We have a complicated relationship, you and I. For the longest time I denied you. Held you out of my life as a demon, a mistress of whispered blisses and joy-blind slides down torn and turgid tracks. I heeded the authoritative klaxons, was even awarded for their echo. I was, as defined, good.
I saw you, sure, saw your smirk upon the faces of my friends, your scent on their fingers, turned tightly through their hair, leeching from their pores. I saw your scattered path upon the grass. I wouldn't walk there, though. Not for anything.
Curiosity is a hard thing to brook. When possibility lingers there, always just off the end of your fingers, the current it conjures can overwhelm. So I dipped my toe in the water. I let you whisper on my lips. I didn't feel anything. Not hot, not cold, not happy, not sad. Merely throat burned and muddled, confused. "That's what I was missing, what I was being warned away from? I don't feel anything."
"It's common, the first time, not to. Try it again."
I did. I kissed again.
"This! This is what I was missing! This is what they warned me about? This?!"
I'd been hoodwinked. Again and again I walked that foggy path, our fingers entwined, and again and again I did not die. Didn't ache, didn't hurt, didn't crave through clenched teeth or turn toxic in my need. It wasn't anything but a key to a door I didn't know was there, a door to your little chamber inside myself, a room with a particular sort of view.
It was a beautiful bloom.
We met in parking lots. In alleys and between dumpsters. In rooms with toweled doors and scented candles. Even, when we were feeling frisky, out among the open skies. We were lovers without a love nest, making do with where we were, what we had, who we were. We were young. We were in love.
It has been a rocky romance. You've cost me, dear, cost me more than you've ever paid. You became not merely a jealous lover but a crutch, a method for coping with a world that, whether through your tint or not, I do and can not know, looked harder and harder to exist within. But you were there. Your arms were always open and always so inviting, so warm to the touch, so tender upon the lips. You made it easy, or at least easier.
What one doesn't notice, however, when they depend upon a crutch, is how they tend to atrophy toward its continued use. You were so easy to love that you grew hard to set aside. I brought you everywhere with me, all the time. You were always on my mind, a peach whose nectar flavored everything in reach until the only thing I tasted was your honeyed lips upon my own. I was lost in bliss. And I have to find my way out.
See, here's the thing: It's not you, it's me. I can't go on like this, living like you and I are all there is. Because we're not. I'm not. I'm so much more than this, than our little corner of this great big world. And I'm holding myself back, if only to be with you. I can't anymore. I'm sorry.
Look, we knew it would be this way. That it couldn't be forever. I set dates, drew lines, and yet broke them and crossed them to be with you and you alone. But I can't any longer. This can't go on. It has to end here.
We'll go our separate ways, you and I, walk our separate paths where they diverge, here, at the tips of our toes. I'll walk along a while, feeling our ways wander apart across each passing mile. I'll be alright alone. I will.
I won't say I won't miss you. That I won't look back. But I must be Orpheus and you my Eurydice. You must stay and I must trudge on, alone, and even empty a while, but whole again.
Goodbye, proud Mary, goodbye.
Two items jumped out at me today while sifting my RSS feeds (though a more apt descriptor should really be applied, in that it is an addictive behavior) (injecting? scarfing? smoking?) today.
Item the first: From the NY Times blog Freakonomics (in turn from the writers (and others) of the wildly successful book of the same name), this article, with the soul stomping headline: "The Burden of Incarceration: 1 in 28 Kids Have a Parent Behind Bars". You don't even need to click before it hurts. One in twenty-eight?
Imagine your high-school English class. Pick one of those cherubic faces from the crowd. The frail blond boy in the back, scribbling on the cover of his Mead notebook, adding shadows and depth to his daydream doodling. Or the pretty girl sat up perky in the front row, her tight knot of auburn hair held firm under a plastic claw, or pinned in place with a pair of chopsticks, eyes darting from her notes to the board to the teacher, trying so desperately to take it all in. Imagine them waking up every morning, coming home every afternoon, going to bed every night, aware of and aching over a mom or dad-sized absence in their lives. One less pair of arms to hold them in their sorrow, to smooth away the pain, to embrace them in their triumphs. One in twenty-eight.
Item the second: From the Christian Science Monitor, this gem: "'Feds Radiating Americans'? Mobile X-ray vans hit US streets". Now, aside from the admittedly fearmongery headline, I'd like to know just who decided that this passed the Fourth Amendment sniff test and went ahead with the roll out of these vehicles. Which bureatchnick thought this was OK? And does anyone know where one buys feathers or tar in quantity?
I'm sorry for ruining your day. When the spouse asks who got you all riled up, you can tell 'em it was Josh's fault. And then send them on over to see for themselves.
So, just under two months, huh? And nothin? God am I terrible.
So here's the thing: I haven't had much to say. This blog sort of functions as my own tiny little publishing house, an open forum for the presentation of the crap that comes "gushing forth" from my brain hole. And that tap has run dry.
Now, this isn't to say that I don't still have opinions about things, or things I'd like to say. What it means is that I haven't had anything to express that I necessarily think I need to foist off upon the masses (Heh, masses. There's some wishful thinking).
I do have a review sitting in the hopper that should get pushed out pretty soon, and if I can think a little more cogently on it, a sort of semi-manifesto/self-criticism that is also in a draft stage. Also I'm working on cleaning up a short story that I'll publish here (for free!) before I start foisting it around for sale.
So, you know, maybe keep an eye out?
So it's been nearly two weeks without content. I am a terrible host.
