Some mortification — and then an aperitif

Today I felt that heat that ends up cooking one’s flesh into a rarebit of smugness. It’s called the Swells, I believe, and it’s delectable to have once in a while.

If other writers engage me in any way, it’s to force me to write better and better. I think that if a person ever wishes to be a good writer, then he or she must take risks with themselves and with language. I feel that it’s so important to learn the craft, but then it’s just as important to let it slide away and chart new territory as if words are landmarks for knowing the self more completely.

Have you ever considered that your bed is where the biggest dramas unfold? Not only is an individual born in a bed, but he or she dies there, too. That’s why I like to sleep late. And tuck myself in at night and dream away. As soon as I wake, I know the vexations of the world will be after me.

That’s why I like where sleep can take the soul while the beast’s zonked.

Jesus, I’ve woken from some nightly adventures and have almost broken into song at the masochism of myself. Or been driven to rapture by the bevy of beauties that are achingly close to my table where I am typing away. Or risen in bed and cried myself back to sleep at the thought of myself passing like some shadow, some vapor, forgotten by the world so quickly. Cold ashes and a little headstone on a windblown hill in Wales. And still the world will go on without me. Flowers will bloom; raptors will devour young chicks; the last fish will get caught in a huge net; wind will blow viruses to and fro; ants will scurry with the last grime of dirt; people will consume themselves; cloned babies will mewl in unison; the world will revolve in its bathos of stars, and I will be no more. Fuck, even grass will grow as if nothing of me ever happened. It’s too existential. And it’s nature’s final last laugh. It’s grand trump.

I’d say the bed is the closest anybody who isn’t a writer gets to being a storyteller. And some of the most enjoyable narratives of our lives are played out in our beds. I think governments could censor everything — but never the bed. The bed is the last bastion against tyranny. It is the stronghold of imagination. It is the birthing ground of hope. It is where I do my best sleeping.

I’m reading a remarkable book by Xavier de Maistre at the moment. The book is A Journey Around My Room. Maistre wrote it after being confined to his room for forty-two days because he got into a dual with another soldier. (The book was written in 1795.) And it’s a combination of a metaphysical journey into the heart of life as well as a lyrical description about the wonders a small space like one’s own room can divulge, if we take the time to look and reflect. He’s a cheeky writer, too. Goes off on tangents and treats his manservant badly but then spends paragraphs admonishing himself and portraying the man (who is a dullard) as a saint.


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