Thursday, March 27, 2014

If I were to see a therapist, god, where would I begin?  What knot of recurrent problems that make my mornings ill and worried, thoughts of bad behavior irredeemable, of golden chances tossed away somehow, why?  Is that what we would get at, the why?  Why did things blow up on you right as you were passing through the rites of college, becoming the bad graded well intentioned student, the solitary type, the writer, the obsessed as she so clearly called it even back then, knowing, as I went through the disaster of attempting to be her boyfriend but somehow always managing to sabotage my own chances, through what…  So long ago, no, it's not a problem per say, just that it seems to tie me into a knot where all I do is go deal with the same thing everyday, the restaurant business which won't end but which I don't give a damn about, which is only deeply incidental to my writing, to my own personal claim of personal literacy and thereby, intelligence…

How would I even face the first phone call, having a headache from the wine that soothed me in this great Fitzgeraldian slowly unfolding disaster…  Stephanie Nakasian wrote a book, You Too Can Sing, something like that, and I ask her at the end of her performance, her and Hod O'Brien, two greats, what in essence that might be, how to teach people to sing, and her response, beside buy the book, is just be natural, relax, open up.  Philip Roth went to the shrink after his first marriage, feeling unable to write, and out of that process came Portnoy…

I suppose it's hard to admit, the need to see a shrink, to get some help…  Therefore something is wrong with you, because you need some help, and that is kind of like the opposite of the placebo, because you think, Jesus…  Then you don't know what to think.  About anything.

But what incredible delusion it is any way you care to look at writing, as if you could right all wrongs and misdeeds and mistakes in novel form, or that you could even think that by being a writer you could establish a reputation as a literary person, let alone even begin to think you could make a living out of it, or that it really is a strong enough calling to warrant further pursuit of it, when maybe writing is just a form of laziness, a kind of watching television on the couch trying to forget all your problems as laundry sits in the dryer, just that the television is the inane babel in your own head, complete with commercials for this and that, buy me, you should do this or that… except you don't, you just sit there for the time being.  And this is like the ghost of Hamlet, the father, the king, who must fast in fires pondering his sins in life, horrible.

But isn't that what got you into trouble in the first place, that you didn't have the courage to make the call, the admission of a need to sit down and talk, as if stoically you felt you weren't entitled to such, as if you thought that things were bound to go the way they were going to gloomily go unless for the happening of a miraculous religious opening of grace and female, and male, beauty, her in a shimmering white robe forgiving you of your sins, bringing out the Jesus in you that was tucked in somewhere as if in another dimension, hidden from plain and mortal sight.  Well, you feel bad, like you let everyone down, like you took the family's built up karma of honor and hard work and disgraced it as if possessed by something self-destructive, I mean, if you were to wake up and think badly about it all, waking up late with a headache after a long shift  not feeling there's much of anything you can do to escape the fate that's coming your way.

Shakespeare in part made a living out of portraying the psyche, putting our collective ills into terms.  In a way the story of Hamlet is his essence, that of a person who's inner head stuff (some would say 'head case') dooms him in a way of inescapable logic.  Within an inner landscape there seems a bravery for asking for help, for sharing, a bravery which reminds me of the reaction one might get, if feeling beleaguered, watching Gary Cooper in High Noon;  the heroism of facing the psyche and its ills and its gnawings portrayed primitively, and beautifully, against a screen.

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