If the aim was to chronicle my true self, I think I've done a pretty good job.

I'll admit that maybe I spoke too soon about vanquishing vapid social norms. Pathetic though it may be (is), my recent surge of emotional interest is proof that part of me feels unfulfilled. Or could it be that part of me feels bored? In no small part, I suspect it comes out of just needing something to pass the time. And true enough, it is a largely harmless pastime in its current incarnation. The adverse effect that I see is simply that, should the day come when I decide that actually some norms are not worth fighting against, it further delays any genuine progression. That's a bridge that exists only hypothetically now, though.

Perhaps this is as good as I can hope for. For someone so resistant to change, working up the gall to even claim to have flipped a fundamental mental switch is something. And in a way, there are some positives to take out of this. The far more pernicious issue with my previous state was an entrapment in the past, which absolutely prohibited anything from the present to make its way through. That I should even find myself in this situation indicates that I'm not beyond being moved by something I see before me, no matter how perfunctory.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

He and She

I am lost in my own maze. It's possible that what I said was true, and that all I am doing is repaying a debt. A debt I created willingly, and am paying back most obtusely, but it remains a possibility nonetheless. The alternative is a possibility I shudder to consider, because it would imply that my is shame unbounded. But, as always, I have a feeling the most pathetic option is the most likely. Even I have to ask this time: what am I doing? Fortunately, this can only end with the last laugh being on me. Some things, no matter how vulnerable, can still be unattainable.

Our outing is set for the afternoon, but it's five past five and I'm up thinking about it. Morning rituals are replaced by a jittery blur, as I try to picture the scene in my mind. Several hours to go, and I still find time fixed on that hallowed hour. I iron my best shirt, and devote time to finding the best accompanying soundtrack. The last failed weekend of boredom and nihilism is a distant memory, and I'd almost say there's a spring in my step. I'm doing this because I want to help out someone who's feeling alone, I remember thinking. I couldn't have been more right.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I rebuffed their invite because I felt betrayed. By who, or what, I don't know. There's enough blame to go around, likely a lot of it to me (as always). Why do I turn my back on every olive branch sent my way? What, realistically, do I want out of them? An apology? A song of praise? Or maybe, a grand gesture, like calling the whole thing off. Perhaps I want them to admit, We can't possibly go on without you. Except, I know that'll never happen, because I know that's not true. It appeals to my vanity to imagine that I am the only thing standing between them and irrelevance, and that my absence will make them question whether they have let down. In truth, I imagine the show can and will go on without me, and be a splendid success. They will pay my absence as little notice as they do me, and who can blame them?

It was a big step for her to open up; never mind that I already knew her secret. Left alone with her quiet tragedy on another quiet evening, I wonder why I have to keep myself from smiling. I've mistaken a confession for closeness, no doubt. But even that granted, that I should derive pleasure from her sadness, however tangentially, makes me reflect how impossibly far I feel from most everyone around me. I'm ready to grab any hand in the darkness, be it from kindness or pity.

I'm alone this evening only because I let her secret hang in the air, slowly press down, and push me out. Before walking away, there was perhaps an opportunity to keep our brief candle alight a while longer. I think she's lonely - I know I am - so I should have asked her if she wanted to walk awhile, perhaps. It's not entirely implausible she would have agreed. But somehow, I sensed that she knows there are worse things than being alone, so I just left.

Why did she feel it the right moment to invite me into that private world? It is perhaps that I offered my plea first, conscious that it would encourage an unguarded moment or two. I held nothing back, and said my piece without a hint of self-pity. So calm was my acceptance of perpetual defeat, I doubt she had ever seen anyone quite so pathetic. Is that what it takes for me to seem human?

She ended with an admission of despair, meant perhaps to comfort me: I too wonder sometimes, she said, what am I doing here? I almost wanted her to say, I too wonder sometimes, what good am I? Only because I could then counter with a private truth of my own: People see no worth in you, but I do. But she held her composure, and the moment passed. It's just as well, because I don't know that I could have explained myself if pressed. Even if I could, why would she care to listen? Anyone can see her eyes are fixed elsewhere; anyone can see that I am blind.

I am also taken back to another who told me her secret. Then, like now, I knew that the beginning was also the end; then, like now, I had my sights already set on another city, another life. I have places to go, always, but never people. Only as the day fades can I make out where the light shines the brightest.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


So universally unwanted and cosmically crippled, the ground itself would reject my footsteps if I kept on walking. But I can come to a complete stop now, because there is no sense in going anywhere. The days are a waking nightmare spent sitting in a quiet corner, shunned by civilised company. The nights are spent sitting in a quieter corner, grasping for words to explain what it is I feel. But words crumble too in the face of the shadow I cast. All living things must die alone. And some must live alone too.

Friday, August 05, 2016


Can you make it one year without visiting that gaping hole that is open to any traveller, offering a room for a night that lasts a lifetime?