I have noticed over my life that just as any dream gets closer to a real possibility, moving ever so slightly from the far away place I store them neatly…I panic! This is nothing new to myself and the recognition of the behavior, that to my closest friends and family is less than shocking, I am sure. However, what does seem to growing in intensity are the extremes in which I am willing to participate in and create. Knowing each task and battle are merely the result of the procrastination and distraction I have always used as my safety net put off the “work”.
The “prologue” to my most recent delay of all I should have done yesterday is as follows and the catalyst my brother Joe. More accurately the death of Joe. He was seventeen months younger and we were best friends from the word go. He died two and a half years ago at the age of thirty and the continual waves of emotion have yet to cease in their constant crashing upon the shores of my life. The ebb and flow of loss and the repeated reminders of loss. Death I assume in general serves many with the perfected excuse to retreat from life with a validity no one can question. I am also sure everyone would have to feel their loss as greatly as I do Joe’s. He has in death become the perfect tangled and tormented web that in hindsight seems almost needed for any writing life.
Death is my excuse to write, as how can the world expect me to function without first writing pages and pages of suffering all the while cursing the universe for all it seems to have unfairly cast upon my life and what will serve as the greatest tale of love and loss that was ever done. Words that I must compose. A tangible representation of my desperate need to release the angst waging war upon my creative soul.
After hours that feel like days when my mind and my heart are able if no other reason the for the sake of exhaustion call a temporary truce. Finding a momentary peace that brings me to take surveillance of my disheveled office. Coffee cups, Kleenex, an overflowing ashtray, jelly beans and papers, papers everywhere. I try to focus and take account of the time that is now lost on what I am not sure? Startling through the kaleidoscope of my grief, my gift, my bad habits and my fragmented dreams. I am then once again forced to take into account the nothingness I have accomplished yet unexplainable seems necessary to write “my book”.
I hate that part, the admittance of one’s own bad behavior, for I know better but I never beat myself at the wasting time war. It is then by the routine of my clearly admitted routine, I will exhaustively wad all the scattered pages of loose paper within an arms length into a ball, a makeshift pillow providing just enough comfort to allow the timeout required to even get off the floor. All pathetic and quite dramatic when I force myself to write it out. Yes, death is an excellent excuse to write and even a decent reason for needing to nap in the fetal position on the floor surround by chaos that must be the twin space of the view inside my head and heart.
Death is my excuse not write. For how could I possible feel like writing? Why would I even turn the computer on or pick up the pen? To give permission for the blank darkness swimming in the pools of sadness that supply the constant stream of tears that soak my face and stain my pillows? To allow his death to not only take his physical presence from my life, but leave me consumed with the massive “rebuild” project. An insurmountable task I have somehow become lead foreman on in order to put the remaining players of my family’s game of “Life” back together.
Yes, death allows me to be too busy to write and clearly justified in all the words that no longer easily and fluidly flow. A direct consequence of the truth that my belief in all of humanity has been shaken to its core and what does any of it matter anyway?
Death is the most perfect “byline” we have ever been given, clearly in the worst of ways but a heart wrenching topic none the less. Death is the mask in which we can safely hide behind. Deeming no one worthy to judge our erratic behavior. Behavior that at times seems to be 80% mad, 20% brilliant the combination equaling 100% selfish abandonment and justifiable insanity. Death gives us the reason we are different from others. We perceive ourselves to have slight advantage, for a less than desirable circumstance of course, but we are different now, we are changed.
Perhaps I imagine I have become slightly more complex, carrying now an added dimension of life, that I can call upon to as it suit my any given need. I also believe that death adds a layer that surrounds us and we somehow become less approachable. Both notions nothing more than my perception of the wake I am left to tread within. All very self indulging, cliche and impractical to productive living. But what if ever an added “something” could truly be attested to as the advantage of loss? Maybe its not a completely one-sided affair. What would I find upon the crumbled papers if ever I happened to look?
The original outline in my head for the context of this blog is what I now must admit nothing of what it began. My intention when I sat down was to compose an apology of sorts for the procrastination of yesterday that I transformed into another chapter of an unending story that is the perpetual heartache of loosing Joe.
However, two things are now clearer than before I began this morning. One death is really just an untouchable form of what it means to be a writer living the writing life. It is as we are…. unpredictable. Erratic emotions , thoughts and speech in which the reason and the question “why” can never really be asked nor understood.
Death is the rough draft of the soul. Both strips us down to bones and makes us examine the content locked deep within. Death is lonely and individual to us all yet can be felt and shared with many, eerily similar to the process and product of writing.
Death and writing seem to be he purest reflection of true love, and memories. A mirror that reveals our tiniest scars and our greatest of strengths. In death as in good writing there is nowhere to hide… all that we are, once were, will be, and never did become.
Yesterday I used Joe as an excuse to not to write. To delay the structured need to put words on paper. Refusing to rotate the key able to unlock my dreams. The key that would advance my reality one click closer to opening the door. The door containing my heart’s longing, and the only desires that never leave my thoughts.
However, from a momentary delay sparked a fire and the striking match that was my yesterday, today I am able to use the soot to stain the pages full of words today. Aware now that it is the light of the flame within, that illuminates our every aspect, ideas and realizations. Out from the blackness of my grief that is perhaps lessening with each dying ember. Allowing me to clearly see what is and has always been salvageable starring back at me from my screen.
Yes, death and writing are more alike than just twenty minutes ago I ever paid any attention to. They are both an excuse to live deliberately. To live with an aura of intent, in which no one can question. We feel protected behind our “right” to explore, to behave and to process the minutes that make up our days.
The darkest of times leading to the eventual brightening of our world from all allowed ourselves to seek. Death and writing both give way to authentic living and reflection with perceived need for justification to anyone else. It has been my experience that the world is for the most part misguided and fearful, as well as silently intrigued and curious in almost the same way about both death and writers.