May Eight Nineteen

I’m doing it. I’m doing the work. I’m writing when I don’t want to write. I’m not saying what I want to say because I haven’t worked out what I want to say yet – let’s ignore the fact that I’ll only figure out what I want to say by actually saying it –

Fuck. Is that what I’m supposed to be doing here? Maybe I’m supposed to just keep writing stream of consciousness until it pops right out of my head. That’s how it works, right? You tickle the muse when it isn’t paying attention, and its laugh floods that empty queue in your head? Is that it? What the hell is the muse, anyway? I get this idea, and I get excited, and I rush to put it all down, but it’s just a fucking jumble. It’s just a fucking kernel of something, and there’s all this extra shit I have to go through to get it to function as an actual story. And then I get to work, because I’m still excited, and damn if it doesn’t feel good to be doing something I love to do. And then…

BAM! Dead end. A fucking wall out of nowhere, and it’s like… What now? This character isn’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. This story isn’t going where I thought it was going. So I start digging, because that’s what you do when you hit a wall, right? You dig a hole? And then I’m deep in this pit, and I realize, “You idiot, you were supposed to climb the fucking wall, not tunnel underneath!” So I start climbing… Well, fuck me if I don’t have to climb twice as far now that I’m in a fucking hole. But okay. fine. I did this to myself.

So I work and I work to get back to where I was so I can climb this fucking wall, right? I work and I work and I finally get back to solid ground, but wait… what the fuck? I’m in a completely different place now. None of this maps onto what I had laid out before. The wall is gone, and maybe that’s okay, but no… No, I wanted that wall. I miss that wall. I knew every fucking brick of that wall. Every pit in the mortar. Where’s my fucking wall?

I don’t know what else to say. I’ve done this process over and over and over again. Nine different stories all stacked up and waiting. All those walls I should have climbed but somehow managed to tunnel my way into alternate fucking universes that now have nothing to do with that first little nugget. I just wanted to write a story about a fucking robot, man. But what about everything that came before that fucking robot, man? I wanted to talk about my goddamn dog, but what about everything leading up to adopting my goddamn dog? What about all the other pets I’ve owned that informs how I treat the current one?

My father calls this “sequencing.” He tells me I come by it honestly – Hey, I know! Maybe I should write about his issues with sequencing as a way to understand my own! But where do I start? Where do I end it? The story isn’t over yet; the old man’s still kicking. How do I resolve anything? And is that what it takes for me to finish a fucking thought? The end of a fucking life? And is it his end or mine that I’m waiting on? Do I need to just write and write and write until all of my characters die of old age, or maybe I kill them so they’ll leave me the fuck alone?

GAH! This is the work. I fucking hate the work. I’m lazy. I’m too old to worry about any of this shit anymore. I should just give up and go live my life, only I’ve tried that over and over, too, and I keep ending up right back in this fucking chair. I keep forsaking everything and everyone because nothing matters like this matters – And I STILL can’t seem to get my shit together!

So I’m doing the work. I’m writing when I don’t want to be writing. I’d rather be watching tv and eating ice cream and jerking off and pretending that my life is a series of other people’s mistakes and I’ll never be the one to blame for anything at all and and and and…

And to you… You reading this, you’re making me feel guilty. One of two things will come from you reading this:

1- You’ll pity me. Maybe that pity will make you feel better about your own plight, and maybe I should be grateful that at least something comes form my torment. Well, fuck you. I don’t want your pity. Unless it’s in the form of cash. I’ll take cash. But if it’s just an encouraging word or that you can now sleep better knowing that someone’s got it worse than you… Fuck. You.

2- I’ll infect you. My angst and restlessness will follow you. It will burrow into your brain and make you question just what the hell you’re doing with your own time. Shouldn’t you be doing work, too? Shouldn’t you be wrestling with yourself? You took a break to read this, and now you should feel as guilty as I feel for wasting all these precious minutes spent writing this when I should be trying to figure out how to connect the coming era of neural implants to zombies in a western motif.

… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t yell at you. Could you tell I was yelling? I’m ranting and raving and yelling and calling you out on my own bullshit. I shouldn’t assume that I know how you’ll react. I shouldn’t assume that there are only two possibilities. But, I mean, c’mon. What other possibilities are there?

No, really. Comment and tell me.

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