To write is like sitting out in sunlight, a light which fills the brain.
It was the end of the night that tweaked you. Burned too many times by the late visits of Ivan and Dimitri. You were very hungry by kitchen closing. The waiter was about to do his vanishing act, as would the busboy, after a period of having to dodge him as he lugged out the recycling bin full of wine bottles and swept behind the bar, all of which he did hurriedly and like a linebacker.
There were things you couldn't quite put a finger on, that now, when you should be calming down, a discord of units, one here, one there, the line cook who sat next to the bar mouth in the way of where the glasses were placed after you wiped them as they came hot out of the dishwasher, the music on a Pandora station, had the combined effect of sending your adrenaline skyrocketing. Everything making you want to take that sip of wine to deal with all. Such that you'd go home but have no immediate way of calming yourself down.
I find a show, Fat Guys in the Woods, on The Weather Channel, and the bike is already on the training stand. But there is a lot to do, a lot to get rid because of the last fifteen minutes before the kitchen closes, then the time after that, when you had no choice but to be a people pleaser, so it seemed. A lot of meditation it takes to rid one of such falseness, such things contrary to order.
And you could work all night, pumping it out, from aperitif to dessert and coffee, while the jazz band played away, another element to stir them all up, and then The Brothers K. would come in, even as the last diners were trickling out, as if the light had just turned, now, green, to play their games, to have their women by and buy a round of drinks for everyone, only confusing things, stirring up different parties of people who'd been just about ready to go home. Loud. Gleeful. Ordering up things of pleasure.
Closing was hard enough already, without having to dodge people, without any dance parties extending the evening. Restocking. As few others did as scrupulously.
When you got home, you did the dishes, poured a glass of wine, turned on the TV, what else could you do... War & Peace, for a few good lines of Tolstoy, like that of the freemason gentleman in the inn who tells Pierre about knowing God. Those are the things that soothe you. Like finding a production of The Gospel of Luke on YouTube, and letting it wash over you, what it might all mean, Jesus opening up minds, teaching people how to think again. His saintly mission of words and the meaning of parables.
My values, how do I act upon them, but by writing. This is simple. The act of writing. Done on a daily basis, whenever you can, basically. Maybe even when you get home at night, after the bar and the restaurant has done its night. See again, align the chakras, draw the halo mandala around the consciousness of the head, the cross within that gives you a point to attach words to, for forgiveness of sin, but for many reasons.
I like the kind of novels Kerouac wrote. Real life and issues. The shy writer and the Dean Moriarty element of the world...
Thirty years ago, a year which should have been good and golden, the strange events in the life of an English major, feeling burned, not understood. Missing various callings within, out of pessimism, some of it, as Capricorns tend to be...
Not all of us are meant to write mainstream commercial sort of literature and letters. For some of us, it takes on a spiritual bent, a kind of reading of books of The Bible and The Gospels or of Buddhism.. How do words find their meaning? Who are we, what are we about? Who even has answers?
Over the sea of troubles, you write, but it doesn't always help. Except for the act itself, which brings some organic calm to the mind. And you have to ask yourself, about your own sins, none of them intentional so much, but there, steadily, just the same.
What are your values, how to act upon them. Was writing what got you into trouble in the first place, being the bad student who took writing papers too seriously, who, on a deeper level, wanted himself to write, for absolutely no reason, with no clear story, with no humanly discerned purpose... except the peaceful quality in the world, the gentle way to proceed in it as a human being, something like that, which the writer tries to grasp long enough to show through some paean, plain and simple.
What do you do for a job? Become a paralegal?
You get to a day off. You want to write, but the purpose seems to desert you. Why? What to write about? Confusion sets in.
And there must be a reason for this basic fact. Some godly reason we cannot know about, but must live as Christians through, praying. Some deep Tolstoyan knowledge... of trying to do the right thing. The serious thing. After a lot of wandering and mistake.
Maybe it's not about writing. Maybe it's about just trying to find yourself. Quiet, and alone, after all the interactions with people and bar customers in particular, a time of quiet, removal from the ego. In the quiet space, you find again that which you need to do on a daily spiritual basis, a meditation, expelling the spirits sloughed off in your vicinity, the egos, the demanding lady. At last, the gentle space you need, after the craziness. The great shyness, the thing that comes so naturally to you, as if you were hard-wired to be, in Alan Watts' terms, a forest dweller.
I do not know why I write. One has never been able to detect a clear purpose to it, but to explore the fields of memories. I am a lazy man, I know, unproductive, but it always feels like one has to find his own values, which so far have not been explained or set out by a clear societal model.
Who is this strange quiet sensitive prudish being he finds himself as on the day off. Purposeless, peaceful, lazy, completely unclear about everything...
In a bar you cannot listen to God. There are too many people talking.
That year I was a bad student, taking Pritchard's class on my favorite poets, Yeats and Larkin and Hardy... what went wrong that year? So much to say, and yet, I said little in class, and wrote only one paper.
When you are actually writing the things you want to write seem to vanish, run away, and then so does the passion, replaced by a sense of things like feeling stupid, awkward, embarrassed, ineffective... You want to take care of the things of the body, nourishment, rest, exercise. You want to let the alone time take its course. You want to read. Go out to the grocery store for the reassurance of good things to eat, without being confronted... Avoid the wine shop. The corner bistro, the bars... Instead listen, listen to your own words for that knowledge of God. Simplicity. Change toward that direction...
Go deep into thought. Away from socializing.
At the end of the week, I am pushed into the night, quiet and alone, which I do not always mind. Out for groceries, a nap after a bit of cheese... Not feeling up for cooking. A nap longer than expected.
"You don't believe in God because you don't know him... God is apprehended not by reason... but by life." The FreeMason talking to Pierre...
People in DC are not the most moderate... Thus were they hard to wait on. That's what made it so exhausting. City people. A mix of people whose blood types are compatible with the modern world.
What would Jesus do in this world anyway, of ocean plastic, Fukushima radiated sea currents of poisoned cancerous fish, of loud politics, of income inequality, of all the stirred-up evil present in the world, casters of stones... Could thy faith make thee whole again?
But if you write, maybe you get some of that out, some of that faithful thing that gets trodden upon and intoxicated. Some short little essay, some string of otherwise completely inconsequential words vulnerable and weak in meaning...
Maybe that's what it's about, getting back to Peter's boat, and the evidence of faith and its basic powers, simplicity. Thou art cured. Old girlfriends come back to you, and everyone, everything, is forgiven, revealed as trifling little errors we good-hearted beings are subject to, such that Buddhism really does apply. (Something to wipe away, as yoga does, that feeling, what a loser I am.) Just trying to keep it together, find the right sort of work to engage in. You are recognized again as some form of scholar. Via the book you wrote.
There is spiritual beauty in looking down into water, pondering it. Even in a tea cup. Why not, then, a book? Behold the lilies of the field, and the sparrow's raiment.
Or is it clever marketing that makes you the expert?
Writing is pained sometimes, but you feel better afterward because of it.
There are things that are hard to put into words, such as "what am I meant to be..."
Without faith, you can allow things which are harmful. Thus, "make thyself whole." Which is not at all far away from Buddhism, the illusions of the mind causing us trouble. They--Jesus and Buddha--both seem to have the sense of what it is to be the Prodigal Son, faithless, caught in the illusions of the solid fixed self. Does one even know what he is doing...
Tending bar... how strange...