Wednesday, September 22, 2004

My art. My life…

Last night, Vicky was in a foul temper. At least, it seemed that she was from my perspective. To her, she was simply focused. She was trying to get through more boxes.

We're nearly done.

She told me, "That's just how I get when I have something I need to get done. I'm focused in on it. I'm sure you'll be the same way once you start writing."

"No, I won't," I replied.

"Yes. You will."

I said, though I don't think she heard me, "I've already started."

Either she didn't hear me or she chose not to reply. I mean, what a bizarre response! I found it bizarre even as I said it! I've already started? When? Started what? I spent most of the night thinking about this and wondering at how sometimes you speak the truth without knowing you're doing it. Then, last night I got up at 2am for a couple of hours and thought about it, thought about suicide, thought about the changes going on within me… and then I thought about all of that on the way into work, thinking I'd write it all down once I got in, which is what I'm doing.

Thinking, "Vicky will read all about it later", got a laugh out of me. Only a few months into the relationship, I'm already getting that vibe off of Vicky that says, "Oh my god, you wrote again! Don't you ever shut up?!" Name your art - painting, writing, stand-up comedy - and it's a form of self-expression. The fun of being in that relationship is that you're always expressed to! A couple years from now, I'm going to find Vicky at a bar with Rosa, trying to make an exchange!

How does one start to write before one writes? And how can I be writing something I don't know how to write before I even start thinking about, outlining, or joke-writing for the thing I guess I'm going to write?! And "thing" it is. It has no form, no substance, not even in my head! So, how can I be writing it?

In Buddhist philosophy, there's a concept which I vaguely recall named the "Aggregates of Self". The idea is that if you remove these aggregates, which are not your "self", you find that there is no "self". The first is matter or body. Are you your body or is there more there? Second is Sensation. You are more than you feel. Third is Perception. You certainly are more than just what you perceive. Fourth, mental formations or thoughts. If you quiet your mind, you're still there - so that's not the self. The fifth aggregate is Consciousness, which goes away when you sleep, so…

Some say the body is the fuel of life and it gets used up by the time you die… which explains why it looks so bad at the end… So, are you the fuel? Or are you the fire that consumes the fuel?

This morning, sitting there in the dark, I thought of my writing (which is the verb, not the noun) in a similar way. How do I write? With my hands? No, most of it is in my head. With my brain, then? I used to think so but so much tends to open up for me, be revealed to me, these days, I don't need to think about it. And on and on I go, eliminating sources and considerations until I'm left with the thought that I write with my entirety. Every part of me contributes to what I write. My writing isn't a thing but, rather, a fire that burns… and sometimes it burns brightly, such as right now.

I started writing this suicide idea the minute it crossed my mind and was caught. Though it bothers me, there it is. And it bothers me for reasons both internal and external. Let's hit the external one first. Basically, I don't want to go to a place where, if I write about suicide, people are going to think I want to commit suicide. Do people who write about WWII, want to go to WWII? Do people who write about vulcanology want to be inside an volcano??? See, it's a very irritating thought!

As for what's going on inside… I can't even begin to explain. Some of it's going on too far within. I can't get down that far.

First thing is, let's be real, I've got this beautiful woman with whom I've very much in love (we're talking about Vicky here) and I really don't want to be in a mental place that doesn't help that. I don't want to be writing depressing stuff; I want to think happy! … But even as I write that, kicking and screaming like a child, I realize that it's too late. Welcome to "Now"!

The second reason it bothers me is because we're walking through really boggy ground, here. Let's ignore what could possibly happen after it is finished - if that ever happens at all! Considering only the next few months, my head's going to be flooded with the undead (more on that in a minute) and I won't be particularly impressive to any of Vicky's friends. "Hi. This is my fiancée, Ken. He's a writer." "Really? Wow. What do you write about?" "SUICIDE…" That's bound to break up any party. … Again, I want to write nice things. Happy things.

I want to write a freaking episode of "The Smurfs", okay?!

But I know that's not possible. If this thing wants out, it's coming out. (Assuming for a minute, this isn't just some mental construct to get me thinking on these issues. It's entirely possible another idea could come through later today. Flakey? Sure. But that's my head.)
So, let's dip a little into this brew, shall we?

Two guys on a bridge… ready to jump. Here's a little insight for you. At that minute, you've already been dead a long time. It's this feeling of being the walking dead, the undead (though without the regular thirst for human brains), that makes you want to do it to begin with. I know, when I went, it was to end all the pain, but whose to say some people don't do it for just the opposite reason: absence of feeling…

So, two guys on a bridge… ready to jump. One guy is filled with grief. The other feels nothing. One thing about feeling nothing, you get a lot of perspective… and that perspective could bring jokes.

Two guys on a bridge… ready to jump. One guy feels nothing - and comments on it. The other guy is filled with grief, so his jokes arise from frustration, sarcasm. They are both at different points in their life. At one time, the non-feeling guy felt things. In fact, you usually become unfeeling because you burn out, you withdraw from the fire of your life into a cold corner. So, let's say they're two years apart in emotional development. Mr. Grief-stricken will probably become Mr. Unfeeling, if he makes it that far.

Two guys on a bridge… ready to jump. One guy feels nothing - and comments on it. The other guy is filled with grief, so his jokes arise from frustration, sarcasm. They are both at different points in their life. … And what if they got there the same way??? Through - keeping in mind that this is a Ken La Salle play - the same woman??? And what if she came out to stop Mr. Grief-stricken… and finds Mr. Unfeeling there as well… And learning how she's hurt these guys, left a string of suicidal guys around the city, she decides to kill herself???

And that's called a play.

Incidentals such as what kinds of people these are, where they came from, where they're going, how they deal and respond… well, that I make up as I go. (Shhhh! Ancient Chinese Secret!!!!)
This all comes back to me and I see myself in relief. I see Ken Grief-stricken heading to the Grand Canyon. I'd given everything I had to Rosa and had been destroyed. I just wanted to end the pain. And now, here I am… two years later… and I can certainly feel Ken Unfeeling in there, a guy who has been hurt so bad it is a struggle to give to a relationship without holding something back for security, without flinching. Once bitten, twice paranoid. I'm even inside the woman, whatever her name will be, because I'm the force for change within me, even without willing it.

Mostly, I'm just tired.

And I haven't even started putting words on paper… or magnetic storage…

When will that begin? There's no way to say.

It would help if I had a cigarette...

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