writing about my life

The Writing Habit

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My memory has altered in its function lately. After my primal breakthrough where I gained access to a whole mass of old feelings from the past, I am slightly worse at recalling the immediate past, like the dealings of this current day. I regressed to a child, toddler and infant self. Now I seem to feel that I must rebuild my function to anchor me back in the present, so I plan to re-institute the habits of constantly working on memory training. In the spirit of gritty reality this may not be all easy, but I think I should persevere.

The eaves of the pine table at which I am typing now have an encrustation of bogies that have accrued for years. If I rub my hands over it I can feel a layer of dried mucus protein. I will keep this without cleaning them off, because I think anything that measures time is good. This layer of bogies is something I will call History, it carries a story and tells of the immense sequence of my days. To callously clean it and scrape off the strata would be a careless destruction of history, like the burning of books.

But with this alteration of time-sense comes additional effects. The way I create my words has changed and I think I see round ideas and issues slightly better. Also if you speculate about aging, it is possible to see that after a certain age you have generated most of the original thoughts you can, and thenceforth most of your thinking will be a repetition and recycling of that main hoard of ideas. I think growth is to stall this for as long as possible and to persist in going somewhere “new” each day.

Last night for several hours my nose was running, my breathing stertorous and my eyes were occasionally welling with tears. I felt more frail than usual. I’d drunk some whisky, and I watched two serial killer documentaries. (I can be honest about this forbidden pleasure because that is essential for the validity of this writing.) I think that in yielding to a sense of frailty ultimately I was becoming stronger, because if you never yield to frailty and are always fighting then that creates a brittleness. Strength is subtle.

But maybe the results of the primal breakthrough, where I am “in” feeling much more, need to be moderated also. I have neglected the habit of bringing myself back to the main train of thought I am on. This means that you can wander down a sidetrack of a sidetrack, and that sometimes this will lead you somewhere very new you’ve never been before. But there is a caveat because it also makes it more likely that you will get lost and not know where you are… So you have encountered a situation that requires a new strategy – you need to stay on the Royal Road when it suits but be prepared to wander sometimes on a whim too. This may have been a fixed habit that was weakening me, I had previously almost always insisted on staying on the main path. So I have to consciously remember this now.

It runs deep, this effect. It comes into conversational behaviour too. Many people as soon as they hit a sidetrack just forget the main topic that had been set by context and, living completely in the moment simply embrace the new topic and allow it to fill their headspace to the exclusion of everything else. Other more conventionally intellectual people want a conversation to be more like a thesis where there is a clearly marked direction of argumentation. Maybe this divides with women and men, although my view of women is perhaps prejudiced by knowing my mum and sister best, both of whom are very nonlinear imaginative, subjectively emphasised women who live through their senses a lot. They are both smart, but they are romantic rather than classical, dionysian rather than apollonian…

So all in all, since this breakthrough I am growing well, but I need to be cautious too. While a naive interpretation of Janov would be that all my writing and intellectual exploration was neurosis and a defense, I find that really I want to hang onto some of it. It gives me something to do (1), and also I feel that it is a bridge to the world and others, so it gives me a game to play which bears fruit as long as I can keep pushing for what I write and say to be read and heard.

another persistent issue has been that I am spread very widely across a large range of interests. Consistently every day or two (or more often) I will worry that I need to specialise somehow, then I will sense a counter argument and vacillate, wondering whether to choose the turning of consciously limiting my activities onto a given strand, or choose to remain a generalist and jack of all trades. Again as I write this I am sensing the forking road and again I am unsure. To write more will help this.

So at a given time when I am drinking coffee in my kitchen, I will remember how much I used to write before the breakthrough and I will feel a tingling desire to write lots for a while. Then my guts will threaten to play up and I will feel like I am trying to beat a path through mud, as if some titanic effort is needed to initiate a writing spell. Sometimes I will dream of obtaining Speed as a way to help myself focus. It is not physically strenuous of course, to write. But these days I do feel it is mentally strenuous in a different way. I am pushing through an all enveloping sluggishness, which requires major military force majeur to overcome, and somehow this effort itself brings on pain and illness. But I’m writing now so lets hope it sticks, after all once the gates are open and you are surfing on the resultant wave of expression all you need to do is stay on the surfboard.

These thoughts are joined to another lifetime concern. (I could call it an obsession but that’s self-cruel). It is that unless I get to write down thoughts they will be lost forever and all the wisdom and experience that they distill will be wasted. Maybe this is linked to a kind of fear of casting pearls before swine too. I am proud of my wordsmithery, and wish it to be valued. This then makes it strange that in a fit of the artistic temperament I deleted swathes of my writing including Renfield. But somehow I don’t feel remorseful about that because I am banking on doing some good stuff now and in the years to come. This is all very introspective, as you can see, but it has more than one purpose. It keeps me sane, and it may amuse others if i am lucky, as well as the third secret purpose. This secret I will now disclose… I wish to “seed” my being into the minds of my readers so my own existence becomes a wider phenomenon. We remember the dead and that is good. Their lifespans and the grounds of their being are enlarged because those who knew them carry an emulation, like a software program run on the main cores. Being remembered for all they are gives them continuity of a kind after death in the virtual space of all those who recall their life. In the same way I hope that you who listen to this wordstream retain an idea of me, and this ghost is ultimately an extension of me, so that like a weed I have spread my being-essence far and wide, and thus have increased the total amount of my aliveness.


Written by Luke Dunn

December 16, 2014 at 10:26 am

Posted in Prose

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