June 10, 2014
The moment that I became upon, the one that I was dreading from the very beginning of this writing project… has happened. There comes a time when you wake up and you approach your laptop, you turn it on, adjust the music of one’s choice, and then… nothing. Vapid of course, but all you are seeing in front of you is a very enormous concrete wall, and you know what you desire is behind the wall, but the problem is what do I desire? After that, you realize maybe you’re not as good as you think you are, and other self-defeating thoughts, which at first, slowly creeps in, but then all of sudden it is like a damn breaking, and your overwhelmed with dread, with thoughts of failure. And it is not even 9 AM! I looked out the window. I see the same cars parked that are always there, and I go looking for inspiration in the everyday occurrence, but alas, was that even interesting? How can I make the uninteresting, interesting?
To change the scenery I decided to take a shower, got dressed, and went on the 96 metro bus to 6TH and Grand, and walked over to the Yorkshire Grill for breakfast. Obviously, I wasn’t feeling hungry so I just ordered a side of rye toast and a cup of coffee. I sat at the counter of course, and oddly enough, I was the only person there. That alone doesn’t really bother me, because I like being in public spaces and being the only one there. I often feel ‘entitled’ to areas that technically belong to everyone. While sitting there I found myself silently humming a song to myself “A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich, and You” written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren. Dublin continued to be a hero to me, because I think a sense of failure was always chasing him around. Even though he wrote the lyrics to “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” the happiness that was expressed in those lyrics doesn’t fully gel with the man who wrote them. Throughout his life he had to struggle with alcohol and drugs - especially doctor prescribed barbiturates, which eventually killed him. At the peak of his struggling career was the depression. The irony of his writing songs like “Lullaby of Broadway” while he was at his worst and with the whole U.S. culture dealing with the aftereffects of such a devastating era. Is very moving to me, as well as an inspiration to my occasional writer’s block issues.
My character is among misery. I sought to hide it time-to-time, but it oozes out from either my writing, or when I’m home alone having a drink. I don’t like to share that side of my personality with the world - or at least face-to-face. But the truth is I don’t like to be in the presence of people that much anymore. Usually I feel dread, then around the corner comes boredom. As I sat on the counter slowly drinking my cup of coffee, I realized that what I fear the most is social responsibility and with that, boredom is hooked up as well.
After my breakfast, I walked around downtown, which is my favorite destination for a walk. It is not until I travel without a map in an area that I sort of know, is where I find the greatest adventure. I always run across a building or entrance way that I never noticed before, and I wonder why? This starts my brain cells to make progress in a certain way, and all of sudden the concrete wall in front of me, is starting to chip away piece by piece. The process is extremely slow, but I’m thankful that there is some sort of movement happening. When I got back to my writing area, which tends to be in my library, I looked at a self-portrait by Gustave Courbet, a French artist of the 19th century. The painting is called "The Desperate Man," and it wasn't till now, that I realized that what drew me to this specific painting was that I saw myself in that work. Then I realized that it was a form of theater for Courbet, in that he used himself as a character in his own making. Therefore I realized that as a writer, I too have to become a character in my own story. The concrete wall now has an opening, and at this point, I can stick my head through the wall to find out what was on the other side.