I am curious how you see things.
I could say that writing is often like manning the shutter valve on a high-pressure pipe. There never seems to be an end to the water that might gush out of it once it’s opened, but the ground outside only needs to be watered so much. I don’t know the exact amount, and so wait anxiously to discover when to shut the lock. But somehow (I can’t figure how it works) there is always the exact amount of water anyway, no matter what I “do.” In this somewhat pointless game, waged against myself, the trick is to turn the valve off right after the last drop drips out. Of course, the ground has been watered appropriately either way; but if you time it just right, you can almost succeed in convincing yourself you had something to do with it. This is the fragile moment of realization and consciousness: “I am doing this.” If you miss the mark, the whole thing looks like one big accident, one big beautiful accident. And after the water’s soaked in for a while, this always seems to be the unavoidable conclusion. I can’t expect it, but predict this to be true: the well will fill up again, I will irrigate another land. But still the sensation of being a part of it too often seems too feigned — a ruse of time, some game I played with myself to pretend I was involved. And yet somehow, the whole acreage went by my name.
Some people create a cozy nook to write in, or go by a schedule. I can’t imagine this. My greatest weakness is a lack of organization. Or rather, it is as if once the water has poured on to the plot, I have to take leave of it. Only in another spot can another well be divined (astoundingly, I show up again and again with ready hands). So I have to move around my house, mimicking the moves around myself. Anger — some remnant of human history — might take a hold of me, and have me running to rearrange various objects in the house. But there are too many and in frustration I’d like to crush something. I take myself aback. I blame the velocity of my contrary delights, as if there were a price to pay for seeing God. And you payed it by witnessing how much of a monster a human can be. Sensing our inner capability for strength. This frustration inevitably leads me to catch my reflection in a mirror. And the mystery of what I see casts me infinitely back into myself. I wander outside, visibly nobody anymore, muscle around like this for a few minutes like a child, take a few breaths. I remind myself that all of this is due to a lack of sleep. I end up reading, whatever that means. I spark up eventually and decide to share something. Another well has been echolocated in the dark, calling out to me and demanding to be declared and opened up. Something arrives, and then…… By the end the well’s abandoned, and you go on.
Personally, it’s almost impossible to write in a state of torture. I admit, I’ve done quite a bit of it, but have largely given up. I used to thrust myself randomly into foreign places, let my anxiety and paranoia surmount, sometimes aid the process with substances, and then scribble on the napkins at the table to alleviate what I had caused in myself. Somewhere in those foreign trashcans is some hack poetry, some elements of a theory I’ll be working on until my dying day, a theory of used tires and infinite nothings. Other days, most often, quietly and isolated, I’d tuck the terror neatly away in journals, letting the nothing test out its own waters. Letting my life unravel itself, to the point of no return, where — scary — the pages don’t run out.
Now it seems as if not a single word is possible without joy, freedom, and release accompanying it, no matter what the “content” is. Perhaps torture is the only content, but I don’t think so. There is nothing inherently profound about a well. The content is in fact largely irrelevant, unimproveable, as if the whole thing (?) were just an “absent-minded” doodle on the parked car called “our life.”
You cannot feel that all the time, of course — the freedom I mean. Perhaps we “become what we are” simply to get better at sustaining that, sustaining that praxis whose main contact with reality takes place through the release of ourselves. Which just amounts to some water dripping out of a hose. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like I am just sitting around, waiting to write. Waiting for that semblance of control, creativity, intention at the valve — when really all I am doing is just looking after some mute objects in a house. And in general, waiting to figure out how to unconditionally accept that love is an impersonal thing, bestowed out of nowhere upon us, not-wielded, i.e., that the whole orgiastic confusion called nature-culture is one big gift that never sticks around long enough to be considered “given.” You twist the lever as if you had to kick start the whole thing, as if not a thing had ever yet been started. Art/life/freedom– isn’t it always that way? Having to begin again, right when it’s over?