I haven’t blogged in a while.
There has been a reason: I have been in flagrante with incidents and situations from common life. I have been dabbling in the infinite complexity of pleasure and pain.
Let me put it more plainly in a demotic tongue: I got laid off back in February from my job as a copy editor and I’ve had things on my mind.
But didn’t Wordsworth write about emotion recollected in tranquility? Well, I’ve had so much solitude and tranquility, I’m close to hearing voices.
It is said that the big things in life are never planned.
This wasn’t. It came like a mouse at the door that roared like a lion. But the first horror is there’s horror, right? But let’s get one thing straight: I don’t miss my job. It had become nothing more than a cross I was nailed to with no possibility of salvation. Not that I have any delusions of the religious kind and wanted to be saved.
I just wanted adventure in my life again! And, presto, I got what I’d been secretly wishing for.
Eleven years at the same job just begs some Shakespeare: Horatio, darling, don’t you know there are more things in heaven and earth than security, conformity, and conservation?
And bosses…. If you’ve had one lousy one, then you know the torment of Prometheus having his liver pulled out.
It hasn’t been easy, though, lest you think I’ve been sitting on the summit of idleness. The last few months I’ve felt like I’ve been jumping off the roof of my own house, over and over again, like a bad rerun of To the Poorhouse Born. But it’s better than being pushed off the roof.
With no job to keep my trousers up, I’ve been seeking a new one, sending out my resume like Childe Harold on a pilgrimage. (Maybe that is why I haven’t netted anything yet!) But what are a few months compared to a life of uncertainty and the creative spirit unbound? Nothing now is certain, every thing is in flux, there’s no firm ground to stand on because I’m grounded in the unknowable. Sure, every day I wake to certain facts, but I’ve always taken more pleasure in seeing life as a fiction.
“Keep the heart awake to love and beauty.” Coleridge.
Plus I’ve been busier now than as a man with an unpromising career in the magazine business. I have finished my dark, modern fairy tale set in the Twilight of the Third Reich, which is being considered by an agent; I’m now into a new novel; and have been writing, editing, and sending out short stories that nobody seems to know what to do with except send back to me.
I think I have entered a transitional stage. I hope so or else I’m on a very sloppy, slippery ride down into farce. And the ground I stand on is one of definite uncertainty, and in a strange way, it has given me more of a vivid life, more of a present life lived in the moment. And come to think of it, that’s what life is, the messy bits of doubts and caprice, joy and pain, and lots of exhaustive waiting for what’s around the perpetual corner. I think we’ve been swindled into believing it’s all about the future at the expense of the present and the liquidation of the past. Sometimes I wish as a species we weren’t cursed with always thinking about the future, any future. I wish I could just learn to focus better on the present and enjoy things a bit more. And I try to. But it’s hard to put a spring in one’s heels when there’s the chance of getting a boot in one’s face.
I think as a person, and certainly as a creative one, you have to be willing to take risks but also willing to accept uncertainty. And anyway, uncertainty has been around much longer than social media and its lively camp of We Exist Now, Don’t Mess With Our Plan. Plus, if light can exist as both particle and wave, then what’s so bad with being an individual who has no idea what path he’s on or where he is heading? There’s a certain attraction to this as much as the mind wants to squash the quantum mystery with reason and practicality, two conditions I’ve never had much heart or mind for.
I’ve read that in the economy of the body, the limbic highway takes precedence over the neural pathways. So, in the economy of my self, I’ve going to let come what may….
Oh, and write more. Because if there is a future, then it’s got to contain me as a writer living off his writing, not out of some arrogance, but out of a desire to see what kind of man I might turn out to be if left to my own vices.
As Dr. Dee once told his acolyte: You can’t have transformation without an alchemy of the self.