I just ate a mango—which, despite everything, still tastes like summer, put my phone on the ventilator, pinch-cleaned my glasses with an already sagging t-shirt, filled a jug of water with more water, trapped a spider in a glass and carefully introduced it out of the window—because, I read somewhere that spiders snuggle with their babies and I like to feel superior every few minutes, and then, and then, I finally settled into a chair and chained myself to it.
The first hour of my day feels like a Tarantino movie.
That’s when I write.
And I don’t want to.
The first time I had this feeling was three years ago. I wasn’t expecting it and didn’t know what to do with it, so I continued writing, hoping the feeling would pass. And it did. It worked. I had done it. I’d found the cure to writer’s block. Keep writing. I am now qualified to write a self-help book.
And then I had the feeling again. Rejection. The next day, more intense than the first, and I couldn’t write it away this time. So, I stared at the blank screen, as the paleness of creative rigor mortis settled in. I stared and stared and stared some more. Days later—don’t ask me how many; could’ve been one, could’ve been a hundred—I was back to writing again. Am I officially a spiritual guru now?
Maybe this was it.
But it wasn’t. It never is. It only got worse. The more I wrote, the less I wanted to write. Revulsion now was a requisite.
To someone watching this play out, it may look torturous. It’s one reason why artists look so battered, alcoholism notwithstanding. But I was no artist, much less a writer, and tragically, a non-drinker, and I couldn’t muster enough self-loathing to convince myself otherwise.
Now I am just someone who can sit down. Yeah, I know that’s deep. That’s what writing means to me now. I don’t really so much care if anything gets written, and that’s maybe because something always gets written because, really, if you haven’t figured already, the trick is to write an essay about how you are unable to write. To write something. Anything. And then, and only after, shake my head at my own insufferablity.
Another Sunday. Another close escape.
So much of the focus now is on avoiding distractions when creativity is but a compelling attempt to connect your distractions. What keeps art going is when you sit your ass down to do it, you avoid it for long enough until you end up on a page about spiders and how they snuggle with their babies, and then you have an essay idea. It works once every thousand times. The rest of the time, you are gnawing at the chain.
This isn’t yet another one of those wanky habits either. This isn’t a hack, because it’s both not dumb enough and not original enough to be one. This is just another way to make art. To be there for it as often as you can.
Art is an escape from freedom. To Freedom. To wait knowing no one will arrive. To sit down and inhabit a space of decisive oblivion.
Creativity, somehow, somewhat boringly, becomes the absence of the need to fill the silence. It only needs that you just sit there, looking absurd. Chained. Surrendered.
In God, as with art, I believe because it’s absurd.