In an effort to try and be the happy I want to be, I’ve spent a lot of time reevaluating life choices. Most of which are addressed through a series of conversations I have with myself, silently, in my head. Usually late at night. Trying to examine what makes my reality, and translates into happiness — or the lack thereof. It didn’t hit me until last week while driving to work: I live in my head. All writers do, I think. I know it sounds simple, a 'no duh' kind of revelation, but I never thought of my life in that way. Writers are imagination archeologist. We dig and dig and dig through ideas, possibilities, newnesses; something called ‘creativity’ and ‘inspiration’; we dig through all the sludge and muck of our gray synapses, trying to find that perfect story. That perfect image. That perfect metaphor, in some menial hope to change ourselves. And our readers. And, just for kicks, the whole world.
But it’s all just cerebral. It’s not real. Even the pages we print, covered in ink, it’s still just ideas. Shadows, imitations of what at some point was real; an experience remembered, altered, deformed, and regurgitated.
These blogs, and Facebook, and Twitter, and YouTube, and online articles, et cetera, ad infinitum; they are no more real then Never-Neverland. No more real then wishes and hopes and dreams. Blowing out birthday candles and wishing for a pony, or happy parents, or a spaceship, doesn’t increase the possibility of that happening. But as children we believe in it, and we do it all the same. Then, at some point, we grow up and out of childish traditions to the realization that everything we did as a child was ridiculous. We still go through the motions, though: blowing out candles and pretending to make wishes, to keep up pretenses.
I don’t want to blow out candles anymore, making wishes with the slight hope they will come true, but knowing, deeper than that hope, that wishing and dreaming and hoping is futile and pointless. Because it’s all just electric pulses in your brain. Imagined realities that we come to convince ourselves are real.
This is the life of a writer. My life. Dwelling in the spaces that don’t exist, fabricating individuals and events and emotions and objects to validate, or explore, or confuse, or whatever the intent; writing to know, to escape, to expose what troubles us inside in an attempt to rid ourselves of the darkness. Or to capture the light. But it’s not real. You can’t touch those stories, those characters, those experiences. I used to believe that books, the physical objects we hold encasing thousands upon thousands of words, were real. That the paper and ink and cover made the story real — a tactile reality unraveling some mysterious world that hitherto had not existed. It’s why I collect old books: some residual childhood hope that convinces me those old forgotten tomes connects me to the dead, the lost and forgotten, that our two worlds can be joined through those texts. It’s also in part what attracted me to bookmaking in the first place; some way to intertwine the imaginary realm of story with the concrete textures of papers and inventive bindings. A dream I’ve diluted myself with for years. A beautiful dream. One I shall remain in for the rest of my life, I think (at least in part). But it’s still all just imaginary.
So how do I (and We) translate imagination into corporeal realities?
In no way is that rhetorical. This is a new revelation for me, and which path to take from here I am uncertain. I suppose this comes out of my lack of monetary employ. Granted, I have a part-time job. Very part-time. More part-time than high school kids work part-time. But it’s work, and I can put it on a résumé. My situation as it stands is my fault. Or my doing. I chose this path of Creative Writing. I chose the dark and impoverished track that is the life of the ‘artist’ (whatever that means).
(This is not meant as a complaint, but as an expulsion of confusion and bewilderment in an attempt to make sense of my current reality)
I want to change. I want to be happy. I want my life to be filled with the realities I’ve always imagined. I don’t want to waste away a hunchback huddle in the corner of a dark room scribbling out my manifesto about the world and it’s struggles and terrors that no one reads and ends burning with my body and shack I call home because I died in the night of some easily avoided disease I contracted due to my lack of medical care, and my slumped-over body knocking over the candle by which I read, igniting my pants, transforming my corpse into a new, human candle: spontaneous combustion. If people don’t know who I am, that’s fine. I just want my life to feel real. To be real. I want dirt under my fingernails, salt on my lips, the smell of damp earth and wildflowers all around. I want to taste my world, taste my work. I want my blood to be part of what I create, of my world, of my reality. My tangible reality. The expanse that no longer stretches infinite across my brain. I want boundaries I can see and touch. Because they are real, not because I want boundaries. But because that is the world, and things have limits, measurable qualities like distance and weight and mass and volume. Velocities and Cartesian coordinates. All within the bounds of time, that indefinable decayer.
Step One: the realization
Step Two: the plan