Another part would be my pronounced procrastination and apathy. I'm not into the rhythm of updating and any excuse not to is enough to allow myself to slip. I'm working on it. I hope I'm getting better.
However! In the next week I should have a new essay up, a review of a ridiculous foodstuff, and other interesting tidbits to share. Heck, maybe I'll even pull in a reader or two.
I can't promise daily content. I know myself too well for that. But there will be content, and I hope you enjoy it with me.
Less than a week in and I nearly blew the whole operation! I wrote nearly 1000 words of a draft, but they aren't the right ones yet, so that got shelved. Instead you get this status report-y filler post.
I managed to finish the home page background image today, as well as learn the code I'll need to implement it. Now I just need the header image and a few stylistic pieces and we're in business. Also, once I settle on the header I can take a crack at a color scheme that's more exciting than the current B & W. In the process I also retaught myself Photoshop, which was...interesting.
Hopefully by midweek everything will be coded and moved server-side. Until then, it's back to the grind.
With a short break, that is, to see if I can make something palatable out of this:
So. Here's the deal. I've been trying to think of something to post about most of the day that wouldn't take too long to throw together, but everything I want to say is on the aspirational side, which therefore kills any progress I'm making on site beautification, which is currently a process of learning two-three new languages and at least two new skills.
So instead I'll post about not posting. Nyah.
Well, I got a bunch of pictures taken today. Meaning I hauled around lights and props and cameras and stands and set it all up. And then I set both cameras' delay timers, slid into position, tried to look presentable, and hoped for the best.
Self-sufficiency is a mofo. Just ask that guy who tried to replicate a $5 Walmart toaster from scratch. There are some serious benefits to social interaction and large-scale economies.
With any luck, at least one of the photos will give me enough to work with. And with just a bit more luck, this place will start to feel lived in.
So, in the process of trying to make this blog appear both spiffy and unique, I've thrown myself into the deep end of web programming. Well, really more like the shallow end as far as aptitude or agility go, but I am thoroughly soaked in it.
I find myself picking up on some of the structural ideas, the sort of framework at work behind what I need to be doing, but man, I haven't felt like this since high-school. Even then the most I coded were a hundred or so lines of BASIC, maybe played around with HyperCard a bit. I took a C++ college course my senior year of high school but ended up skipping it most days for various flights of fancy. Ever since I have dipped my toes in various wells of code, only to jolt back at the shock of it. This time, though, I didn't bother testing the waters. This time I jumped right in.
Good lord let me not drown.
It's a question pulled into the fray by the evolving nature of our times and our culture. What is Art? And has there ever been a definitive definition agreed upon by all? Sure, maybe there have been majority opinions on just what art is, but unless the opinion is unanimous, it cannot be considered definitive. And why unanimous? Because of what art is for.
Ostensibly, art has no other reason for creation but its own need for existence. When it is created, there may be motive behind or influence towards its creation, a sort of impetus, whether from without or within, at work behind art's genesis. But ultimately, art is the result of expression, the end result of framing thought and emotion and the raw negentropy at work within the human mind. It is the end product of our human impulse, an impulse that also leads to conspiracy theories and optical illusions, to create order out of a disordered universe. Art is a form of order. It is a way for expression to be made whole, whether through words, read or recited, images or objects, in any number of dimensions, actions, whether bounded or not, sounds, of any source, style, or arrangement, or experiences, of the physical or mental nature. Even this extremely open ended definition of artistic creation surely excludes an array of differing ways in which art is made. The key, however, to all artistic expression, is order and not, at least in my opinion, appreciation.
The appreciation of art is merely a byproduct of its observation. By interacting with art (and all art, as inviting or repellant as it aims to be, is in some manner interactive) we are able to have our own personal entropy ordered, if only for the briefest of moments, in the manner of another's conception. We look at a Picasso and share his struggle with what it means to see. We listen to jazz, experiencing the distillation and synthesis of the beat and the tremor and the timbre, raw and immediate. We read the poetry of a Baudelaire and experience what Stephen King so accurately relayed in his On Writing as the magic of time-delayed telepathy, smelling the grit and smoke and musk of Paris in another age, though all we have are words. Art is, from the creator and to the observer, a way of conveying order upon a disordered world. What appreciation of art is, is our judgment, whether personal or societal, of whether the effect art has on us is correct, in any manner of "rightness," at a moment in time. We can turn up our noses at a urine-submerged crucifix or gasp in wonder at a painting made of a woman rallying atop a pile of fresh corpses. The important point is that this appreciation is a value inherent in the observer, but that the observation comes after the creation of art. Whether one likes it or not, art is still art. The question of appreciation is that which is argued over and over again. Art is still art, whether you like it or not.
So, being as this is the dirty beginning of my blog (as well as my writing career) it feels a little like I'm sitting at the mouth of a cave, shouting into the dark, vast, hollowness. The only words that I hear are those in return, a caucophony of echoes in familiar timbres.
And I'm alright with that. For a long time I've been living a socially hermetic existence. My only real connections to any but my family are through social frameworks: school, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I'm living in these artificial networks, trying to cull from them a human experience in quips and asides. It works, kinda.
I applied to grad school seeking the same sort of thing, a community to belong to, of the like-minded and driven. And then I got shut down by all ten schools. So now what?
Now I turn around. Rather than face the cave, I face the world. Instead of being greeted by my own voice, I am empowered by it, its self-same echoes only adding strength to the message. If I'm real lucky, other voices will build in the cavern behind me, tuning and toning the message, the voice. If not, I know I'm capable of solo performances. This time, however, it will be a sole voice to a sole end, made outward, into the open air.
So, yeah, that's how I feel.