“In silent screams, and wildest dreams, I never dreamed of this.” – TS
Back to my faux death, the one where I tripped in the studio and drowned in a bucket of white slip: it’s interesting that near the start of this fall run of writing, I was thinking in terms of death metaphors. Not intentionally, but as if that back part of my brain was bubbling up the idea that some now-unncecessary part was peeling off; dying; draining away.
At the time, back in the +40s, which now feels like merely the prototype days of what this thing has become; and it wasn’t that long ago, but the time has been so compressed and intense, so much happening, so much internal change and revelation that it feels, sometimes, like years… and mostly good years.
Back then, when I came up with that bucket of slip gag — and it was intended as a fun joke, about why I needed one of you to show up and save me from my solitary ramblings in the studio, stretching into the night time hours, as I marveled at my ability and desire to keep making things at a time of day when I’d always just assumed it was too late — back then, I was imagining how I might cobble together a ‘dead man stick’ here for this blog; a switch that would self-terminate it if I just stopped logging in to WordPress for a month or two. Like a news agency composing obituaries for notable people while they’re still running around healthy, just so they are ready if it happens all of the sudden, I thought I could start at the ending and write the last post now; set up to autopost in the event that I just never came back.
I’m painfully wary of suicide and death metaphors, now; too close; too soon. But also; but still… some part peeling away. If that person who insisted on zombifying The Dream, and exhuming it, and staring into Oblivion, a handful of Alms waiting for the end to take them — if that person has been gone, consistently, a while now — “nobody’s heard from me for months” — then isn’t it like I killed him? Pushed him out of the pilot’s seat, at high altitude? Left him in the hole in the ground he’d dug for himself and furnished, with loving care, with all the trappings required to convince himself that he really deserved nothing better than to live out the rest of his days in a hole?
It really is like that person I’d become is gone. But I know he’d come back the second I allowed it. Old buckets of slip are lying around all over the place, waiting for me to faceplant into them. Try not to trip on anything obvious, at least.
You might remember how I killed off one blog — you know, tw@se, the one that people actually liked. I did it deliberately, coming back to give it a good send off at the very end, but only after I’d almost let it just lapse into oblivion; fade to nothingness. That’s how I felt then; that’s how I was then. I almost can’t look at that last picture of myself, now; reflected back in the studio window, surrounded by the dark, and the noise, outside. Man, that hurt.
I couldn’t imagine then being like this, now, and I really couldn’t imagine, then, turning that weekly attempt at self expression into this, where I just went ahead and said almost everything. It’s so much worse for you, dear reader; so much better for me.
“I feel like I might… sink and drown and die.” – TS
A little later — I could go look up the dates, but it doesn’t matter exactly when — I had that actual dream about piloting my craft into that frozen lake. It was shocking. I don’t think I’d ever dreamed my own death before; at least not that specifically or viscerally.
That crash. Jesus. Even after all that practice — in the dream, I was a seasoned veteran — I still couldn’t stop myself from cutting the margins until there was no margin left. When your ‘margin for error’ is zero, you next move is always an error.
(Like Viserion, in that show about fire and ice, I sank to the bottom of that arctic lake. Unlike him, there were no zombie hordes to pull me out, no Night King to reanimate me into the opposite of my former self. The slow, inevitable march of doom. I’m wondering if that Dream pilot, the one who kept risking everything for ever more marginal gains, if he needed to sink and drown and die all along; not the Dream itself. Or, as Witt once instructed me, if I just needed to find a new Dream, and believe it was worth continuing to imagine in the impossible. Supposedly impossible.
So maybe that guy, the “new” me who replaced the “old” me, whether that was ten or fifteen years ago, is dead now; vanquished by these tiny blue and white pills, as if it’s a tiny, daily magic trick that reveals a formerly hidden layer of reality. Maybe I didn’t need to Kill The Dream after all; maybe I needed to Kill The Dreamer Who Was Having That Nightmare.
“And I buried hatchets, but I come back to where I put ’em.”
“Everything means everything, Dan. That’s the problem!”
So no: I don’t know what I’m doing here. I mean — how the hell could I? Maybe it’s clear as Athena’s grace to you, from the outside, but it’s opaque as death to me.
