Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Turned On the Faucet. This Came Out.

It's funny. What's funny? I don't know. That's just the first thing that popped into my head. I was wondering what to write, somewhat concerned that nothing was coming to mind, and's funny. That's what popped into my head. Come to think of it, I just repeated myself. I said popped into my head twice. Why did that happen? How did it happen? Oh, shit. Does it really matter one way or the other, why or how? Is it going to affect my future, wondering about that? I don't know. Which is why determining the worthiness of spending time wondering about it is either much or little, depending on the moment. Depending on the moment. Shouldn't it be depending on the moments? No, probably not. Moment to moment, that's what it depends on. There's no need to pluralize that which needn't be so.

Needn't be so. That sounds somewhat archaic. I read too many older things, maybe. Too much or too little, because the writing today often pales in comparison to what was written in the past. Take Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work about the Great Boer War. I spent about 20 minutes today perusing that on my Kindle for Mac, and the only thing that caused me to cease my reading was...well, my memory is fuzzy on just what it was that inspired me to stop. It could have been hunger, or thirst, or a need to pee. Hell, it could have even been a hard-on. I'm not really sure. And the funny thing is...heh, it's funny...that at the time of this writing, the moment - oh, there's a connection - I speak of took place just a short time ago. Just a few hours, ago. Why did I put that comma there? Fuck if I know. I don't know myself half as well as I think.

Anyway, what was I saying? I digress. No, I wasn't saying that. I digressed, that's it. So anyway, I was reading the author of Sherlock Holmes' work about South Africa. I bought it months and months ago, while I was still in Coree du Sud. Wait, why the fuck did I just write South Korea in French? What purpose does that serve? What does it add to the narrative. Wait, is this a narrative? Wait, why the hell am I saying wait so much? Okay, back to the story. Doyle's words regarding the failings of British policy in southern Africa don't read like a modern history narrative. They might as well be a novel, for the way that they collectively enrapture me, instill in me a desire to keep on reading until something or other - again, I can't remember what - distracts me enough that I decide to pull myself away from the book and abandon it for a while.

Distractions. They're interesting, aren't they? Of course they are, otherwise they wouldn't distract us to begin with. They wouldn't command our attention. Mind you, when I started writing this bit about distractions, I was meaning in the more general sense that they are interesting. The very act of being distracted isn't so strange, but that we get upset about it. We're told we need to focus, focus, focus, keep our eyes on the prize, maintain our trek toward whatever the goal may be. But like I said, distractions are interesting. And perhaps even more interesting is what it is that distracts us, as I said before. I, for one, am particularly distracted by a woman's pretty face, or - as is just as often the case - the bust situated just beneath it. I can't be honest? You want me to say a woman's face is all I look at?

But see, just there I was distracted. I wasn't thinking about me, but about you. What do I care what you think, about what distracts me? The saying might be, judge not lest ye be judged, but we all do it anyway, and file an least, in our minds we do. We know, or think we know, when we're being judged, and we rush to defend ourselves. Why? How well do those who are judging us know us? Not that well. So when I write about how cleavage manages to distract me even in a bookstore - where not much besides is able to easily disrupt my attention - there's a part of me that knows that whoever is reading this has suddenly come to certain conclusions about me that may or may not be accurate. They certainly aren't the whole story, those conclusions. So why do we care so much that they're being made?

Alright, enough of that. I'm not a philosopher, I don't need to try to answer questions others who believe they are philosophers spend plenty of time worrying about on their own. I think for myself, of course, but ultimately the bigger questions about why we worry about what we worry about don't affect me all that much. The questions don't get in my way when I'm reading a book. They don't normally bother me when I'm watching TV. They stay out of my line-of-sight when I'm wandering around a tourist attraction. Obviously, they pop into my head - there it is again - when I'm writing, but that's what happens when you lift off the bridle of the mind and just run with it. Thoughts you'd rather not have but aren't ashamed to have force their way into your consciousness, and if you're in the process of writing, they're added to the evidence.

The evidence of what? The evidence of the writing, of course. The tangible, readable shapes you now see before you. They are evidence that, one way or another, I have been thinking. Maybe I haven't been thinking all that profoundly, but then, who needs to think profoundly except those who believe they have to think profoundly? My reputation - such as it is - doesn't depend on any such notion. I could think about banal, vulgar things, and then write about them, for days on end. Well, not literally for days on end. I'd need to sleep, eat, shower, brush my teeth, masturbate, drink water, drink juice, drink beer, etc. And when you get right down to it, I probably wouldn't be able to keep up the banal thread for long. Sooner or later, I'd involuntarily try my hand at profundity again, realize I don't need to, and then write about it all.

What in that last paragraph, that preceding collection of words combined into sentences, sticks out at you right now? Don't think too much about it. Just think, and say. Well, think it, at least, 'cause I can't hear you and if you're talking out loud to yourself there's a good chance you'll have some explaining to do later. As for me, what sticks out is...well, fuck. I don't know. I'm not sure what there is to remember in that last paragraph, whether there's anything in there that I should be remembering more than any other thing accompanying any other thing. I just kind of repeated myself, but I don't care and didn't mean to do it. I, well...fuck it. I actually want to talk about something else, but damned if I can think of what. I'm not in command of this process. It's just happening, flowing freely, like the Nile, the Jordan, the Han. Rivers.

Rivers! That's what I can talk about. I can talk about the rivers I've seen. Such as the Mississippi, and the Nile, and the Jordan, and the Han, and the Yarkon, and the...well, there was a really dirty river in Daegu, Korea, but I can't remember the name of it at the moment. It was really dirty, as I recall from research the dirtiest in Korea, but...what does it matter? I'm talking about a river. Or rivers. Say, is it redundant to speak of multiple rivers? Does it matter, in the greater scheme of things? It sounds weird, to say there are multiple rivers on our planet. Shouldn't it be enough to just say, there are rivers on our planet? Doesn't that speak for itself, the plural of river? Obviously, if there is more than one river, there are rivers. It stands to reason that if there are rivers, they aren't just found in one spot, but many. Hence the plural. Rivers.

Okay, time to write about something else. How about this: Writing. Am I writing right now? There are many books about writing and being a writer. But am I writing? No. I'm typing. I'm the author of this, yes, and it could be said that I authored it and whoever said it wouldn't be wrong. But, as I said, did I write all of this, pen in hand, paper in front of me? No. If I'm being literal, practical, then I can't say that what this is is writing. It's typing. On a MacBook Air in a cafe at a Barnes & Noble in Tucson, Arizona, USA on March 31, 2010 at 8:26:26 p.m., or 20:26:39 if you're in the military or in a country other than the United States of America. Shit, digressed again. Writing. Erm, typing. These words have not been written, not in the traditional sense. Not in the literal sense. So why do we call people who type books, writers?