Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No plot and all together too much self-analyzation

I have always liked to do things in such a way that they become Things. I have liked to do things so that they are commemorative, by starting them beginning of a month, or on the hour. I like special dates. 1.11.11 was a fun day, I really wanted to Start Something then. But then I didn't. Each of my 8 piercings commemorates a time, date or event in my life when Things changed. I have liked to make Things into Symbols. Symbols of re-birth or a new beginning or a peaceful end to this phase of my life or that stage of growing up. I like clean slates and I think I try to create them for myself at every possible turn.

In a way, it worked. I mean, I travel so much and have moved around enough, that I can find enough clean slates to make myself happy. Which, of course, means plenty of new places to go and things to see to keep me excited about and writing about.

But lately I've had the hardest time keeping up with myself and all my OCD rules. I stopped blogging when I came back from traveling because I didn't really feel like there was anything interesting to write about. I was back in Berkeley, slogging through my last year of college and too buried in the immature preoccupations of my age group to feel like I had anything in me but whining and pseudo-existential crises (after all, I was submerged in academia, an overdose of high-brow theoretical thinking was bound to happen, and I think the whining comes with the territory as well).
I could have pontificated on the concept of graduating and truly entering a new stage of my life, but I wasn't really finished with my degree, so the only thing I produce on the subject was a weak quip on my bastard graduation (that is, my illegitimate graduation ceremony... I went through the song and dance, but I wasn't really done).
Then I was back in San Francisco. I was having a blast, but San Francisco is home for me. It doesn't feel new or exciting. Once in a while I'd get inspired by some experience at the bar to share it with the world, but never really got around to it.

But more important than my antipathy in the face of gracing the world with my mental ramblings, I pretty much stopped writing full stop. I didn't write in my journal, I wasn't feverishly typing out the weak skeletons of a short story idea, I even quit pretending that I'd eventually be able to write a song if I just practiced enough to get through the initial stage of crap lyrics that some bands try to pawn off on us as legitimate.

See, over a year and a half ago I'd decided that I needed to work on freeing my mind. If I was going to write, I mean REALLY write, I needed to write. Logical, huh? What I mean is that, like writing song lyrics, practice makes perfect. Not every word I put on the page is going to be a diamond. Most of it is going to be coal. And not even substantial hunks of coal, more like spent coal dust. Not that I'm trying to become perfect. It's just that I love words. I love the way they look and the way they sound. They are tinker toys or Legos with infinite combination possibilities. And they MAKE things: ideas, feelings, history, knowledge. I digress, but the point is I love writing. It's what I do. A friend of mine recently responded to my apology for my long-winded stories with "it does take you forever to tell a story. No, it's more like you're writing me a story and then orating it." It was a compliment. At least as far as I'm concerned.

Anyhoozle, I was working on freeing my mind. I stopped writing in my journal on consecutive pages. If I felt like writing two pages ahead, I would. I wrote in patterns and pictures, instead of creating giant left-to-right blocks of words. And that worked for a while. I wrote all the time. It made me feel artsy, and oh-too-cool-for-school.

But eventually I got bored. It was hard work thinking of new ways to free my mind. And every time I opened my journal, I felt like it had to be this big ordeal, I had to have Things to write about or insights into the Things I was writing about. Not to mention a cool new patten in which to write. I had to date everything (you know, in case I die famous and brilliant and they want to publish my journals for the world to benefit from. That's right, I think about that. I'm willing to bet you do too. Don't lie to yourself, you do.).

So I stopped writing in my journal. Sometimes I'd open a Word document out of frustration just to put down some of the stuff that was crowding around in my head. But I would never think of it as legitimate. I didn't date them because they weren't legitimate, they weren't neatly contained in my little black moleskine notebook.
Sometimes at work I'd grab one of those little pads that servers use to take orders down on and jot out an image that I liked, or a feeling that I thought should exist in words or a story idea. I'd take up three or four pages, tear them off and stick them in my back pocket. When I got home they'd end up shoved in my desk or in the pages of one of my notebooks.
Even short phrases I didn't know what to do with. I couldn't write them in my notebook except on the designated page (yes, I felt they had to be organized in my mind-freeing journal) so they'd end up on random pieces of paper and mostly in the notepad on my phone.

And then one day I just shook myself. I decided to that it wasn't worth it. That I DON'T have to organize things into neat little containers. All those random little scribblings are legitimate. They're always fun to read back over and that's what really matters, right? And it isn't worth it to wait for a momentous occasion to start writing again. I moved to Austin almost two weeks ago. I thought that that would be a great time to start writing again. Starting a new phase of my life and all... but I'm sick of trying to find reasons to start things and I'm tired of having to associate Things with Symbols and New Eras. So today, (what day is it again? The dates seem to melt together when one is jobless) randomly on February 23 I've started blogging again.

All this is a very long, drawn-out way of saying "I'm baaaaack!"

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