Monday, July 16, 2012

The one thing I always return to

I have mentioned a couple of times before that I have been going through my old journals; re-reading them before running them five pages at a time through the household shredder.

(As a side note, I really hate the person I was in 1997. If I knew you back then, I am so sorry. Really, I was spaz-tastic.)

(As a secondary side note, if you knew me in 1997 and your name is Virgil, I really am sorry... but upon further reading, you might have had it coming. Just sayin'.)

But I digress.

What comes out loud and clear in my journals of the late 1990s is one thing:

I found solace in barfing the contents of my brain onto the pages of an 8.5"x11" spiral-bound notebook. I found so much solace in this I would easily fill 5 to 10 pages a day of worries, obsessions, ideas, plans, hopes and fears. On and on, for pages and pages, trying desperately to figure out what was wrong with me, why the gods weren't helping me (I fancied myself a pagan in those days) and why, oh why, was I not writing my book or finishing my screenplay when I was practising writing every single day by belching out these  worries, obsessions, ideas, plans, hopes and fears. After I did that, the words of my master work should just come pouring from my soul into my fingers and onto the page via keyboard or pen.

That's what the purveyors and evangelists of the spiritual practice of being an artist had told me would happen. It would all just come out as I got out of god's way.

That never happened. My screenplay still sits as a first draft treatment, complete with sound track and Oscar acceptance speech, in a manilla 10"x13" envelope in my box of journals, really bad poetry, and first chapters of no less than three books that I can remember. There may be more.

In the past few days I have been introduced to the idea of never writing without a purpose. If the words aren't coming for my memoir project, then I switch to writing a blog post. If neither of those are working out, I'll grab a Red Writing Hood prompt from Write on Edge or I will write about the topic of the day from the book A Year of Writing Dangerously or write what I remember about an event that happened on this day in history.

And I'll save what I write for some future time when it is useful as a blog post or it fits in with the memoir work I am doing. (And I am doing it, 30 minutes to an hour a day, and I will get that mutherfucking thing DONE.)

My worldview has changed A LOT in 15 years. I no longer believe that writing is a spiritual path to god, but I am starting to believe that it might be a calling. A vocation, even.

I'm not convinced it is my calling, but it is definitely someone's. "Finding my passion" seems like such a crock of self-delusional shit for the privileged white person that I dare not involve myself in discussions about it.

But I do think it's (not ha-ha) funny that I always end up back here at the keyboard or at the blank page with pen in hand, trying to write something that is less shitty than the last thing I wrote.

(Booyah, monsters. 498 to go.)

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