Writing for me is not a task, a chore, a verb. It is an animal inside my being and scurries and scatters, digs and climbs, uncovering emotions, burying thoughts. It lays dormant for hours, months, long winters of internal time. It wakes slowly, stirs, tries to find a way out here or there. I fight against it. External time has constraints. I feel compelled to keep the animal in stasis from guilt. There are things to be done. What things? It doesn’t matter. It’s the doing that matters. Do things. Do more things. Can’t writing be a thing that you do? No. Because. Or when acceptance has finally been come around to by force or pain, the animal scraping and digging fiercely for escape, for breath and the guilt of occupation has been won over there still remains stifling obligations. There is the subject matter to consider and the audience. You should apply yourself to writing about x or y or z not n! and may all social constructs forbid that your composition be addressed explicitly or implicitly to p or q. Much safer to broadcast to the set of m=[a, a+1,…h]. But it doesn’t take much to trace this back into the former guilt of a thing to be done. This is writing as a verb. A verb is not wrenching my insides out in the panic of a dark tomb.
The current dilemma is one of theme. Squalor. I question myself. Why do you choose the dismal? Or let me be more clear, why do you choose the dismal when your life is so obviously and clearly on the upswing? Is it healthy? What with this or that human think? What do you know of fetid existence really? What right do you have to speak towards such things?
I imagine the slant towards the miserable has something to do with the most recent selections in reading material. Whether up beat or beaten down the backdrop of my most recently visited fictional worlds have been painted in hues of grey, brown, poverty, sickness, pain and steely blue. I recognize also that the atmosphere of any selected story, place or occurrence trapped by the strokes of a pen will be colored intimately by the specific pile of words wrestled into the line of a sentence. A sewer filled with vagabonds and ruffians can be papered over with the warm and festive feel of a fair just as halls lined with gold and silver gilt can be transformed into a prison given the appropriate cadence and tense. The written word is dangerous and powerful.
However, my literary intake can only account for so much of the shift towards stagnant puddles in my mind. No, I have become convinced that the largest compulsion comes from the hours I’ve been awake, the flavors of the company I have spent my time with, and the shades and tones of the building in which most of my conscious time has played out. Nocturnal. Police. Emergency Center. Dispatch.
Over and again the questioning of my obligation to write or not write this or that phrase. By what right? I feel the claws sink deeper into the unprotected internal flesh.
I suppose that the best writers of fiction are in fact the best liars and they are the best liars because they approximate most accurately the elusive phantom of truth. So it goes.
I crack open the den. I write.