Friday, August 17, 2012

The Shrill Egoism of a Crying Baby

I keep starting this post over. For months now, I’ve tried to come up with a way to describe why I’ve been unable to write lately, but the problem itself keeps me from describing it. Part of it is that I’ve started a new job where the need to dissociate my working life from my creative one has led me to go by my first name for the first time in my entire life. I’m 40 years old, so Iconsider the fact that I usually answer to this new name and most variants thereof to be a victory of sorts. There’s something appealingly metaphorical about having different names for different parts of my life, although I’m afraid that I’m also setting myself up for a schizophrenic break in the next few years where my working-name me eventually assumes an entirely different identity while my creative-name me tries to suss out why his bank account is evaporating. Soon to be a major motion picture from Charlie Kaufman! Anyway, I did not account for the fact that I would make friends at work who I want in my private, and somehow more real, life. In retrospect, this should have been obvious.

The point here, though, is that I’m engulfed in an identity crisis. My mind keeps turning back to Wittgenstein’s exhortation, “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent.” There are two problems with this: he himself broke that dictum and he didn’t mean it this way. And yet these words have taken up lodging in my head, like a quicksilver robot made of NO, telling me that I’m out of ideas, the muse is gone, the point of view that I honed over my thinking years has snapped off, with all of the related implications of mental castration. I’m split in two. I’m Rumpelstiltskin. I’m gone.

Except, of course, that I’m still here. After nearly dying last year, this should be more of an everyday miracle, but it’s the kind of miracle that oxidizes on the unruly part of your lawn and you find yourself feeling guilty for never polishing it before the weeds take over. That’s the surgery that saved me. That vine-covered lump over there, hidden by trees. You should have seen how it gleamed back when I couldn’t stop staring at it. Back then, I kept thinking about what if I had died. What would I leave? This is meandering and now soppy bullshit. Sorry.

This gets to my problem. When I try to write anything for myself, it seems meandering and soppy and thereof I should remain silent. I keep starting this post over because writing this narcissistic crap is good for no one, not even me. Hey, everyone: I’m sad and old and out of touch. And fat. I’m confused and I’m not feeling a lot of the pop culture that used to fuel me. Isn’t that interesting? Let me help: No. No, it’s not. So why am I even writing this? I don’t know. Maybe just because I feel bad about not even maintaining my meager little blog. So there you go.

I sincerely hope that no one made it through all this self-pitying crap. I probably would delete this, too, except that if I picked up one thing from last night’s Louie (where he flees in panic when confronted with his father), it’s that I should just go ahead and get through the agony because nothing’s really chasing me and there’s really nowhere to run.

If anyone still cares, I’m continuing my listening project, although I’ve been unable to write about music except in short bursts for the last, what, two years? Maybe by putting this up, I can stop feeling bad about not doing anything and move forward on that. I also started to build guitar pedals last year, so I’m thinking about writing about that instead of any more of these pathetic attempts at introspection. I’m not really working for the large online pop culture magazine associated with the Onion at the moment, mostly because I don’t have the time, although I hope to change this in the near future.


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Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

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From Here To Obscurity, founded ca. 2003, population 1. The management wishes to emphasize that no promises vis-a-vis your entertainment have been guaranteed and for all intents and purposes, intimations of enlightenment fall under the legal definition of entertainment. No refunds shall be given nor will requests be honored. Although some may ask, we have no intention of beginning again.

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