How To Not Write

(this is a bit of an older piece, very rough, but honest. I’ll post up old work occasionally, because I think it’s important to show every side of myself in my work.)

I’ve learned how easy it is to not write. To get caught up in the constant stream of stuff that bombards me. To get sucked into the endless grind of arguing and saying stupid stuff, getting roasted by people, listening to their extremely weird arguments.
There’s a certain calm that washes over me when I’m not writing. It’s a weird thing. I’m able to disconnect with myself, detach from the current reality. In that space there’s nothing but brain static, a sort of calming background noise that foregrounds itself and takes over completely. I can simply disappear into the swirl of content and tweets, facebook and tumblr posts, pointless videos and podcasts about nothing in particular. When I’m in that space, there’s no emotion—there’s just me, the computer screen, and the constant hit of my pleasure centers.
When I write, when I try to block everything out, I’m panicked. I’m in the moment. I’m forced to reckon with the person that I am in that moment. It’s just me and the page, in a conversation. We’re attempting to communicate with one another, doing our best to simply see one another reflected in these words, across that space.
To write, to me, is to be terrified. It is an overwhelming thing. I am profoundly alone when words are being put on the page, and the thought of having to live with myself in that isolation, that sort of cold loneliness, blocked off from existence in a profound way, terrifies me. It’s an elemental thing. At the base of my brain, past all of the things that make and animate ideas, past even that primordial firmament that I shape like some sort of miniature Demiurge, there is a terror. It is a terror borne of need, of a desire to reach out. To shout. To scream from the void. It is the terror of living in fear of being silent. To quell that fear, I must write. To not write is to invite that terror to manifest in reality as a monster that will consume me, make me silent, make me artless, push me into the endless comfort that my brain static provides.
I cannot imagine a life where I am not making art. And now that I’ve discovered writing, I cannot imagine a life where I am not writing. Writing, putting words on the page, communicating myself to others, giving them worlds in words, that is all I want. I simply can’t countenance an existence where that is not true.
Terror drives me. Terror feeds me. Terror lurks in the corner when I’m writing, whispering. It says that comfort is away from the page.
I’m not ready to give into that terror. I must write. To not write is to invite death. An artist who does not create is not an artist, they are simply someone who is imagining art. The daily horror of existence is dulled by art. It is, in its own way, a pleasurable activity. It can be frustrating, enervating, and hopeless at times, but at its core it is rejuvenating. To work through all of the problems, to figure them out, to simply gaze upon work that is done, no matter how meager or subpar, means that particular thing is solved. What dogged you is now not doing so. There is freedom in that.
What I’m doing is running. I’m doing my best to stay one step ahead of the darkness that threatens to swallow me whole. If I stumble, it moves closer, and that darkness is the death of my artistic self. It’s a thing that stifles me, squelching all of my ideas and positive energies. When it pulls me in, I’m adrift in a sea of black, fumbling for meaning in a meaningless void—not very different than living, but in this particular void my mind is quiet and still, unmoving. I am unmoving, unable to simply reach out and paddle to the surface. Down there, it is all microcosmic bits of useless information, pieces of data that don’t connect to anything, and simply beg to be experienced and filed away for future use as a way to numb myself to the constant, crushing, stifling reality that I’m not writing.
To write is to be engaged with the possibility of moments. To write is to be fully immersed in experience. Art itself is like that, too. Distraction that doesn’t serve is death. Inability to focus is death. To make art, you must do simply that: make art. Ideas come from everywhere else, and they are animated by the work. That’s all. When you work, when you make art, you access those ideas and form them, shape them, connect them, place them in a sequence that pleases you. That is art. That is what you’re doing. And what that requires is committing to the work in the moment. Putting out everything.

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