Why don’t you kill me?

19 06 2011

I am so tired of being a loser.

C. and I were at the end of our leisurely Red Hook/Gowanus ride and finishing our equally leisurely conversation in—yes—a leisurely manner. We had been discussing her novel* and her job and taking classes and the trail detoured into my life.

Which is when I burst out the above statement, along with complaints about being an underachieving dilettante and not extending myself or diving into anything which would  pull something out of me or committing myself, really, to anything.

And it’s so goddamned irritating, I ranted, that I make the same diagnosis over and over and over and still, here I am, grumpy and underachieving and uncommitted.

No, I’m not going to continue the rant, here; besides, you’ve heard it all before: I was stuck for twenty years between suicide and living and now I’m stuck in the not-knowing of living blah blah.

C. suggested that I just get out there and try different things, volunteer, anything to get myself moving and maybe, just maybe, involved. Sound advice, certainly, and nothing I haven’t told myself in previous go-arounds.

But it did occur to me, after we finally split, that I’ve got a real issue with trying to hoard time, so much so it interferes with the just-get-out-there approach: I don’t want to commit because what if I can’t follow through? I don’t want to be inconstant, so better not to be anything at all. What if I run out of time?

Nonsense, I know, at least in prosaic terms. I live in time and can no more grab hold of it than a fish can water. I can control my movements in time, but time itself? Nuh-uh.

Whether I can do anything with this elementary law of physics remains to be seen.

And there’s a flip side: Even as I am a physics-al being, I also know what it likes to live absent time. I’m not talking here of being ‘in the moment’ (although that’s nice when it happens, rare tho’ it is), but when I’m so involved in an activity that I have no consciousness of time.

Which brings me back to the beginning, and writing. C. mentioned that I seemed to be in a fictional frame of mind (oh, the meanings in that observation. . !), and I mentioned a story I had been turning over. I have characters, I said, but not much beyond that; I need to let this sit a bit, see what happens.

But then I noted that in between novel 1 and 2, I started another story, one which I might never get back to, and maybe this story is like that one: the one which prepares me for the next one.

And right then, I thought, Well, I’m not a loser dilettante when I’m writing; I just write.

Thus, that leisurely bike ride and leisurely conversation popped something loose: Start writing again, and the writing will come. Sketching out that story for C. helped me to see that that’s maybe all it will ever be, and that’s okay. Commit to the writing itself, just, just remember that I can commit to the work itself.

Something else will come; something else always comes.

~~~

*Hey, C. it occurred to me that you could work the slingshot into a joke: Your narrator could pick up a slingshot or having someone hand one to her and she could demur, muttering “Too Clan-of-the-Cave Bear.”

Anyway.


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4 responses

20 06 2011
dmf

for me the depressive-realism is grounded in the restless-anxiety and haunted by the phantasy of being fulfilled/completed but sadly Sartre was right that it is in our mortal commitments/project-tions that we can most reliably find moments of relief and sometimes even meaning.
To be free of such commitments/projects is to be in the ghosty limbo world.

20 06 2011
20 06 2011
Christine

I remind myself of the character(s) in my novel(s) sometimes: I have a personality, I have a setting, I have events, where’s my story? Where’s my arc?

Which reminds me in turn of something Big Pussy said to Christophah (on Sopranos) when he had the same complaint. “You know who had an arc? Noah.”

The arc is what happens while we’re busy doing other things. The time passes anyway; like you said, not doing things doesn’t make it not pass. This is why I’m going back to school even though I’ll probably be 50 before I finish. I’m going to be 50 anyway. Wouldn’t it be nice to have *something* to show for it by then?

dmf, you’re right. Depression keeps us in the ghost world, and the only way out is to force our way out through action. Even if it hurts.

Our conversation knocked something loose in me, too. I think I know what my character’s arc is, and why I’m writing the story. Yay. Now it’s all falling into place.

And re your suggestion: heh. 😛

21 06 2011
geekhiker

Something else may always come, but most of the time you have to go out and get it. At least, this is a philosophy I’ve been trying to teach myself, since I’ve usually found myself waiting for things that never come. That, though, seems to be my nature, and has been difficult to overcome. *sigh*

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