This will be the last blog post. So let me end this on a personal note. With, as Faulkner would say, the old verities and truths of the heart, “the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed”: Love and honour and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.
Perhaps that seems a tad dramatic. Our lives tend to be pretty unexceptional. In the whole, we just exist, slaved to the same 9-5 rhythm. Tethered to assignments, unleashed briefly to raise hell in neon lights and blurred music.
But that’s just the physical part. In the end I believe we’re just animals gone one step above. We have the need to self-actualise. To understand the why, when in truth, there might be no why. Only an ‘are,’ in the sense that we just are, and that’s it. Perhaps our lives are shorn of significance, or perhaps we impose some meaning into them, screen ourselves with our own fabricated perceptions of our ultimately mortal predicament.
I can’t give you an ultimate truth. I’d love to find one. I just don’t think it exists. I believe truth is a construct, essentially a judgement on what is. That’s my only truth, things happen and we just do things.
However, even though ultimately we may mean nothing, and our lives are essentially meaningless in any grand, cosmic sense that doesn’t stop us enjoying it. To live in the most nourishing, liberated sense. To see the world, touch it, feel it pounding through your pulse as the sun and moon swivel on their axis across the trackless sky. To laugh, and smile, at the beauty of it all, and life can be truly beautiful sometimes.
This is my advice, which I myself learned from better human beings: do what you love, no compromise.
It’s easy to forget, but I believe we’re only alive once. And spending the coin of your life away on something you can’t stand is ridiculous. But that’s beside the point because if you truly, passionately love something then there is no way to live.
When I first entered uni I was locked into misconceptions that life had to be commerce and economics. The degree was painful, and it was only when the pain of not doing what I loved became greater than my fear of failing that I enrolled in media. And I still hated myself, and all the people in the course.
I hated the idea you could live doing what you love. I detested freedom and happiness. I kid, but in a way I was jealous of all those happy people doing arts. And of course, like all hatreds, it was rooted in fear that maybe I could be wrong, that a magnificent life away from sterile numbers was possible. That maybe I didn’t have to live in pain and fear and could do what I love.
And in the end that wasn’t the point. It wasn’t a choice. It wasn’t a maybe. It was this simple: if I didn’t write I was going to go insane. I embody my work completely. I am defined by what I create. I see life in sentences, I can grasp the threads of feeling, and articulate them into words, the translation of the universal language into English.
I fucking hate it, at times. I hate spending days on a paragraph. I hate screaming at the screen, blanking on the phrases, my creative chamber empty and hollow, click, click, clicking at the keyboard but the products are hollow, empty, no imaginative bullet to detonate colour into reality. Or perhaps I can use the metaphor of a palsy, where the engine of my mind shapes these scented, gleaming dreams and my flawed hands cannot sculpt them into being. I’m not good enough. I’m not smart, not strong nor sympathetic or vicious enough
But even as I hate it, it’s the only thing I can do. The only thing I vaguely do well. And hate and love are flip-sides of the same coin. The same emotional investment, the same care. When it works, it really works. I feel I’ve discovered something internal. There is no other feeling like it. It’s like love, all over again, that girl, but more because I strove for it, I poured effort and skill and craft to birth this mad creation, this fucking thing, these thrice-cursed words rather than some vague social interaction based on character compatibility and physical attraction. But oh my god, it’s like discovering fire. I’ve never felt anything like it.
I understand not all of you have the same drive or the same depth of love for a thing. But if you truly, really feel it, there is no other way to live than growing and fully exploring with your love. It’s not a choice, it never was and you’ll naturally gravitate towards it anyway. If writing wasn’t an occupation I would have fucking invented it anyway, or have done it regardless. I would ply another trade, but it’s all I know.
And if you don’t know what you want, you should find it. The secret I’ve found, is in people. The good people, those with genuine love and ambition and character. Keep them close. Those are the ones that matter. The mad ones and the broken ones were always more interesting to me anyway. The most boring trait I’ve found in people is happiness. Don’t misunderstand me, happiness is great. But it means their struggle is won. What more could they want? There’s no more pathos in their lives, no great inner war which “alone can make good writing, worth the agony and sweat.”
I never want to be comfortable. I want to be discovering. I want to be impressionable, to be insecure, to always want and discover more. That for me is not the happiest way to be, but the most rewarding.
I was published this year in a uni literary journal. It means nothing at all. It doesn’t matter, because it’s just validation. And I’m too busy writing to give a shit about something as trivial as validation. I’ve got a novel in me, or several. And after that something else. But I never want to stagnate. I want to win. I want to win so badly.
That’s what reading means to me. That’s what writing means to me. It’s a matter of life. Not death. This campaign is about what I care about more than anything else in life.
I don’t know my end-point. Who does? Well, we all do, we all have the same ending. But before that, I’ve made my business capturing life, and creating by labour the closest replications of love I can through the riddle of language. That’s what I love. That’s what I’m going to do.
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“You’re a real brother. Do what you love, no compromise.” – The greatest human being I know.