|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Disjointed Bullshit On A Saturday Night
Long day, too much poker (real good day in that arena), and I'm half-crocked again....
There's a John Coltrane cut off of My Favorite Things called "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" that I used to associate with a high school crush that unfortunately found itself dotting my early college years. Then, of course, I managed to find sedation in the neck of a water pipe for a few years, the distance between us went from geographic to metaphoric, and I don't find myself wondering what if and why like I used to anymore.
And that strikes me as curious.
I'm harshly analytical, and could expound for hours on mistakes big, small, real, imagined, misinterpreted and ill-advised if you were to ask. Somewhere on the ledger sheet I've filed those moments or instances or epic struggles where my ideal reality never managed to escape the peril-less perfection of which I was dreaming. Or pining, if you want. There really is no better way to put that. I loved that girl. I'm not entirely sure that she wasn't that so-called "love of my life," not that anything ever came to fruition (and boy, were the fru-its upset about that - sorry, old joke) with her. Ever. Not even remotely close. I loved this girl, lighting the torch unabashedly and guarding that flame to preserve some sort of beacon of direction - because god knows I wasn't actually getting anywhere with her, but I still needed to have the path illuminated.
There's some truth for most people in the old adage that you always want what you can't have. I don't believe that to be the least bit true in my case. I don't think there's a thing I've wanted in my life that wasn't probably within reach at some point, but for the desperate resignation that peppers my internal monologue and wins nearly every debate of significance that bounces around in my head. See, when you talk about this girl, at least this one in particular, I fucked things up royally right out the gate. I had actually found my odd bit of charisma to be working to some extent on this girl, she found me funny, found me interesting, and I found her beautiful. Then, two weeks after our introduction, I pledged my love in a multi-page note (single-spaced, on both sides of the page), and my elegant approach bought me nearly eight months of avoiding eye contact.
I wasn't eloquent, it didn't work. My prose was needed and garbled thick with the heartsick promises and affirmations that probably left her somewhere between "stunned" and "stalked."
I was seventeen, and to be perfectly honest, that was probably the last time I truly tried.
In retrospect, this was a watershed moment of my life. I don't believe it was her rejection as much as it was the sinking feeling of abject failure and impending emotional disaster I knew I was going to be facing when I dropped that note on her desk fourteen years ago that has subtly wormed its way into my head. No one enjoys failure, I can buy that. But it doesn't take a trip to the "Successories" store to note that accomplishment is not without risk - and yes, failure.
The curious part is that dropping that note doesn't replay in my head anymore, probably because I wrote then like I write now - which is to say that it's often a flurry of words tossed off the end of a pen or in a couple thousand keystrokes that seem so crucial and vital to say right then, right now. But I wasn't any good at it then. Who was? Not to say I've improved upon that much now, other than the multi-syllabic approach to giggling at my various neuroses seems to somehow be resonating with some of my friends. Jesus, this head of mine... I kid you not, it's like the defeatist side of my mentality is staffed for forensic discourse by William Jennings Bryan and Fredrick Douglass, and the positive side of my mind is enjoying all the fat-encrusted THC cells it can break down from my college days while they last, oh and where are the Cheetos?
I'm convinced the usual psycho-analytical bullshit babble that might "fix this," in other words something like "put your past behind you," is incongruent with what I should be doing. I've been reading the books of and listening to the essays of various contributors from This American Life on NPR (by the way, is it just me or are all the guys there wispy, effete, gay, and Jewish and all the women generally WASP-y whitebread? Except, of course, for Sarah Vowell - who I have a sincere crush on), and I'm thinking I can do that. Essay/short story sized pieces that are basically just internal monologues on the superficially emotional reaction the writer is having while facing an interesting subject? They're in their own heads about their topics, I'm pretty much stuck in my own head, what's the difference?
Well, the difference is that they're all better at this than I am, but I already have a built-in audience and there's a part of me that doesn't really care where "this writing thing" is going to take me. Would it be cool to see my name on a book? Absolutely. Do I feel somehow more validated that someone is paying me for my writing? God yes, I'm a whore in that regard for sure. But do I have the wanderlust necessary to explore this, disconnecting myself from the corporate world and taking a risk to see if I can get validated, feel cool, and get paid for something of my own creation?
That's the hangup, apparently. If what's happening now is comfortable enough, what happens when what's to be is a whole lot more nebulous?
I don't know.
But I know that I love this writing thing like I loved that girl senior year. And the true secret? For however long I've been doing this here, there's been the underlying promise to myself that honesty is what I needed to make this site what I wanted it to be. So when I keep putting pieces of the "Langston" puzzle together, and hopefully generate a manuscript I can be proud of? I won't have had to crawl out of my own head to do any of this, and the eloquent gentleman manning the microphone on the defeatist side of me will get their egos stroked in the process.
And I can bring the past up, wring it out and fictionalize it, and create something I'll be proud of in the process.
Of course, it's going to have to wait another week or two. I've got Breeders' Cup handicapping to write up for Oddjack.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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