What if I wrote a single sentence each day? Would the sentences add up to a novel? No. A poem? No. And why does escape seem impossible? What if I retreated into non-sequiturs? What if I scribbled on paper and hooted in guttural bursts? Why can’t I? You can. And why the tendency to align, to repeat, to perpetuate? Why does it naturally become this and not something totally different? Why couldn’t it be something nimble enough to avoid the pin and the shadow box? I can’t say. And what if I wanted to tear it all down? You have. You’ve torn it down and built it up again. So why doesn’t it change? Because it is you.
In April I bought 8 colored pencils and 5 different pads. They were beautiful things. The possibilities inherent in their eventual interaction were exciting. I imagined them as they’d look here on this screen. I imagined the birth of pixels rather than their simple relocation. I imagined the characters of A Voyage to Arcturis with their many eyes and foreign limbs rendered and neatly titled. I imagined my hand moving in sweeping arcs and careful angles. I imagined a flow which I’d call freedom. The pencils and pads are beautiful things still, dusty things in the museum of my desk.
What if I wrote? Wrote like a machine without a grammar-module or spell-check? Wrote like the eyes of a man lost in a jungle? What if I wrote hard and wild and whistled into the necks of empty bottles in the nighttime? Would you be gratified? What if I cast it all aside and hunted the head of my potential’s long shadow? Isn’t that what you do already? Can anything slow the relentless narrowing down of possibility into reality? No.
I’ve forgotten how to write. What you see before you is what you see everywhere-compromise. It’s the road paved with good intention. It’s an anagen hair hiding its precious root-tip. It’s about as funny and beloved as a woman’s laugh lines. It’s all excuses. It’s the personal failure which passes for public accomplishment. You think I kid but I do not. No creator ever hungered to be a curator instead.
People enjoy it. So what? I brush up against thousands of people every day on the subway, in the elevator, on the sidewalk, in the hallways, at the bank and the deli; They file past my desk and window in an endless shambling stream. Their children shit themselves and scream and want; their dogs walk on the left and they walk on the right, taught leashes strung between like tripwires. “People enjoy it?” Yes. What the fuck do I care what they enjoy? Is it my job to tickle their asses with a delightful little feather? I don’t like them much, not sure I ever have. “Hope you enjoy.” How many times have you written that? Weak moments, punch-lines, every one.
All is not what it seems. It’s less than it seems, and perhaps even less than that.
What if I called a spade a spade? Do you destroy a delusion by naming it as such? What if I called it what it was, self-absorption, and rather than prostrating myself and pretending at remorse I embraced it as my birthright in our culture? What if I wrapped myself in my own weaknesses? What if I split apart all syntax, ignored all context, and defied all expectation? What if I broke the contract and burst the bounds and spit in the eye of every passerby? That wouldn’t be like you. Exactly! And if “it” is me then to change it… But why would you want to change it?
Because eventually the repetitive act of rooting out links and following them to their connected pretty pictures makes you want to do nothing so much as vomit.
What if I wrote a self-indulgent, rambling prose-poem, and posted it accompanied by meaningless scribbles? Would the result still be The Nonist? I don’t know. And does it matter?