Saturday, September 20, 2014

If you cannot describe your own self, if you don't have a firm enough confident sense, then how can you write?  (It follows that if you cannot write about your own self, then you will not be able to describe the slightest thing.  And yet this is the writer's journey, finding his or her self, the nature of it.  This can get weird perhaps, it can get Tolstoyan, Chekhovian, Kerouacian, Proustian...)  And if you were firm enough in your own sense of being a writer, then your time and energy would be well-allocated toward it.  But if you were confused, not being able to make the clear choice between the day job and the other thing then the confusion would continue.

Our sense of self is determined socially, how people come to know us.  Even a writer needs to have some form of social life based around the activity, even if this is an anonymous interaction, which is why writers need to get out of the house and go to coffeehouses and park benches and other roosts, perhaps for the primary reason of staying sane, still feeling a part of society, engaged, engaging, even if critical or apart.

Which sense of self wins out?  The "day job," which could actually be a night job, or the other task, the vaguely defined writer?   And if that day job is almost based on creating social meaning and reinforcing the very thing, would that help or hinder the other work, the silent kind?  Would the two strike a kind of balance, or leave the subject covering too much ground, not having much of a social life for the writer part?  Would the writer be pushed into the night, a creature out of synch with anyone but another night shift hospitality type?  How to socialize, to find a place with warm bodies around that leaves space for a writer, undisturbed, at a table?

The main religions, the Abrahamic branch, have much to do with property and marital relationships.  (In a world of scarcity, no wonder they fight.)  Odd then for a writer, who seeks to defend humanity and decency, who seeks to explore the spirit, ends up almost at odds, not having much in the way of means to support property and family.  Left almost with the sense that only through deep faith and a religious practice would one be dedicated to one person in a selfish world, which is perhaps why my very old school Catholic neighbor the Polish lady, heroine of the war, saw same-sex marriage as undermining the faith that supports the family, the mystic bounds between a man and a woman.  As if she were speaking to Dostoevsky, she would tell me that for a woman I needed "a slave."  Hmm.  Interesting that Dostoevsky does his fair share bringing the depths of Orthodox (and general) Christianity into the modern times.

Buddhism doesn't really get into that fight, but maybe it allows for a deeper kind of marriage, a simple one, not based on individual property, which is of course hard for us to imagine.  The self is an illusion but there are still men and women, and they need each other, and even should practice spiritually together in yogic and other ways.

Can love ever come first, to allow the full development of the human being?

One steps out into a great blank field of confusion, feeling very small, when the impulse to write comes.   Does it constitute an attempt to shape the current present moment, to own its definition, to allow for a positive component and a sense of well-being?  Does one grow out of it and simply wish for a normal life, saying 'now' convincingly.  Have you largely diverted your chance at a normal life through your misguided efforts, too many years at 'the day job' to ever escape, too many years sunk it to already, an effort honorable in many ways, but with some buts.

In a dream a woman I've met takes me to see her wildlife.  A large formidable animal, bear or elk with horns come over to test me out, aggressively.  Face your fear.  "He'll be fine with you after he pees on you."  Oh, great, okay.  She didn't tell me of this basic rule.  So the damn thing climbs over the protective railings over me and sure enough urinates warmly on me, and then well, at least it's over.  "Now he's cool with you."  If I had not got along with it, as the beast was friendly with her, I would have been toast.  Well, you just have to go through some things, I guess.  And perhaps there is not as much to be indignant about after all.  My clothes seem to dry out after the great bath.  Dreams...

Knausgaard has addressed the old problem of how to live the social life of a writer.  Such is there specifically, but also as a broad theme, the exploration of relationships.

I do yoga.  It really helps me feel less like I am weird, gone off on some strange path, but rather to the center.  And it does feel weird, a lot of the time, to be a writer, to be able to hear, to see ghosts (as Shakespeare summarized the writing mind.)

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