Sometimes you just have to let it all out, if you’ve still got it in you

JULY 29 03

Part of me wants to write something, another part of me wants to abandon public writing for private writing, writing I can let develop into narrative, tell a tale, over more than a few pages. Not what I would call a novel, more a story, like Alessandro Baricco's Silk was a story. I haven't read any fiction for quite a while, but I got a few novels out of the library yesterday. Short ones. To sit down and read a book has become something I find hard to do these days. It might be easier to write one, if I clear myself a space. And then I think, how much of a space do I need to clear, can I carry on writing this as well? And then I wonder, just how much is this writing, this type of writing, worth?

Writing is writing, it doesn't have to take a certain form for it to be worthwhile. Writing on the web though is read differently. I was looking at some of Jim Goad's writing on the web yesterday. Though the guy's probably a complete arsehole I have a certain respect for someone who can write, and he may not be an arsehole but just tries hard to look like one (y'know, the kind of guy some people laud as 'cool' on the basis of honestly speaking their mind about liking beating up on women – yeah, you got to admire honesty, it's just the other shit that makes you a jerk eh?). But what I was thinking was I just can't read much of this, even though it's got life in it, in the same way I doubt I'd be able to read much of Charles Bukowski on the web, but would rather read one of those Black Sparrow Press books. And then I think maybe I should just turn this damn thing off and go back to a typewriter. It isn't going to happen, is it? So I need to work out what it is about this life of feeling tied to a computer, both to write and to read, that depresses me so. And what I'm really looking for.

I'm bored of this, yet as I said in an email to someone yesterday:

I seem to have lived my entire life on the basis that I eventually change my mind.

Things change, and don't I know about that. Enthusiasm returns, eventually, for those things I am usually most pissed off with, after all, there's a reason somewhere lost in the midst of it all why I started this, why I wanted to start it. Sometimes I have to write for a bit for the gears to really lock into place, and I lose myself in writing, which is what I want, what I seek, since then I am at or close to that place where anything can happen, some wonder dust can be sprinkled over a few words and it's all changed. I don't have to write a story, I don't have to go away to write a story, one's own life is a story if much is left unsaid, if much is merely hinted at. I don't need any neat segues when I am wholly committed to fragmentation and my hands are sweaty and grimy with the hard work of something else, something no-one knows about.

The kind of stuff I write comes from me, when I'm not farting around investigating some journalistic obsession, or mentioning some link of passing interest. I have written novels, I have burnt novels. Even this writing is not safe, although I do not care what becomes of it. At present, you share in my hunch to write on the web, for some obscure purpose. And what is that purpose, I ask myself. Well, I laughed the other day when I read Chris 'Rageboy' Locke say in an interview:

One of these days, I just know it, I'm gonna tie into some gorgeous babe out there in BlogLand who can dig where my head's at, where I'm coming from, you know? And give me the ride of my fucking life.

Yeah, I know, you're not alone in that. Maybe I'm just writing to get laid. Maybe that's all there is to it. Throw in a smattering of absolute fucking boredom and you've probably got the reason most people write on the web. Trouble is, most people who write on the web can't write. Maybe life has driven me into some tight little corner, or I've painted myself into it, and yeah it is like watching paint dry sometimes.

People want to connect with each other on the web, but they don't. There's always the potential, but it seems you've got to be bigger than it, all the time, because otherwise like it says in the Yijing you're hunting game in a place where there is none. You commit to a virtual life and before you know it it's the only life you have. I think this has happened to millions, because I can see it happening to me. I lose sight of the line I drew, I forget to go back out of the door I closed, and while I'm writing I'm safe, because I'm in touch, and much of a writer's life is spent in imagination anyway, but afterwards, there is nothing, something of the physical world is dwindling, sustained only by a routine to go out and get drunk every so often with the few friends I still see, and who knows what's with the many friends I rarely see, and those I have never seen. And I ask myself, what happened to trudging through cart-ruck lanes in distant lands, to making tea in a tin-can in a demolished house, and meeting people whose lives I briefly pass through as they do mine, but real for however long it lasts, bound together in some epic journey to nowhere but full of smells and sights and sounds. And I think, am I ever going to regain that, do I have to claw that back from somewhere, or is it all too late now, is that over and done with?

One thin strand still ties me, paradoxically, to the web, despite the fact that I have just expressed my concern about being engulfed by it, and that is this: I have a long fascination with the idea of a message in a bottle thrown in the sea (notwithstanding one despairing sentence in Yip-i-addy-i-ay!), of the sheer potential for that, not just to connect with some kind of soulmate who has flashed before my eyes in dreams (actually, she has green eyes, short black hair, and usually loiters on a humpback bridge waiting for me to pass by) but also to reach right into the hearts of other lost souls who just don't know any longer what this mess is about. Hey, this isn't depression we're talking about any more, the affliction of the few, this is life, life as it is for every-fucking-one.

Yeah, there are people out there with a semblance of having it sorted, I've seen these people, I've looked into their eyes. By contrast I feel like a Nexus-6 out of Bladerunner who has seen things with his man-made eyes that no man has seen and I feel like telling them this and destroying their cosy illusions. On the other hand, maybe I'm the one who's fucked up, maybe I'm the one who's got to work this out, after all, they're probably already living in the full expanse of their minds, whereas I've just walked through a whole trackless wilderness to find the crammed little corner I find myself in now.

Y'know sometimes I feel that if I just stretch out my arms, like I really meant it, I would upset the delicate balance of the universe. It's ironic, I am confined because I am too powerful. That's the honest-to-god reason. What's that about the Pit in Revelation? Self-imposed, it seems. Why, I ask myself, why don't I do something about this, why don't I break out of this world and take a few with me kicking and screaming when I do it? Let's put it this way, I haven't ruled the option out, it's just the form it'll take that eludes me, and the sense of a waiting hunger that is growing, that has to grow, that has to wait, though I know no-one who has waited longer than me for something so obscure, and yet so fucking understandable, by anyone, if they'll only once admit it and tear up that complacency that sustains them and gives rise to this corrupted nirvana. And people ask why I prefer chaos. To them I let out the secret, that true chaos is not possible, so don't hold back because you can't really ruin anything.