Wednesday, February 18, 2009

i sense it most late at night

i miss you.
in the words of holden caufield, never tell anyone anything. as soon as you do you start missing everyone
[there's an archway between wings of mckay, where the door is. it's about five paces or something. there's a daycare out towards the parking lot, and every other day the kids get taken out on a stroll on the campus. going by mckay is first, so the archway is very exciting. they think it's a tunnel and when they go under it they make as much noise as possible to hear the echo (though there's not really one). so around 10:30 many mornings one hears a group of little voices going "LALALALALA!" it was annoying as hell at first, but I look forward to it now.]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

crying jag today

In order for me to be honest with myself, I have to be honest with someone else.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

go cry about it, why don't you

Today is the wettest, dreariest, most beautiful, most tragic looking day I've seen in a long while. It rained a bit while I was in Ventura over break, but not like this. Here, from my dorm-room window, the sky seems so much bigger than it does in Ventura, and thus so much cloudier, darker. The rain is the sort that blows with the winds- that sideways rain that's gonna get ya no matter what you do, rendering umbrellas- even cute green ones direct from Ireland with clovers all over it- useless. The buildings look older and more surreal on days like today; that have more character than usual. I want to talk to them about everything that they've seen- as I was climbing the steps today I wanted to ask them how old they were. How many students have marched up and down them, which one person in all of their history has walked them the most and why. This is a day to tuck oneself up and not participate in life, this is a day of observation. It makes me feel content, in a sense, but there is an edge of despair. Not a fully realized one, but there is a concious, very aware feeling all of this atmosphere gives me. It's the contemplation that this, this huge brooding sky is what sadness looks like. While it gives me a dream of possibility it represents the blues, essentially. Didn't the clouds appear when Jesus died? Didn't it storm? Do you suppose there was a rainbow after all that? Doubtful.

Yesterday I did alot of reading about certain writers that I've had a curiosity or admiration towards for a long time but never thought to research them. Oftentimes I regret researching them. Their lives are edgey and troubled, and they never look how I want them to. Well, I suppose they look fine, but their expression is so rarely right in my mind. Chuck Palaniuk is the only one who suits my imagination- except for the fact that he is apparently gay, and mad about it. He's the type of gay that you call homosexual, you refer to their boyfriend as their "partner" and continue on with life. If you mention anything verboten to him he WILL probably bite your nose off and feed your sexual organs to dogs or something. Sounds like him. Jonathan Safran Foer is one that I think I could be friends with, maybe. One of the few writers out there I suppose I could bond with (well, he and Sofia Coppola. Maybe Diablo Cody, but probably not). His outlook is something I seem to understand, though I can't relate to him as a person. He's soft-spoken, which I like, and though he takes his whimsicality seriously he knows that he's somewhat different from the other types of whimsy. And that's fine.

I also read some about Ellis. He is gay. I find that interesting and weird. I read about Hemingway and his endless stream of shock treatments, about Fitzgerald and his marriage issues (Zelda) and how his wife made him tone and adjust many of his short stories so that they'd be more marketable. I don't know what to think about that.

I've been thinking more about writing, and I can't figure it out. I really want to be an essential writer. I want to write truly great pieces. Not really for me- I've considered that a good deal, what my motivations are etc, and I think so far as selfish encouragement goes I'm more drawn to expressing myself in order to be understood. I'm glad of this- I mean it honestly when I say I don't really set my sights on high praise for what I churn out. I don't want to be a great writer so that I might be esteemed- I would like to be esteemed, but as a person, not a writer. And everyone wants that, of course.

But back to topic. Essential writing. I want to accomplish it. I want to say everything. I want to be a powerful voice and a tool and yes, dammit, make the world a better place but doing what I can with what I can. I know I can't bring about world peace, or drag someone to God, or change someone's mind when they've made a solid decision, but I can make the world MORE peaceful, point someone towards Higher Things. I can- ideally- leave an impression on someone that will alter their perceptions for the better. I don't necessarily have the desire to uplift anyone's mood- I couldn't if I tried anyway- but I have the desire to lift up their thoughts the way great literature has propelled me.

