Thursday, August 28, 2008

quit having illegitimate babies...

There is a significant area of my life and brain power that is constantly working in attempt to attain something that will forever be unattainable. An old friend of mine, Taylor (the male one), once read a quote from a book to me, as a bit of advice. He said this:

"Quit looking at symbols.
Go out and get a job.
Quit shooting each other.
Quit having illegitimate babies."

Now, the part that was intended as advice was, obviously, the first two lines. But we both liked the entire excerpt, and as such I include it here. What he was telling me, as one history major to another, was to get my head out of the bloody clouds and do something practical. This permanent state of chase that I find myself long ensconced in is very much fanciful. As I say many times, over and over, I was born seven years behind. That's a huge head start that my goal had on me. Unreachable really. As a result of my constant attempts to reach something far beyond my years or myself is what you have now. A girl who knows beyond herself. Eyes that are opened beyond the usual plane of perceptions, and ears that are listening for what remains unsaid. It is only possible to hear as much as you are looking for. If, and when, you open your senses to an infinite plane of possibilities it is likely that you will begin get infinite responses in return. As such, I am far more perceptive than the average person. There are seldom things that escape my attention. I've trained myself that way. The level of conversation I am capable of holding is beyond my years as well, because I constantly and consistently aspired to a level far beyond me, and often did quite well.

Despite all of this, I do make mistakes on frequent occasion. These mistakes are usually grievous in degree because they come to fruition as a result of my ego. As much as I see, I am also blind. My sense of self-importance buts blinders on my vision, and though I notice things, I often misinterpret them. So, what Taylor was telling me was to come back down to earth so that even though I may lose sight of some things (my fancy and my creativity for example) at least I'd be able to objectively interpret those things I did see.

I didn't listen. And thank goodness as well. These last months since that advice was given to me have included some of my most grievous mistakes that could have been avoided. But they also harkened the creation of some of my best creative work in my life. From my writing, to my drawing, to my performances, and even to my research, my ability to open my mind beyond the plane that my physical body resides in has given birth to amazing possibilities. I took those possibilities, nurtured them, watched them grow, and sent them on their way, as all parents are ought to do. I shaped them and gave them form, but beyond that they are not mine. They came to me in their entirety, and I turned them into something that this world could see, hear, read, and understand. In a way I feel excited, as that makes me something of a conduit for this kind of creative energy; and as parents are proud of their children's achievements, so I am proud of these creations.

My paintbrush has painted the way my skin feels when I think about some of my memories. Dead and cold. The lack of warmth and the desolation I feel sometimes. But it has also painted the brightness in eyes that are not my own. The happiness brought on by the simplest of acts and moments. From the very best to the worst, my brush has been there and reminds me every day why I wake up in the morning again. My pencil has sketched the lines of the people whose faces refuse to leave my mind. It traces the edges of the lips I have kissed and laments sadly on how some of them are lost to the person who holds the pencil now. The whiteness of the teeth that nipped my skin, and the curves of their fingers that once ran through my hair. My charcoal, smudged across my skin and the paper recalls the softness of the skin and hair that I myself touched. The charcoal on the paper and on my own skin brings the moment back one more time. My pen writes the words I never knew my mind had the capacity to even think. The kinds of darkness' that I refused to see for so very long. But given voice, those same blackness' make themselves beautiful. The kind of sombra that I usually spend my days looking over my shoulder for, comforted by it's strangely ominous presence. Peter Pan did not miss his own shadow until it was gone. I will not make that same mistake. It is a comfort in odd moments, its 2-dimensional actions mirroring mine at the oddest of angles and perspectives. The eclipse that falls over my own eyes as my hair sneaks free of its restraint and makes itself known over my face. My pen hears all of these calls and gives them the words to speak for themselves. And so those same shadows, darkness', sombra, and eclipses are given their own moments to shine (even though they cannot, in fact, give light as that would destroy them entirely) so that the world might see them and acknowledge them.

If my head were not so far beyond this physical world, these things would remain elusive to me. I would not know in fact how very much I miss the characters that are now written on my page. For they are all people, and the things that these characters do are things that these very same people have done. I would not know how deeply I had fallen in love with the one now called 'Tony', and I would also not know that I am in fact, also 'Tony' myself. There is something almost sordid about that arrangement. For my 'Tony' is in fact a real person separate from myself. And I did, indeed, fall for him. Tony in my writing reacts much the same way that the one in real life did. but at the same time, I am very much Tony, and as he goes along with his life I realize that I not only fell in love with another person, but also with myself. And, more importantly, I fell in love with the person that this person saw me to be. It's a sort of menage a trois, in which I am in love with two people, one of which who does not return the sentiment, another who does, but that one who does is in fact myself.

