I want to live openly and honestly with nothing to hide. I’m not sure that I’m living that way now. Reading a book for more than twenty minutes makes me so sad that I want to cry. Who am I hiding from? I don’t know what I’m going to do in one week, or two. I can’t answer a simple question at a party—one that I used to be so good at answering. “What kind of fiction do you write?” I don’t know. So apologetic when I speak of it. Am I hiding from myself? Maybe I don’t write fiction anymore. Maybe I don’t read fiction. Maybe I don’t write poetry. Maybe I don’t read poetry. Maybe I don’t read or write anything. Maybe I’ve forgotten how or why I ever did either. Maybe I don’t know who I am or where I live.
something about the light on this bus
noon in Toronto
the trees define the city
heat of the concrete
calm inside and air conditioning
lighting close and intimate
from the windows passing slowly
everyone coolly backlit
three women by the door stare out
the full length window, softly
pensive like green
a kind of resignation
“If you sit for many hours and look down at a book and then up at a city and then down at the book again, eventually the two blend into one, and there is no longer any difference between them.”
Susan Harlan at LitHub.
I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to write, to feel, to read. So much pressure that I haven’t done anything. I’m waiting for a moment to recover myself. There’s no future moment better than the current one. All moments are equally available. “Yet when the mind orders the mind, they are one and the same–and the command is not carried out.” (Augustine.) There is a “sickness of the soul,” the soul “weighed down by compulsions,” impeding the mind’s ability to move.
I don’t have a plan or an idea of how I’m going to live… I’m just living, from day-to-day, ruled by the wind breaking east-to-west, or west-to-east. I’m following the course of my little delivery van as it follows the desires of others, desires which are impossible to predict or perhaps even chart. The most that can be said of them is that they can be regulated, isolated in little windows of time–blocks of two hours to move from city to city.
But I’m not entirely dependent on others’ desire. I’m feeling desire myself. I’m following it. But I have not tamed the compulsions that have me turning in every direction, have not determined myself to go where I want to go. Until then I will continue to feel formless and aimless as a cloud.
I wish her friends would stop posting photos of her, looking radiant and happy, on my Instagram feed. Not that I begrudge her happiness. But I am jealous at the sight of her. I am confused by the fact. I feel slighted that she could be moving through the world without me. I don’t understand what I feel. I thought I did, but I do not. I thought I’d thought it all out. I moved on, sooner than her. Much sooner. Too soon. (Has she moved on?) I don’t regret moving on. I want to feel wanted and loved. With her I only inconsistently felt either. But I am also confused by a former partner who I didn’t want to leave asking me “André, how are you?”
That shouldn’t be confusing.
The I Ching tells me to find the answer in myself, through peace and inner reflection.
I don’t know what I am or where to find anything inside me.
I want help but I don’t want to think.
I have put myself in a pot of boiling oil and I am surprised that the oil is hot.
The longer I wait the hotter the oil gets.
I don’t know how to hold two things at once.
I want to wake up and find something and follow that somewhere.
I would like to follow something wherever it might go.
There is no deus ex machina but I would like it if there was one (so I could follow it home).
Instead of being careful I’m looking through a window, but the window is smeared with grease.
I keep expecting to see something outside the window.
There’s nothing outside the window and nothing is coming.
I don’t know who or what I’m looking for.
I maybe “rushed” the last ten thousand words of part two of the novel I’m rewriting now—put them together in a way that I’d been avoiding for a long time. Now I feel strained and empty and unsure. But it’s probably better to have done something than nothing, to advance the work rather than halt it in some hypothetical future manuscript.
I’ve been distracting myself too much, lately, and I think that changing habits might be the solution. In Dante, as in Milton, the mind is the prison, habits its administrators and guards. Sin is merely getting caught in an unwelcome action. Augustine’s friend who was fond of the games—so fond that he was in danger of wrecking his life. He managed to curb this habit until his old friends met him in the street and dragged him to the arena. He thought he could wait out proceedings, keep his eyes closed until it was done, but the roar of the crowd after a particularly gruesome execution piqued his curiosity and caused him to glance at the scene in front of him. So enflamed by the blood he saw spilled in the sand, he rose to his feet and began lustily cheering the rest of combatants on, louder than anyone else in the crowd.