Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Choosing Life

I've been conscious of my lack of productivity on the writing front lately. Haven't written a poem for so long I can't remember. And the last short story or novel attempt was a dog's age ago.

I want to get that back. I want to write. (What am I doing now?) It's been the mainstay of my life and the sinking post of my sanity since I was a wee nipper.

But it's complicated. I can't seem to write in Earls B, which is where I moved the Lookout when I finally accepted my relationship with you-know-who was over. The whole village became like the tomb I buried my old life in after that. I would lie in my flat in the dark remembering everything that had gone before and feeling like a dead man who had forgotten to fall down. "Walking through the leaves/ falling from the trees/ feeling like a stranger/ nobody sees," as Dylan says.

The continuity of my life in the world was interrupted. I went out to work--which any walking corpse can do--in fact, dead man status is a positive advantage in the workplace--but because everything good was over, everything precious lost, I never went anywhere when I was invited. Never did anything.I couldn't see the point; I had done it all before. And after a few months the people I knew, mystified by my unfriendly behaviour, stopped asking me out.

So I had no stimulus anymore. No inspiration. Nothing left to write about except the past. And without connection to the stimulus of the present, my memories became duller.Less a clear recall of past events and more a characterless, flavourless representation of something half-remembered, then reinvented by my turgid mind. I worked my memories over and over in the still air of my room until there was nothing left even of them.

So what do you write about when even your own memories seem worthless and uninteresting?

Things seem to be changing now. I made the decision a while ago that I would, as the old t-shirt slogan said, "choose life". I would move, as soon as my lease was up on the Earls B flat; I would come to town where the living were, and reconnect with the people and the opportunities I had turned my back on in my haste to get to the grave I thought I belonged in. And until I could move I would say yes when I was asked to go out, instead of no.

Invitations were slow in coming at first because I had said no so many times before. Nobody likes to be rejected. But once I had said yes a couple of times, the rate of invitations increased. Now I am going out again as frequently as I can afford to, like a living, feeling, breathing human being; and I am a lot happier, though I'm still--probably always will be--a tight bundle of anxiety and flat-out fear.

So the inspiration for writing should follow soon. I hope something good will come of it. I mean, other than the fact of having yet another shot at life and finding there is still some love and friendship out there for me, when I've done very little in this past year to deserve it.

Which will be a more than adequate return for me, actually, even if I never write another publishable poem.


Ralph Murre said...

At least you have the rare ability to stand back and have a long look at yourself. See your place in the picture. The writing will come, when it is time - and, as you know - there will be nothing you can do to stop it.

And please . . . don't ever consider that word "publishable".

- R.

All This Trouble... said...

I've taken my skeletons out of the closet so many times to "reflect" that I've gotten everyone's bones mixed up. It's a real big mess over here, Bruce.

I had to make new internet friends to get my mind off of it.I always enjoy the posts that help me see myself in you.