Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a codicil to the manifesto

marc hundley via tiny vices

i've proved it at last. noise, movement, they make you sick. i'm sick. also my tongue is burnt, there's a little white spot on the tip where it happened. i reburnt it everyday for four days by insisting it was fine to drink tea. i have since abstained from drinking tea. it has not been easy. runny nose, nausea, sore throat. it's all very 19th century London if it weren't summer. so there you have it dear friends, too much activity will kill you.


recently i re-read the first post i ever did on the submerged submersible. i titled it a primer on speaking flower, and it was to serve as a sort of manifesto about the blog's mission. one of those pretentious things writers sometimes write trying to outline why they bother to write in the first place.

it was an interesting re-read given the twists and turns of the last two years and how those have been reflected in the blog. i had envisioned the next challenge of my writing as being to learn to express more fully the 'happy' side of human emotions. happiness. i wanted to write 'my novel of happiness' to match the lachrymose novella i'd (then) finished writing. and i think in a large part, i've got it now. only, my language of happiness isn't frivolous or hollywood in the least. fact is, the way i see it, Happiness is no more frivolous or tiny than Sadness. it is huge. a huge thing. a person may be Happy throughout a miserable life. a person may glum faced and depressed as all hell still harbor a deep-rooted, impregnable ember of Happiness that no one may know is there. heck, half the time, even we ourselves can't spot our happiness when it's there. (i say that as i lie feverish in summer, listening to Max Richter's gorgeous the Blue Notebooks and feeling pretty nervous about the next 4 months --> 40 years). still, Happy in a sense that i am in a room alone, where things are not speaking to me so that my body has a chance to speak to me. it says: f*ck you! for not listening sooner. my body has absorbed too many coffee-shop babble babbles, too many sitting around time-wastings and is now overheating with idle words that never went anywhere. they are seeping out of me now. steaming off my skin. dripping from my nose - all the dead white cells of disappointed Me trying to get my own attention to say: shh, slow it down Q, be where you want to be you don't want to be here. i'm thankful for it. it's nice when your body can step in and put out a white gloved hand and declare STOP on your behalf. so here i lie. feverish in summer, with a burnt tongue unable to drink tea so i drink iced-tea instead. i wear a thisrt that's about 4 sizes too large so it's almost down to my knees. it's sexy when women do it but ridiculous when men do. which is perhaps why i'm wearing it. what better time to act the fool then when you are the fool.

Happiness. it feels like a rock. a solidity you can cling to. if only we weren't such ravenous, jealous lover it may even stick around. too often we assault at it with our fangs gauging into her breast Happiness, promise me, promise me never to leave, never ever, i need you soo much, and that being the least sexy thing you could ever say to a person, it's no wonder Happiness is out the door first chance it gets. look there, i see her sitting by the window listening out for the choochoo of the next train coming through.

but Sadness is solid too in its own way. more reliable in many ways. always there like shadows or the manifold miniscule disappointments you encounter each day. it is solid in feel but also amorphous. it has a way of flowing into this and that, becoming one thing and while you hold it gently in your hands like a butterfly shaped rain-cloud, you look up to the sky and see it's raining on you in your hands is actually a treasure chest in the shape of a scorpion. what a confusion just to work out the answer to how're you feeling nowadays?

my Happiness smells like sadness. if you weren't reading carefully you might even miss it. might think i was always feeling the same way. this isn't true. only that Happiness is often the underground roots of a tree, and the flowers are blue and smile sad smiles and smell like sad jasmine so people mistake nostalgia or miss-you for sadness when really it's a deep deep deep Happiness even to love something soo greatly as to miss it (Martha, Mona, Ashtree, Jinab, Haifa, how sad it makes me to Happily love you all soo much).


we drive in the mistubishi with the air-con on and i select a range of cheesy 90's pop tunes to sing along to and we argue about the nature of alpha-males and misplaced religious fervor in the car and i smile to myself while playing puzzle-games on an iphone, dad, this is fun right? and he smiles soo Happily, like a million brutal alonenesses just got their well-deserved be-headings and he says very very very much fun. i imagine this same drive in a mustang. in a charger. a gran torino. in a bright yellow ford XA that sounds like the horsemen of the apocalypse blasting 90's trash-music down the middle of too brown deathbed of a fossil Australia with two generations of the same person half lost and reconciled for four hours on a car trip smiling Happily to one another calling it something soo petty and illusory as fun. (finally he says to me, seriously, Happiness son, is a serious matter. and i know immediately, that fun is a fairy floss that dissolves even if you spit at it).


i decide to try and write a story. the computer is not working for me, it just stares back me. it's too challenging. contesting every sentence. so i take a pen and open a notebook and scribble letters in it pretending for a few minutes that i am a different me, living in maybe Antwerp or New York or Florence as a famous typographer who designs fonts with names like little girl blue and white breasts, clouds and vanilla. but then i start writing a story about how terrible i am at writing stories. half down the first page i write a title i've been kicking around in my head for three years now 'Problems with This Story Include...'. when it is finished i am not pleased to find i've written another story about dropping/failing out of medical school, love, and the world for a year. about the flight from Vienna to Chicago. about what Mar said and how Mona picked me up and what Eman said at the airport in Chicago and all those... razor blades. i thought i was over all that i think.

then it occurs to me, it has nothing to do with 'being over'. writers are like receptacles for the past. it fills us. moments, times, names, stories, we absorb them and we become their puppet and their pillow case and it is simply not a matter of being able to forget what makes you. i am more fossil than man i suppose. so that when i write i speak in 27 years worth of languages and none of them makes sense to anyone but me.


one day i will write more frequently. and better. it will be everything i always wished i knew how to say. it would somehow cross the internet and the ocean and pseudonyms and it would reach the ears of the people who populated my stories. they would wake up in the morning knowing everything i wanted to say to them, and still think i'd like to say to them, and was always too small to say. they would know it the way you know the truth of some dream and the falsity of a lie even if you can't quite fess up to it. she's and he's everywhere would wake up in the morning and sense my words and hopes to them, as though whispered in their ears by me as they slept at their bedside reading softly with my cracked voice crackling and as they made coffee or poured orange juice in little girl blue it would be written in the sky,

one day i will be better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You make me cry in the best way possible. I read your blog out loud and choke on your words because I think you might very well speak my hearts language.

Don't ever stop writing.