Stories without Meanings
I’ve been wandering out of the house after work all night this week. I tell myself I’m looking for a quiet place to write, and I always bring a notebook, but it seems like this is just the comfortable lie I tell myself to justify the going out, the half-hour of effort to put on a face so I can pass as a human being enough to be ignored. Really, I’m just restless and contemptuous of the bland emptiness of the home I break my back for during the day.
I end up in bars, drinking, trying to make the hate recede enough I can hear myself thinking clearly for five seconds. Or I wander, looking for a feeling I can’t define, something I vaguely yearn for, some ‘rightness’ or ‘truth’, or some phantom imagined person that I imagine I could meet if I just stayed a little longer in that place and waited.
I’ve been thinking about it; it’s not so much a matter of can’t write or don’t write as it is that there’s a deep, rotting part of me that believes there’s no point in doing it. That someone as intrinsically boring as I am (can’t make friends, can’t be pretty, can’t be funny, can’t be clever, can’t be any goddamn fun), more closed off and self-obsessed than Dickinson and as misandrist as half a dozen angry drunk male comedians lumped together just has nothing worth saying.
There’s already a glut, a positive drowning tide of whiny, disconnected, jaded people firing their hopeless messages in bottles from their private island hells into the sea of the internet — please listen to me, please love me, please don’t kill me — and we rightfully ignore those people as losers and fucking wankers. Nobody wants to hear that because everyone’s living it. Everyone wants a winner. You can tell sad stories, but they have to have uplifting, meme-able rising climaxes at the end, something you can pass around and go “gee, that feels just like something I’d say except I’m too uncreative to say it myself.” We all want someone to speak for us, but we don’t want to listen to ourselves speaking.
That’s really the truth; I’m just not interesting enough. I’m not a personality, not a sparkling wit, some towering genius whose every line is a stunning, scathingly retweetable bon-mot.
I’m just me. A sheltered, sort of naive middle-aged woman battling a state of arrested development brought on by 30 years of self-hatred and sexual abuse, trying desperately to hide from it — and now beginning to feel it all catching up to me and biting at the back of my heels. I can’t even run as fast now, because my knees are going and my heart’s not in it to run any more.
Seriously, nerd culture, the place where I hid myself for so long I made myself functionally autistic: what the fuck? Who gives a shit? What does it matter if a TV show — a fucking TV show — doesn’t have the “stellar writing” it had 3 seasons ago? What does it matter that a cartoon made for 13 year old boys doesn’t adequately reflect “feminist ideals”? What does it matter that a band that was great 20 years ago can’t get it up any more because years of alcoholism, drug abuse, hip failures and egotism have destroyed their ability to create? Who really cares about any of this shit, really, and why? What purpose does any of this overdose of vapid muck we call culture really serve apart from acting as a temporary distraction — something to stuff in our swollen mind-holes to keep the bad-smelling air inside from getting out?
Isn’t there something better, something grander, something more out there?
Fuck if I know. I have nothing to offer except my yearning, my anger, my silence and my grief.
When I wander around at night I look to Orion, that beautiful constellation, the place I would go if gravity didn’t exist, and my heart yearns for it. But no matter how much I yearn, I will never, ever touch it. I live in a world where many people don’t even bother to look up at the sky because they’re too busy arguing with their smartphones. I live in a world where we gave up on space because it was too hard, but we’ll fight to the fucking death over which mistranslated word in an ancient scroll is the correct mistranslation. I live in a world so obsessed by “culture” that it’s turned away from explorations of what it means to be human; the stories we tell are running us now. The old gods are dead; we replaced them with fucking banalities written by disdainful executives and accountants desperate to keep the sucker cash flowing in.
This is why I have so much trouble writing. I have nothing important to say, I don’t want to add to the useless noise, and it doesn’t matter what I say anyway. In my heart, I don’t want to be another conveyor belt “content producer”. I’m just another stupid failure washed up on the shores, a beached whale that threw itself out of the sea to suffocate because of a calling it couldn’t even understand.