Flesh & Blood v. Fiction: Stepping Out of My Memory
11/1/2017: This post was the seed of all I’m doing now, which is finally coming closer and closer to fruition. It reads like a bummer, but it was positive, transformative. It kicked my ass into gear…
10/8/2015–I have notebooks and 3-ring binders upon more notebooks and 3-ring binders of my poetry, my story ideas and journal-style entries on scraps of paper, and barely born novels. All fiction or pieces of writing with themes that are not personal to me, in terms of life experience. I’ve struggled to bring those fictional worlds to fruition.
I’ve humored and argued with my muses. Massaged them, drank with them, smacked them around, cajoled and placated them. Over the years, my inspirations and synesthesia-driven internal landscapes slid beneath life’s obligations and the weariness of wordsmithing when crippled by the pressures of reality.
Now that I am writing again, fresh and in small pieces, I see that I am still on fire for the strongest talent I have. However, in this small moment of space that I’m filling with small, private words, I am hearing voices.
A quote from a recent journal entry, “I have to make myself sit down at some point and start the story. I am truly scared of it.”
Another quote, when the old computer broke down and took a few of my longer pieces with it. I had scraps of paper with scrawls left to me of the writings that were lost. I was desperate to find the pieces I needed to retain the memory of the ideas. I slept poorly the night that computer died and woke in the dark to a terror of losing my work, of not having the ability to write ever again.
The dream was scribbled at 4 AM, and it read: “I was very sad in my sleep, very sad indeed as I traveled through those tunnels while the majestic, magic dead followed. I warped and twisted, a cerebral rabbit sliding through the earth, through glowing, hallucinatory tunnels, flying, escaping. Finally, at the end of jumping, sliding and leaping through tunnels and tunnels and tunnels, I dove into the last–and could go no further. I ran face first, though gently, into dirt. My body was elongated, trapped. There was only earth; moist, cold earth, no lights, visions, or feelings of flying. I was not upset, simply sad. I lay there, face pressed into the end of the cold, damp tunnel and somehow, I could see behind me. Here the dead came. And all of my writing, moments, pieces, were gone.”
All of the detail of the world in my fragmented, proto-novel Eden — a world of broken glass, titanium, sweat, and transformation–never made me hurt and long for an end (or beginning) like the things I am remembering now.
It was mentioned by a fellow scribbler in a writing class that my memory seemed as if I had never left, as if I had just stepped out from it. This is very true. I cannot remember why I leave the house on a given morning nowadays or who I talked to the day before, but my mind’s eye sees my past with Hubble telescope precision, with depth and clarity.
I cannot say what I want from myself anymore. I think I’m being shown that my reality, combined with the dark and shivering magical realism of my escapist fantasies…that is what needs to be written first. Written now.
My future science fiction worlds have crumbled. They’re hulking barrows on the heath. The fiction is gone, the very real flesh and blood of my younger years is rising.
It feels rather like the opening of Jaws, a movie I can’t watch, horror maven that I am. The girl is in the water, naked and a little drunk. We all know it’s coming for her, we all feel it rise and weave, up through the water. She is surprised by the first bite, but we’re not because we felt it coming. I feel something coming up for me now, and all the clichés of water and the subconscious ring offensively.
I don’t want to torture myself. I get no pleasure from pressing burning cigarettes into my psyche. But I’ve realized that this all goes much deeper than undergrad bullshit writings, my only “theme” being the handing in of spectacularly half-formed ideas in order to sidestep the real issues. But, ridiculous as this sounds, the voices truly have taken over and I am writing honestly, scared to death, but exhilarated. If something needs to speak, it should.
But…who am I?
Am I only the sum total of my experiences, the ones I buried in the tunnels, or packed in boxes? Or am I more than that? I need to take stock.
What do I want to be?
I will never write the fiction if I don’t face, and write, the truth.
Why writing? For all the mouthing off, I was a mute child, especially when I hurt. My only voice came from a vibrant fantasy life and the pen.
We all have powers that define our place.
Even if writing fails me, it is all I have.