My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cracks in the Roof

It's been a while.
Like before, I found that the longer I waited, the harder it was to summon the will to write again. The pressure built up in my head, and I shied away from it more and more. This is a nasty cycle.
Funny how things work that way. Lately I've been extremely depressed and non-productive. Perhaps it was because I didn't have a job. Perhaps it was the messy end of a friendship that'd got me so mired in self-sabotage. Whatever the core reasons for my being so, I've excelled at keeping myself down. One thing feeds another; I perpetuate the darkness.
And so, there has been little to no writing.
When you are looking up at the things you'd like to fix or improve about yourself or your life (let me rephrase: when I look at these things) I am faced with so many issues and desires that I become overwhelmed and subsequently do nothing at all.
First things that come to mind: I'd like to loosen up in my awfully perfectionist habits, my tendency to think there's a right way to do everything. In doing so I would have a far easier time cutting loose creatively and feeling free to make any number of glorious mistakes, which would both do me good and no doubt lead to some good art as well.
I'd like to develop a better sense of discipline. The time I've spent without a job or any other externally imposed structure has been largely wasted; I sit in front of the computer and do nothing. I've had the experience many times of being far more focused and creative when forced to work under limits and schedules. But left to my own devices, I flounder. I'd like to change this.
And I'd like to spend more time understanding why I have the tendecies I do. Why I seem to seek out drama, situations that will keep me from being happy and creative and so on. If I have any skill, it is at finding these situations, or making them up in the absence of real ones. I am a master of keeping myself unhappy and never really looking at the fact that I'm engineering it. Instead I ascribe it to other people, the world, fate, what have you.
I look at all these things and feel overwhelmed. Where do I begin?
I know where to begin, of course: Anywhere I like. Just pick something!
It's simple enough to laugh at, and maybe that's why I never do it.
I can only change myself in small ways, and each of these changes will affect me as a whole.
But it's still hard to get started.
I did get a job, finally. So with that I feel a change in the air, and it will be the current that starts other little changes moving. The return of structure. The return of a semblance of meaning. And then I might just start writing more. And drawing more. And maybe just finding a little bit of joy in my day-to-day existence.
So what all this amounts to is that I am going to start writing more. I won't wait two weeks between entries. I don't care if it's too much for you to read. I need the practice.
I've made many mistakes in the recent past. I'm going to try to understand them, to know why I make them over and over, in hopes that I can break the patterns. Writing is not a panacea, but it is one of my tools.
It's high time I gave it the respect it deserves.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nobody Broke Your Heart...

this is for Amy.

Where has all the poetry gone?
I think back on my past and can barely recognize the person who used to be so full of wonder and romance and life. Who would write down lines of obsession and love without hesitation. I remember a time when there was some meaning in the world. When I could look at art or listen to music, or even read something beautiful, and be moved by it. A time when I felt more deeply.
But did I really feel more deeply? Am I just romanticizing the past, creating some rose-colored “good ol’ days” to reminisce about?
I feel like a shadow of myself. Who am I really? Every day I wake up and am filled with fear of doing the things that would enrich my life. The things that will actually be worth remarking upon after I die. I fill my time with false productivity and self-sabotage, staring the clock in the face, and running away in terror.
I stopped looking at the details. I stopped believing in myself, and I lost the ability to risk mistakes, lost the courage to put my heart on the page, to fearlessly express whatever modicum of truth I possessed.
There is a strange paradox here. I know one thing is true: I am more able to feel and express emotion these days than I ever have before: I cry more easily, laugh harder, and breathe deeper. This I know.
But I have also become almost entirely cut off from the parts of me that are willing to give that emotion any shape or form. I don’t write that much anymore. I never write poetry; I wouldn’t even know where to start. It’s all bogged down in thoughts. Why not just say what I am thinking? And who cares what I am thinking? Then there are thoughts of structure, of the “rules.”
I must have died. How did it happen? Whatever my original intentions, I have become truly lost.
I can still see the world of beauty. I know it exists. I know what it looks and smells like. But I feel like an observer, unable to really participate in it.
The world of poetry and life and love is all around me, and when I read the lines all I can think of is how much more it would have meant to me in years past. How I used to feel able to inspire beauty in others. Now I cannot even inspire it in myself, nor muster the courage to try to make it.
That Elliott Smith song keeps running through my mind. Everything means nothing to me…everything means nothing to me...
Sometimes I cry, and yet never do I turn these moments of true emotion into any sort of art. They are lost. It’s such a selfish way to lose, the way I lose these wasted blues…
Sick to death of this. Sick of feeling afraid to get out of bed each day, of preferring to turn over and hide in dreams until the screaming of the schoolchildren across the street force me to get up.
My life becomes nothing more than a collection of lyrics, and I look around for someone to take me out for drinks or to call and just help me shut off my mind.
I fear creating petty, mediocre art. Afraid enough that I never do anything anymore. When did I become so tired and jaded? All the time in the world is at my fingertips, and I waste it.
I’m writing this to give the sickness a name. To bring it into the light.
So I can start to come back to life.
It is said that if you bring forth what is inside you, it will save you. Alternately, if you don’t bring forth what’s inside you, the same things will destroy you.

I bought a book of poetry tonight. Maybe it will wake me up again. Maybe it will be the pebble that starts an avalanche.

Maybe everything’s not lost.


You gave me stormy weather
with just the shadow of your hand
across my face.
You gave me the cold, the distance,
the bitter midnight coffee
among empty tables

It always started raining
in the middle of the movie,
and waiting amid the petals
af the flower I brought you: a spider.

I think you knew it was there
and enjoyed the awkward moment.
I always forgot the umbrella
when I went to pick you up,
the restaurant was always crowded
and on the corners they were hawking war.

I was a tango lyric
to your indifferent tune.

~ julio cortázar