Fitzgerald published This Side of Paradise by the time he was 23. Two more years left.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

sheik of araby

All afternoon, I, with nothing pressing, felt the weight to write. It came on frantic, as it does sometimes. My brain crafts words in a way that seems circulatory, I desire to shield my eyes from looking at the world because all I want to do is describe everything in any given moment and look for the soul of it, no- it isn't even a want, it feels like a requirement. And then I think about what I want to say, not just on paper but with real words to people that matter, and that's staggering as well. There's so much I want people to know about me, I want to blurt my essence over them like so much vomit, but they would never understand, even if I found a way to do that, they would never understand that it was fair of me to vomit on them because I want the same from them. I want to take a pair of pliers to each of their hearts and crack them open and observe what's been collected inside.

All this to say, I feel like writing so badly sometimes, and it's wonderful but also seems like such a responsibility- to be correct. To have an understanding of what I want to spell out, and to know where I'm going, but that experience is so very rare. That's when I start to wonder, what am I doing? Should I not be writing with intent? Do I really plan on "just writing" like this, for the rest of my life? There's too much to say! But does anyone want to hear it? Does anyone need to? Is it really better to destroy than to create what is unessential?

Walking out of the cafeteria today, I stopped to reorganize my books and things at a nearby table. As soon as I put my bag on the stone, I spotted the word "pier" etched on it. It's strange how evocative any one random thing can be, like we all have well-worn tracks in our mind that words and smells are sent down even before we can properly identify what we are experiencing. "Pier" made me think of the only pier I know, the Ventura pier, at home. It's been rebuilt a number of times, as my uncle reminded me at the funeral. When he last saw it, on a visit to our family, he took great delight in a horn that was situated so that it made noise according to how the waves moved it. The horn is not there anymore. I should know. Now that pier seems to me such a stomping ground. Everytime I'm on it I want to sink my teeth into it and beg it somehow for a reassurance that I'll never lose anyone- which always leads me to the question, did you ever "have" them? This I brush aside, because nobody likes those questions. They don't really have an answer, just an optimistic or cynical response. I am good at giving both, depending on what I feel needs protecting. But anyway.

Once a friend of mine, whose baby fat has since evaporated, clambored out onto the jutting chin of the wooden construction, over the rails. He hung there for a moment, looking over the sides with nothing holding him back. He wasn't even at the end, he would not have been swept away. But in the dark there's no telling with the sea. I don't know what he was thinking about when he did that, exactly, but I'll admit it was somewhat surprising. Now that I look back his swaggering "What?" attitude after he climbed back to our side reminds me of a side of him I was to see often after that, a searching quality that was all too wise to the fact of being lost with good intentions. Nevertheless, we had a conversation a few days after the whole pier incident, speaking in our melodramatic tones that we had come to rely upon in those ridiculous times, and he mentioned to me that he just had a strange feeling as he was looking over the sea, unburdened by rails for once, that even with us watching (or maybe thanks in part to us watching) he felt a weird crazy sense of freedom and calm. Short-lived, of course, but memorable anyway. He began to wax poetic on the subject of the pier- and piers in general, and finally just anything that gives you that "feeling". We then supposed that everyone had a pier in their life, or that we were constantly looking for one- basically, just a place where you can step outside of yourself, watch the sun set, feel excited to live. For some people it's a waterfall in Yellowstone National Park, for others it's a bluff overlooking LA, the top of the Eifel Tower, a desolate parking lot with one streetlight.

Now that I look back on what I considered a sort of sacred conversation, I know that I was and now am inescapably aware of the youthful silliness that surrounded our discussion- we were conspiratal, self-aware, painfully dramatic and overwrought. Everything sucked, nobody understood, and we were going to gather our little troop and live lives so different from anyone else's that by the time we were 21 we wouldn't have to be on the search anymore. Obviously, things just simply are not that way... nevertheless, every time I see the word pier, especially as I did today, I'm reminded of what I think it means, and that I haven't really found mine yet.