I suppose it was inevitable that I’d eventually come right out and pull a dick move on myself. I’m really good at them, and I know so many ways to piss myself off.
A few nights ago I made what seemed to be a very wise decision.
I was to quit writing and focus on what seemed far more important at the time– everything else. I am not even entirely sure what that meant, and how I could refocus creative energy outside of what I am doing now. I was getting to the point where I wanted to free my mind of the constant need to commit things to paper or text.
This was the result: My firepit filled with every notebook I could find, every scribble of a story, and all the writing from probably the last three years. A mistake? I thought so, at first. Now, I think it was probably the best thing I could have done for myself.
In those books sat a lot of awful things I thought about far too often. I filled them with great ideas, yes, but sometimes it was just a venting spot for all the stuff I could never find myself getting over.
Now, they’re gone. I intended to stop writing, ended up feeling more of a desire to do so, and removed unneeded stress from myself all at once. When I realized that I had done something I needed to do unintentionally, I was relieved. I spent perhaps only an hour upset with the loss. I don’t regret anything.
So, like most people, I found something different to do with myself this year. Instead of the usual ideas of quitting smoking or eating less, I’ll write more. I will stop keeping myself away from the situations I should be in in order to get it done properly. Needing to go out and find inspiration isn’t as dangerous to my lifestyle as I originally thought. There is so much I feel a need to say and do that denying it would be very cruel to myself. I have no right to do that to myself.
Just as much as I would hate it if someone held me back, why should I do it? I thought I was acting out of self-preservation in the burning of what seemed like an unhealthy desire. Losing something is a great way to learn the difference between a need and a want. I don’t want to write like I need to write. Not for anyone else, not for some weird desire to be seen around the world for some book I’ll never write.
Nah. It’s just there, sitting in my mind, ruling over me. I can’t quiet it, and I shouldn’t have a desire to.
All of those little overlooked details belong to me for tomorrow’s writing. Every conversation I hear becomes part of me. I watch people interact and find a source for something new in it. Everyone is my muse, and I refuse to let that die off.
It would be too much to try and silence my own mind. I’d probably go mad (more than I already am?)
I’ve run out of excuses.
I even broke my own supposed end of writing mere hours after the fact, and this was the result of it.
It’s 5am. The 30th. Very close to New Year’s Eve. I’ve just come out of a cluster headache haze, making it the perfect time to sit and think.
I burned the notebooks yesterday. I had a plan, then.
I was told by someone once that you may have to pretend you never wrote before to learn how to do it all over again. I had no intention of writing again, though– which lasted less than 24 hours– since I was hit with a barrage of “WHAT THE FUCK MORON NO” messages from all sides.
Alright, I get it. I was an idiot.
It occurred to me that, despite my best interests, I can’t stop. My mind was writing for me the moment I decided I had to quit. I realized why a bit after: I am useless otherwise. Extremely.
Not in that I can’t work or breathe or walk or shit.
I can certainly keep those things going.
I’m not myself without it. I don’t care if it doesn’t always make sense, or if my sentence structure doesn’t fit perfectly, or even if the subject matter is nothing anyone cares to read. I do, and that’s why I started in the first place. It is as much a part of me as thinking. I felt liberated at the idea of stopping, but I quickly realized that liberation fed straight to a void.
My ultimate partner in all things writing is gone. His creator is, too. Yet still he pesters me relentlessly, just as he used to between 2 and 5 am when neither of us could sleep. We passed the time playing Wordscraper and bullshitting, often just needing to vent. It would turn to writing on a regular basis, as that was his sort of thing.
All the little trivial things I tried to ignore– nope, parts of a story. He’d insist.
It’s his fault I can’t stop. I can truly blame him for getting me out of a rut where I refused to believe my writing was going to do anything for me. He is at fault for being the ultimate mentor and even the occasional muse. He is the reason I am a ruined person– in the best possible ways. It took having it utterly beaten into me for the truth of it to sink in.
I blame him, and it’s wonderful.
He’s gone, but not really. It’s like a replaying audio file stuck in my head.
“You’re a writer, so act like it.”
“I bet I have more empty notebooks than you.”
The list goes on, because he could talk. A lot, and then some.
I spent nights proofreading. Debating. Cursing. Not my own things, but his. I helped to go over student papers when he felt like his mind had exploded. Thinking on all of this made me go over other memories, mostly recent ones.
I realized something.
This year brought forth so many odd turns and alterations, things falling apart and perfectly falling into place.
I aided some in betterment, probably led a few to damnation.
I managed to marry someone terribly beautiful and intelligent.
I traveled up the country to see the most amazing people in the world.
I stuck by my morals and self-preservation abilities to a fault.
I watched as people suffered, wishing I could do more.
I lost and won and failed and got my ass back up again.
All of this caused by pointless decisions of mine or others that didn’t matter at the time.
Every. Single. Little. Damn. Thing.
All of the life events you wish didn’t happen, wish could happen again, wish for them to disappear– they happened. If not to me, to someone close enough that I could feel it. Experience it by proxy.
Oddly enough, I can trace so much of it back to a few (seemingly) small decisions I made along the way.
Seeing how those events intertwine and undulate along through time to create where we are now astounds me.
I am not the kind to pray, but I pray to never lose my memory, so that I can always recall how I shape my own world through every single step. I watch people enough to see how they got there, too.
In the last few years, a five minute decision to take a weekend trip gave me a husband.
One poor choice of food landed me in the hospital in time to walk out hours before my friend never did.
One conversation cost me a friendship, and they still don’t know it.
One thought caused me to question everything I know, but especially what I don’t know, reshaping my mind.
One person moving across the country gave me peace.
One person moving across the country destroyed my peace.
One idea became a life goal.
Deciding to talk to someone I always intended to but never had the chance to led me into cultivating a relationship for them.
One person I’ve met but once changed how I view myself completely.
All the small, supposedly benign things that people overlook are more important than we give them credit for.
That stupid thing I said could come back in five years. Ten.
One false move, or one wise move, can make or break everything.
2012 is rapidly approaching me. Us. Everyone.
I decided I can:
Consider those steps. Rationalize them. Forget rationality, throw it away. Do what feels good. Rationalize them again.
Agonize over it, every single thing. Every detail. Feel miserable. Get emotional. Never do anything.
Know that each and every minute detail makes a difference at some point. From the food you eat now to where you go to buy that shirt, it can do something to you. For you… or maybe even against you. Think, but don’t stop.
Never stop. When life becomes to terrifying to try something new, it’s lost the magic. Bad things happen, and always will. You can’t know what they’ll be until you get there.
Don’t let the horrible things fool you. There’s a fine chance that the risk you’re afraid to take might be the best thing you’ve ever done. Maybe it’s the worst for a while. It doesn’t matter. It all leads somewhere, and that place is filled with options. Even the threat of death.
It’s cold out here, so early. Quiet. In my head I am holding court with a dead man, and still his advice stands strong. I think of what I never would have had if I never took those carefully executed, or hastily thrown together, risks.
If not for myself, but for those that rely on me in some way, I’ll keep listening to those mental recordings.
There’s no longer room for the what if or fear of getting in too deep.
I accept my little details, from their inception to the moment they change my life.
I am a writer, good or bad.
I am myself, good or bad.
This last year tried to take that from me.
This new year I’ll take for myself, for those I love, and for what I believe in.
All because I listened to one man living only among memories.
I’m glad I only lost myself for a short time.