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CROSS TALK

Edward Williams

Month

December 2009

NIGHT AND DAY

—-There are certain lines of thought that cannot even be pursued, and the further ideas likely encountered in that pursuit given a chance to exist, much less be articulated, unless one writes them down and deals with them in the act of writing. I am constantly having to put off the inquiry into this or that, something glimpsed, something brushed up against, something tugging at me, because I can see right away that it is impossible to explore, except by thinking it out right on the page, performing it, so to speak, exploring and subduing and refining all at once in order to pound out  just the  semblance of a rough, but promising beginning. And the thing is, I don’t feel like doing that at the moment. In spite of my inspiration, I am accosted by lethargy and even dread. In fact, I rarely feel like immediately working on them, it seems, at the time when these ideas occur.  It seems I spend very little time actually doggedly working out these all important themes which, I reckon, could easily break through into realms so far hidden from any investigator . . . such as myself–who, in spite of my incompetence, remains on constant alert.  What I do is refer them to later, and then lurch at them again.
—–Of course this, this instant fatigue in the face of a foreboding task, is another subject which has its own difficulty! The subject of why I don’t feel like pursuing, most of the time, exactly what it appears I should be pursuing . . . ah, this too is making me wince, and look for a way to escape. I shouldn’t have mentioned it! It is like a spiral . . .
—–But the initial point was not this cowardice, but the real clash of milieus, or moods. It is the fact that there are certain topics which one cannot just tamely and rationally sort out–but one must perform them on the page. One must be an orator, in order to shout down objections,  get through confusions, and reach the ecstatic plateau, to see and describe the vista.  One must get creative with the language, wrestle with the sentences, get tangled up in the grammar, etc.  And what I am saying is that I am rarely, hardly ever, in the mood, because it is daytime and this is a thought for the night, or vice versa! And if I was wrong about that, because here is the day and it still seems implausible and difficult, well at least I jotted it down. Night and day, that will keep you spinning.

Soliloquy of My Inner Gorilla

—–I have this fear I am going to be told it is all over, before I have even gotten started. That is the emotion. It is deep, and irrational. It is not worrying about not being able to finish what I am already well into, being cut off before a deserved ending. It is not based on any assessment I have of myself, being rendered unfortunate, or treated unfairly. This is a outrage, a calling on the carpet,  an indictment that says I never got started, a cold encounter with the unknown, difficult to grasp–but, just so, provable as such because it happens at all. It is the worse kernel of doubt, that I never met existence at all.  Even I, who have been courting solitude!  I, who have never heard this expressed, this wrenching fear of never having lived, I who listened to people and divined their secret thoughts, and read books for what their author intended; even I have failed to express this–but of course!, since it is my own, deep, abiding, inexpressible fear. The razor sharp fear that I never did anything, but instead stood, or cowered, in fear itself, of being told it is too late, you can’t make a beginning now. You fumbled, and then stalled. Being told I am a dead man, and realizing I have been cut off, consistently from the beginning–which is so far away now I don’t know what happened to it, I must have been very negligent, never bothering to figure out how to properly note it . . . that beginning.
—–And this seems like my fear alone, and becomes the worry attendant on the foreseeable future, that somebody will come along and condemn me, before I have had a chance to begin, begin what should be an unfettered stretch of accomplishment. Why have I not gotten on that path, into that wheelhouse, already? It is like I have never had that space, my whole life, to be unfettered, to train in the preliminary workout, the run-up, to catch the real people, now outdistancing me on the stretch run. I have only managed to stumble, make a few notes,  and distractedly patch together the semblance of a career, nearly great. But I have not really done anything in a spirit of a clean beginning. And the consistency of a dedicated pursuit. In the spirit of a clean beginning one cannot in fact be stopped at all.
—–Well, but hold on, I quibble, if I can’t even grasp this fear, how can I face it? Well–in the low thunder I get the reply–it is just there, that is all, and that is all you need for proof. It is admitted, the drawling tenor, the tension. You are afraid that something will happen that will cripple your ability to do anything ever again, because even if you temporarily survive the accident, or the accusation that levels your morality, or the sickness that shocks your body, in whatever form it will appear, you will be so devastated that you  won’t be able to concentrate, and thus begin your true work. Which somehow you have put off to this point. Why have you never gotten down to work? Lord, what a reprobate.  From a certain point of view (perhaps an audience of some accomplished theater-goers!), your plight is actually funny. Instructive!
—–I see myself in a kind of catch up role, making a best effort, now that the game is lost.  I shall have to start saying, well I am glad I did as much as I did, in the time I did have, acknowledging in just that ironic sentiment that life, or what could have been life, is really over. This is sort of burlesque, I get to vaguely reflect. Yeah, it will be just waiting for the end from this point on.  The story is in,  I am afraid something is going to happen that will inform me that there is nothing left but the end. That’s the fear. Is that the fear? Having gotten my death warrant, though I never got to resolve what death was, and a couple times even denounced such a thing, trying out all its forms in my imagination, in past earthly times of leisure, now futile . . .  having finally heard, gotten the shape of an insurmountable burden, felt weak beyond repair, by any means my feeble mind has put in reserve, yes, yes!, all these ways of putting it that are too late, because . . . that is the fear, that ii is all too little too late! Is that what was I saying? I thought it was more elevated than that.
—–More dangerous to my great sense of myself, and central to that off-kilter identity I have, always had. It was paradoxical, how one always felt in those days. I know what it was; actually  I can make it sound dramatic. It is like now is going to be the final framing of the stakes of a real serious beginning. It was to say, that I have this fear that I will be informed that it is between now, right now, and the end that will be all there is, to reconcile. No more unlimited time to accomplish whatever I want, by whatever means I so choose. Now there will be a gun to my head. I am afraid somebody is going to put a gun to my head. This would be a new experience, for up to this point I have been cavalier about my existence, I guess.
—–I shrink back. I don’t know if I am ready for this . . . it’s like I am losing my grip, what happened to that grip I had?

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