I know that I’m stalling. I know that I’m going to do +99, and I’m going to take as long to make it right and good as it needs. I know it’ll probably be after my sale, which means still several weeks off, and that, while it was smart and good to set that arbitrary deadline, I’m likely going to keep writing, and wanting to keep posting, and so I’ll probably linger here in these fake dot revisions, and even keep going back and adding and revising the old, “published” ones (sorry, Witt!) as much as I need, or want, to. Call it what you want… to.
Going almost back to the beginning of my pottery blogging, I’ve loved setting up number systems and then wontonly breaking them when and where I see fit. It’s fun to connect the dots, and find patterns; it’s more fun to flaunt those rules and break them. I missed six, you missed six; sometimes we’re all so eager to think we know what the fuck is going on in the world, in our lives, in our minds, even — hilariously — in our deepest emotions, that we jump to seven as if it’s a magic number.
Spoiler alert: there are no magic numbers. It’s all just arbitrary markings on the wall of this particular cave we find ourselves in together; ways of demarcating and annotating the time we’ve got left until that woman who escaped [because, again, why does it always have to be a guy?] comes back with the light to show us how our reality is just shadows.
One thing I know is that I’ve skipped watching TV, at night, before bed, more in the last forty or so days, since that day when Everything Has Changed, than in the previous… Oh, let’s say, decade. I almost never read, or need to read, The New Yorker, by the light of my bedside lamp, to turn off those last troubling thoughts of the day and sink into sleep; as I’d done for at least twelve years, and maybe more like twenty. More input at that time of day is now the last thing I want; even when my brain is so tired it’s practically hallucinating. There are too many ideas in here already. But I keep feeling the need, sometimes desperately, on a daily, and sometimes almost hourly, basis, to get them out; to play and sing and dance and write and write and write, down to the bones. Thanks, Natalie.
Back in mid-October — when I thought I was already cranking out words pretty hot — ha! — even two posts a day and a writer’s block wasn’t enough. I had to revive my paper journaling habit; of pretty much daily spilling out everything; the entire truth; if you want to know that story, look for the cheap notebooks with the colorful covers. But trust me, you really don’t. (Also, it’d only be proper to ask my permission, first. I’ll probably say yes, because you know how I am about wanting careful readers.) There, I write — now — with no worries about someone else finding it; reading it; what they might think, what ideas it might loose out into the world. I worry, a bit, about them failing to burn it with me in the cremation kiln some day, [hopefully long from now] [wow, there’s a change] [!], as per my request. And that rediscovery of self in pen and pencil somehow seems to connect this new me back to who I was at 17 or 25 or 32. Not that any of those guys had “it” figured out, or that I’d want to go back and be them again. But they knew one thing, which is that I’ve always wanted to put words down, to get them out of my head; that there’s not anything wrong with writing for twenty minutes before you can wedge that first piece of clay, or for an hour before you can tackle the day’s chores, or for three hours, all told, by the time you circle back to bed. [No, autocorrect, I did not mean to type “circle back to dead”, but wow, are you learning my tendencies. Like a kid who missed six and now reads like her life depends on it, you are helping map my terrain, and I’m grateful.]
Oh lordy, now what am I gonna do? [Maybe try 7.5? Duh.]
So I guess when there’s a firehose of inspiration coming in — nonstop streaming from that unseen radio station in the sky. Or gifts from The OA, from where she sits, over my shoulder, back where the guest potters’ shelf is in the show/writing room; laughing behind her hand, like it’s the best joke in the world, but one she’s not supposed to tell, or to find funny in present company; starry eyes sparking up my darkest night; so gorgeous can’t say anything to your face. Because look at that face. Or the beneficence of Hermes the Messenger, or Hera, the divine Mother. Or downloading at warp speed over that super secure terminal connection to VALIS, or Vishnu or von Wittgenstien or. I guess once you have that on tap, that much coming in, you need more than a garden hose of expression going out.
Every living system needs homeostasis. I’m glad I’m still among the living systems. Because being almost entirely dead fucking sucked.
“And losing grip, on sinking ships, you showed up just in time.”