So, by having my head in the clouds I have been able to distance myself from the very personal situations I have created for myself. As I analyze these things more and more patterns creep up that I don't exactly want to see. I recognize pattern and theme in everything. Even in myself and my life, in the places and way that I don't want to see them. The patterns of what I allow others to do to me. How I allow them to use me, is not just scary, it's downright sinister in it's very nature. So the dreams that haunt my mind's eye at night when I really sleep for the first time in weeks are faces that I've seen before, and faces that I hoped I would never see again. But I do, when I close my eyes at night to sleep, I dream, and I dream of things that I wish would leave me. They do not. They have something they need to tell me in these moments, and I have not yet made myself ready to hear them. I'm not so sure there will be any peace until I do.

There are two sides of me debating at this moment. The first is my so-called practical side. The side that tells me that I should just deal with it, all at once. Rip the band-aid off, if you will. This is also the side that very nearly demands me to talk to people about everything, that tells me to "go get help." What does that mean anyway! Go get help? I'm not dying, well except for my incurable condition called life. And life itself is enough of condition to drive anyone insane.

The other side of me wants to patiently wait it all out. Take the dreams as they come and let them do their job. You do not interrupt a play and ask the actors to move straight to the end, you let them go through the scenes and acts and then it comes to you in a more complete picture than if it had been handed to you in the first place. This fanciful side believes the need to feel the process completely and encourages me to give voice to the despair of it in my creative endeavors, let myself feel the pain and sadness of it, because that itself might be the message. The strength can only come from the effort and pain of the experience. It can't just be given. Unless I use steroids, and I know that's not really a real option.

I feel powerless as this experience as this tragic journey has its way with me, for none of it really seems to be in my hands anymore, but if I could control it, it wouldn't be the same at all; and that would be a shame.

So, the only advice my twins can seem to agree on is this:

Fight the dream
Take back the right to dream
Fight the dream so that you may take back the RIGHT to dream
And with that, you may one day earn the right to live again

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

what is the good of your writing?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Siobhan has joined the blog-o-sphere. This is due, in part, to a sort of promise I made to three of my oldest friends. Amanda, Jaki, Saleema, this is for you. Well, let's be perfectly honest here. It is also for me. But, I'm sure you three knew that already. So, with just 6 days left until I venture back to campus in pursuit of higher learning, I begin this adventure. The goal here, in truth, is really to keep those of you who I do not see or speak to on a daily basis updated on my life. So, it is sort of a time saver all around. I hope. Or a time waster depending on how I use it.

I give you a quote as something to ponder, as my friend Sean gave it to me the other day, as it (apparently) made him think of me and my writing:

"Thus, though we do not know what Shakespeare went through when he wrote LEAR, we do know what Carlyle went through when he wrote the FRENCH REVOLUTION; what Flaubert went through when he wrote MADAME BOVARY; what KEATS was going through when he tried to write poetry against the coming of death and the indifference of the world.
. . .
And one gathers from this enormous modern literature of confession and self-analysis that to write a work of genius is almost always a feat of prodigious difficulty. Everything is against the likelihood that it will come from the writer's mind whole and entire. Generally material circumstances are against it. Dogs will bark; people will interrupt; money must be made; health will break down. Further, accentuating all these difficulties and making them harder to bear is the world's notorious indifference. It does not ask people to write poems and novels and histories; it does not need them.
. . .
The world did not say to her as it said to them, 'Write if you choose; it makes no difference to me.' The world said with a guffaw, 'Write? What's the good of your writing?'

What struck me most perhaps about this passage, especially in relation to me and my writing, is the sheer indifference of it. It speaks so painfully about what a writer must go through in order to create something of this nature, and then tells them that it will merely be dismissed. Writers, unlike many other professions in this world, do not give the world or people something that they need. Sometimes it does not even give them something that they will want. But writers GIVE. And many writers give without much expectation of return. The process of writing, especially about something real and consuming, is a path I am just setting down myself, and finding to be dark and full of twists and turns.

Because what I am writing now is, at its base, about and obsession with the inevitability of death and they ways the world relates to that, we can see parallels with Keats' work and what he went through. Obviously, I am not comparing myself to Keats in the sense that I am at his level, but rather to say, I think I now understand how writers and painters and actors can get so lost in their work that they lose themselves. I feel compelled, at this juncture, to bring up Heath Ledger, who was told by an old actor of the Joker, that it was not a role to be taken lightly. It gets to people, is what he was told. And whether it got to him or not we may never really know, but there are connections to be drawn. Losing oneself in something so completely is dangerous. VERY dangerous.

Now, whether my darker introspection of myself and this world is actually related to the experience of writing what I am is somewhat irrelevant at this point. The fact is, I'm writing this work, and I have found myself becoming more introspective, intuitive, and a little morbid if truth be told.

But ultimately, as all things eventually are, it is in my hands and in my control. I've got the reins to stop or start or turn this horse where it will. Truth be told, I kind of like this adventure. It's not that I like being lost in the woods, it's just that the woods are the only place I can see a clear path.