what lies beneath…

Brow frowns

Eyes glare,

Teeth grind,

Lips curl,

Breaths sharp,

Hands close around the cup,

Mouth opens for the drink,

Coffee streams down the throat,

Gulp after gulp

after gulp

after gulp.

 

Still not calm.

A sigh.

Shoulders heave,

Skin flushes red,

Blood boils,

Anger bubbles.

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Quiet Desperation

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau.

While I tend to protest very loudly about any form of discomfort or desperation, I can see what he meant. It seems the more I reconcile myself with who (I think) I am, the more lost I become. I spent so many years writing fiction because I thought I couldn’t actually be the person I wanted to be. But then, as that myth fell away, I struggle to write – even for work. This is often dealt with by howling at the moon and then finally writing the minimum required.

If as a teenager I had a checklist of what I wanted to do when I grew up (whatever ‘growing up’ means), finding myself was not on it. I seem to remember being quite certain of my place in the world – it wasn’t easy to make decisions about what to study, or about my future, but I had no idea I would actually give in to my urges as a writer.

When it first happened, in 2011, it felt amazing. Writing felt like coming home (the good kind of ‘home’, not the place where people embarrass you for being a ‘writer’). In retrospect, it is clear that was the turning point.

3 years later, writing takes up only a fraction of my time – although I think about it quite a lot. I suppose having achieved ‘writer’ status and becoming an ‘editor’ didn’t really help. My duties involve helping others hone their skills, which is not something I am particularly good at, but I try to support them and attempt to stick up for them (I have learnt that having someone to back up your critical opinion is quite important – regardless of whether the piece is as good or as bad as you say it is).

I am currently at what can be called the ‘now what?’ point of my life. Having managed to keep myself writing – sort of – I wonder what I am to do next. Obviously, I am still writing, but surely, it has to be about something that interests me, and not just something I label ‘work’.

It’s quite terrifying and refreshing to think the world is my oyster, so to speak. At 25, I feel I have wasted a great deal of time trying to figure out what I am doing with myself. Finding a freelance job is no mean feat, but still feasible. So is writing a book. The problem with the latter is that I wouldn’t know what to say – and of course, it is important to say something. But then, while I recognise the value of saying whatever it is I want to say, it would be my first book if and when it came into being; I could just fuck around with format, content and all that jazz.

Although I’ve only studied philosophy and literature superficially, I am particularly fond of Oulipean ideas for writing. They might be slightly out of date, but any book I try to write that is my first would just be an exercise and learning curve. So why not learn about stuff I am fascinated by? In this reasonably infinite time that I seem to have between my theatre-related work and sleeping, I am reading up on my philosophy and history. Admittedly, part of me just wants to know about this stuff, and part of me has decided I have to grow the fuck up and find out about things for myself, since the man who is my mentor works for a rival publication and I can’t (shouldn’t) badger him for fun-facts all the time. If knowledge is power, then I want in – I shall equip myself as best I can, and see what happens.

Consistency

Is it important to be consistent?  I am reading a book on philosophy which claims philosophical analyses will help point out inconsistencies in your own philosophy/belief system.

I came to wonder if it is:
a) possible to be consistent and
b) important to be consistent.

I can see how consistency is important when it comes to how we treat people – otherwise we make space for favouritism and other (potentially more dangerous) discriminatory systems.

But how can we be consistent in our ideas? After all,  as human beings we learn almost all the time.  I suppose what I am saying is that education – or social conditioning – can alter ideas and the way we think about the world. Unless we reject what we have learned repeatedly,  is it possible to be consistent? Does it matter? Also,  how far does the definition of “consistent” stretch before it is “unchanging”?

Coffee shop fiction

Groggy limbs sitting on the sterile white stool, it’s difficult to say what used to be. Even what is becomes harder to discern with every breath. The weak chest rises and falls, inflating and deflating like a leathery old pump. The back is bent, hunched over. Gnarled hands wrap around a paper cup of coffee, occasionally bringing it to the wrought gaping hole that is a mouth.

2am

Well, here I am. A few days late, as usual. I have finally made time to write.

Actually,  it wasn’t intentional. I am curled up in bed,  sort of unable to sleep. I was drowsy when I first ventured into the bed but laying here in silence let all the ideas flood in. Of course, picking up my phone to write on the blog just opened the gates to even more ideas.

Over the past few days,  the silence has been that moment when I simply cave to my body’s demand for sleep. Right now, I’d say that demand has fucked off for a while. It’s too quiet. And I am too warm one minute and too cold the next.

Admittedly, the darkness is not matched by complete silence. The clock ticking in the corner is consistent and in a way reassuring. I don’t think I could stand the silence – especially not after being home all day. It would drive me up the proverbial wall.

And yet,  something is missing. Even as the cursor flashes on and off frantically,  I can’t seem to find the words for it.

Switching on the light, the room is still as it was before. Nothing has moved,  in spite of my imagination’s efforts to build monsters and break dreams. Well, almost nothing.

The ticking clock persists.

The mind wonders in the silence. The street outside is suddenly quite busy, cars racing up and down it; I can hear them cutting through the puddles.

Considering it’s 2am on a weekday, I should be asleep and it should be silent. Then again,  I have no particular incentive to get up early, so why not stay awake?  After all,  there is alcohol in the fridge – that would be a great way to warm up.

Anyhow,  time to wait for another visit by Morpheus (Greek god of sleep – not the Matrix character). I grow weary, mainly of my own bullshit. Maybe it is better this way.