I’ve been diverting a lot of my time and energy to working on my novel lately. I had thought, around Christmas, that I would commit to posting every day in the new year, as a way of honouring my faithfulness to writing. But then it dawned on me that my novel draft was written, and I got excited to type and revise it. And then I found out there was a novel writing contest whose deadline was yesterday, and I got excited to prepare a submission. And then I submitted, and got excited about typing and revising again.
I’ve still had lots of ideas emerge that I’d like to post about, but the novel train simply has more momentum right now. As much as I love click-clacking my words into this particular box, I don’t have any notion of where, in particular, it could take me. Meanwhile, my novel, I think, may have legs, and a destination in mind.
Immersing myself in writing in the way I have been these past few weeks has been an exaltation. At a level rivalled only by one other point of light in my life.
It’s a relief to find that exaltation in an activity that is not tied to somebody else. To be free to indulge in the majesty of it – the divinity of it – without worrying it creates a burden upon another. To be able to fully invest myself in the power of it, not needing to hold back for anybody’s sake. I have been waiting for this for a long time. Yet it was right there all along. Glaringly obvious, surely, to anyone with half a brain cell.
It gives me hope that there are other forms of exaltation waiting for me. Forms that will open and welcome me, inviting me to give myself to them in reckless abandon. It gives me hope that my life will, in fact, deliver to me all the things I have been dreaming of.
That is quite an incredible feat, and not something I expected in the first half of January 2022. But there we are.
Sometimes, I look in the mirror and think FUCKING HELL, I’M FUCKING GORGEOUS! The world should be expressing endless gratitude for the privilege of gazing upon my fucking splendour, so magnificent is my visage!
Then, other times, I let out an involuntary vocalisation as I am physically accosted by my own tired, grey appearance. I wouldn’t say I recoil in horror, exactly, but I’m somewhere in that region. My reflection is jolting. I look amusingly bad.
The other day, though, I thought if I were an animal, I’d be a Tibetan wolf. And then I thought no, that’s the wrong animal. And then I googled it. And then I thought if I were an animal, I’d be a Tibetan fox.
I went to a silent art auction last night at a local university, amidst a raging British storm. That is, a fairly-mild-by-all-accounts-but-exciting-to-us-folk-who-don’t-experience-real-storms storm. My friend had submitted a piece and so we turned up to represent. It was unexpectedly packed to the brim with art students. Not that we had any idea what to expect, but it was bustling. Decidedly COVID-unsafe. And we were most definitely outsiders, but I doubt anyone was paying attention.
We made a circuit of the corridor where the pieces were displayed. My friends made a few bids. I did not. And then, as we were nearing the end of our lap, a man walked in. Floppy hair, undercut, self-effacing demeanour – yeah I’m into it. Our lap took us past him and, after a couple of mutual glances, I suspected he was into it too. He changed his trajectory to hover near me. Fucking palpable. The thing is, I am alarmingly age-blind, and I thought it best to make the assumption that he was, in fact, undergraduate age. So, when somebody wanted to get past me, I took the oportunity to spook, and headed back to the safety of my group. We continued to orbit each other loosely. A few more demure glances. Indecision. And then my friend made the let’s leave gesture, and we were gone.
I now regret this. I feel I have unfinished business. The tension remains unresolved. My mind is looking for ways to resolve it. I want to find out what I was into. Because, the truth is, I’m not often into it these days. I wish I had pulled the thread with a spirit of curiosity. Who is he? What could I have learned?Where could it have taken me?How long is the thread?
I think part of the problem is that I am many-times-burned by this inexplicable pull towards people. I don’t trust myself to handle it with grace. I love it in theory, but in practice it feels dangerous. But that was a past self, who consistently misinterpreted and overblew the pull. I have a much healthier conception of attraction at this point. I need to figure out how to exercise it because, as it is, I’m cutting off a really delightful part of life. Pulling the thread would be so much more fun than ignoring it.
I’m laughing at myself a little bit because I just read the first lines of my last post and realised that, even in my correction, I still only went as far as saying in an ideal world I could create the school that I want to send my son to; not that it already exists. But I guess that sounds about right. I don’t know whether it’s flagging control issues, ego or just not wanting to be left out, but it sounds about right.
As exciting as it would be, though, I am too perpetually exhausted to be doing a good job of a project that big. Oh. but wait, in an ideal world, I get a solid eight hours. I keep forgetting the brief. Still, we can take it further, and we should. That’s how we get to the heart of things – by pushing past the edges.
In an ideal world, everything we have collectively learned over our time on this Earth would be harnessed to tailor education to each of our children’s individual needs and potentials, and as parents we would be actively involved in this ever unfolding process, because the value of raising children would be elevated above what we currently consider productivity. Is that better?
It’s useful to think about what we want. What we really want. You know, outside of our self-imposed limitations. Outside of what we’ve learned to accept is possible. If we could have anything, what would it be? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have to push yourself beyond your first few answers before you get to the truth. Before you even get close to scratching the itch of your deepest ambitions. Or even begin to perceive the full extent of your vision.
Like most of us, I imagine, I’ve spent a lot of my life learning from pain. At times, from exquisite, searing, unbearable pain. I was rewarded for that, it felt like, with the reprieve of spending the last few years exploring and uncovering things that actually feel good to me instead.
But, see, as we discovered yesterday, I’ve been keeping a secret. That secret being that I still believe the thing I’m not supposed to believe.
And the better things feel, the closer I get to that thing I believe that I’m not supposed to believe. Because that thing literally unlocked ecstasy for me. That thing is the source of All Good Things for me. But it’s not supposed to be.
My joy takes me somewhere I’m not supposed to go. Just like my certainty takes me somewhere I’m not supposed to go. So I simply do not let myself go all the way there.
For the past few years, I’ve been free of almost all the pain tied up in my joy, and I’ve even had ecstasy just a well-placed thought away. There should have been nothing stopping me. And yet I’ve refrained. I’ve declined bliss. I’ve passed on exaltation. Not completely, by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve been, how you say, edging. I never go all the way. I stop short.
Do you think that’s why, for the past three years, if I get sufficiently sexually aroused, I sneeze? Because I’ve been trying to figure that shit out for ages.