I can’t sleep (what a surprise!) because the jerk downstairs comes home from work at his gas-station at 1 in the morning and commences chain-smoking. I once smoked cigarettes on occasion (Kamel Red Lites) until I started living and working out in the wilderness and realized that it doesn’t really make sense to fill your lungs with nasty shit when you’re breathing in pure mountain air. Now that I breathe in the second-hand smoke on a frequent basis, I can only think of cigarettes with the utmost revulsion. See, the problem with second-hand smoke is that you don’t get any of the benefits of enjoying a chemically enhanced stick of cancerous compounds manufactured by large corporations—like the nice little buzz and the visceral joy of holding a tiny white rolled piece of toxicity in between your two fingers. All you get from second-hand smoke is the residual nasty odors that seem to linger at least an hour after the cigarette has been smoked, leaving a burning sensation in your throat and eyes. You get all the shit without any of the pleasure.
In any case, I don’t feel like ranting about it, because I’m already getting hypertension from it as it is, and besides I’m a little sick of ranting, it’s so negative. So I’ll pick a topic and expound on it for the pure relief of tension that it gives me, to expound on things, which is the purpose of this blog—a forum in which to expound freely. Some expoundings are more eloquent then others, it must be admitted. Sometimes I wonder if I should exercise more QC and just post things that I consider truly worthy of being read, which would definitely slim back my posts substantially. Part of the thing about a blog is that it must be updated somewhat regularly, otherwise it will just look like a ghost town . . .
Why don’t I talk about writing? I began writing (deliberately, not as a class assignment) regularly starting in 8th grade. I wrote kind of emotional short stories with abstract story-lines told in the first person. Then at some point in high-school I began dabbling in poetry for some reason. By the end of high school I think I wrote mainly just poetry or short vignettes as opposed to longer short stories. My last year of high school my computer that I had had since 8th grade crashed and I lost all of my writings up to that point. This was when computers were still relatively new and it hadn’t really been quite established to laymen that you need to back up your shit if you assign any meaning to it. Losing my writing was devastating. I felt like part of my identity, part of my history, was lost. I couldn’t write for almost a year after that. It was like I had never written, I couldn’t believe that I could, without the evidence.
In college I majored in English with a concentration in poetry, and I took poetry workshops where you sat in a room with a handful of poetry freaks and criticized each other’s shit. The whole experience of attending a large college in a big city ruined my desire for writing—or at least, for a certain style of writing that colleges manufacture. That whole academic thing, that incestuous writing that looks like the real thing and uses all the big words but somehow is completely devoid of spirit. It was at that point that I realized that I didn’t want to write for a living. Because to write ‘good’, publishable stuff, to me, meant selling my soul.
During college I began sending almost daily e-mails of writing out to a group of friends. Through this I developed a new style of writing—immediate, fragmented slices of everyday life skewed into something that could be simultaneously prose and poetry. I would just sit down and write whatever came into my heart or head. I think they even have a name for this style of writing—“flash writing.” It was like a journal except not, because I was talking about events through the lens of my emotions and inner being, or I was writing quick short stories, or haphazard poems. (You can view all this stuff, by the way, if you click on Pre-Blog Missives under Categories there on the right.)
I didn’t discover blogs until 2 winters ago, when I was extremely bored and depressed and had nothing else to do. I discovered liberal and informative sites like Talking Points Memo, DailyKos, Cosmic Variance, all that kind of stuff, and was kind of amazed that I hadn’t really known about this whole parallel universe of blogging. I had been blogging all along, I just had been doing it through personal emails instead of posting it on the web. The advent of free and easy blogging tools such as Blogger and WordPress.com convinced me that I should make the switch, because you don’t have to be a computer geek to figure out how to post on these things.
For me, writing has always been a form of self-exploration, an outlet, a means of working through my daily existence. I don’t think that writing necessarily has to be perfect and conform to some kind of standard. I think the most important thing about the act of writing and having someone read it is in the inner connection formed between two people. The communication of hidden worlds that can’t possibly shared through surface level daily interactions. I consider writing to be much more than a hobby for me, even though I don’t get paid from it. I consider it to be a lifeline, a sustenance and an outlet, wholly necessary for me in order to proceed through my existence here on earth. I have other outlets, sure, I play djembes and go running and hiking, I MySpace and drink mint juleps and watch Netflix movies, I draw weird little alien faces. But writing has always been one of the foremost means for me to know myself—and through knowing myself, knowing other people—and sharing who and what I am. Writing is a struggle for expression, it challenges you to formulate thoughts and emotions you would just let foment otherwise. It is a struggle for transcendence. It is a struggle for embrace. And I recognize, my dear reader, that your reading this at all is truly a blessing. Thank you.