” If you told yourself that the goal is to write the great American novel, you might never begin. But you would be far more likely to begin if you told yourself to write one hundred words a day.”
I’m an easy person to please. Give me stationery and a good book with your personalized message and I’m a happy camper. As I’m writing this, I have four journals waiting to be used, all of them presents from friends; I’m looking at a fresh letter set along with a patterned sticky tape set waiting to be put to use; I’ve got a set of sharpened pencils waiting to spoil pages with my thoughtless rumbling.
And yet something has changed. I like all of these things, but feel disconnected from them. And I have had a lifetime of absolute fidelity to writing, reading, recording this or that insignificant detail. I have my thoughts on paper from the age of 8 — a shelf full of journals that pin down my naive childhood, my tempered adolescence, my youthful adultness. I have successfully made it here, to almost 30 so that I can come to an unforeseeable halt?
And it’s not just the writing, it’s the reading too. After a lukewarm start to the New Year, I’ve managed to read about four books that have neither excited nor inspired me. I’ve even resorted to audiobooks, which only occurred to me as a feasible idea after reading this somewhat inspiring, if not impossibly ambitious, article. I’m currently reading Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth, which I’m finding atrociously boring, two-dimensional and stale. I also own in audiobook (don’t ask why), and have been trudging my way through it for the past three weeks despite reading at home and listening to it on my way to and from work. If nothing else, at least I’ve discovered that I’m definitely not an audiobook person.
So recently, in the hopes of regaining some form of inspiration to jumpstart my imagination, I have began transcribing my diary entries, from that very first journal. It dates back to January 1992 and I could not feel more far removed from myself as I do now. I have decided to share the first entry with you (translated from Greek):
6 January 1992, Monday
Tomorrow we’re going back to school. Oh! What bad luck. And we are so used to sleeping at midnight whereas now we will have to sleep at 9 p.m. Unfortunately we have to go to school. But then again, I will see my friends.
Maybe this will get me out of the rut. Oh and this blog, which I hope to revive slowly. Your encouragement is a welcome delight.
I told you I was easy to please.
You nest in my hair quietly
An adornment of silver and gold.
And today I chose you especially
To dress my sunny imperfections
In your thoughtless sparkle.
But the wind begged for a dance
Tossed you irreverently in arms
That ached to reach you
In a heartbeat you were swept off your metallic hook
Dancing to the rhythm of the swooshing waves.
I searched for your trail along the beach
But you had stolen away,
To lead an independent life
Your partner mourns in sorrow
Waits for your mundane replacement
Fatigue creeps up on me
like a hungry bitch after lunchtime
looking for scraps of dreams
and pillow feathers to cling on.
She invites me to her bed,
warm and soft,
and gently kisses my eyelids
to a lingering state of limbo.
I let myself go between fragments
of whatifs and havetos
until I lose control.
It’s quite the fiesta,
if you know what I mean.
Day by day, I become more convinced that I am one of the few remaining people who respect deadlines. Cypriots everywhere: a deadline is a deadline is a deadline. SHAPE UP!
Hello deadline, nice to meet you! I don’t think we’ve been formally introduced. I’m Mega Procrastinator and I’m very happy to finally get to talk to you. I know, I know, I hate blind dates too, but hey we’re here but let’s make the most of it, despite the awkwardness. So, my friend Lazy Ass mentioned that you’re really into punctuality. Can I ask you something? Why? I mean, isn’t punctuality an internal thing? If you’re OK with the timing, isn’t that punctuality that’s true to yourself? Why are you shaking your head so vehemently, relax. All I’m saying is, that it’s good to let go. I don’t ever wear a watch even — I’m not a slave to time. Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t realize that you’d be so offended with my lateness. I was pretty proud of myself for remembering that today is Friday; after all, I hardly keep track of days. What’s the point? They’re all the same anyway right? OK, OK, I’ll change the topic.
So where do you hang out? Oh at Post-It! I kinda hate that place — it’s full of people worrying about insignificant things. Oh, yes, I see. So are you turned on by people enumerating things to do? Really?! I’d rather watch 3 non-stop hours of YouTube videos than go to that bar. Sure, it’s fun. I do it with Lazy Ass all the fucking time. It’s a riot. Don’t even get me started on the fun we have commenting on them on Facebook! You use the events function only on Facebook? Nah, I never reply. I show up if I feel like it, whatever time. It still works all the same. What’s that? An urgent call you need to take? Sure, go ahead.
What do you mean you need to go, we’re hanging out here, chillaxin’… Oh I’m sorry to hear that. No I don’t know any Dignity or Responsibility, they’re not in my circle. Do you want me to take you to the hospital? Are you sure? It’s no problem, I’ll take right after this song finishes. I fucking love Kings of Convenience.
On a lighter, less cynical note, enjoy this video:
I am asking for definition,
Let my body hate me
with every bounce, even more.
On the tips of my toes
— on the verge of collapse —
I breathe out CO2,
bend my body to an illegible question mark,
stretch my back like a paralyzed cat.
My belly dances, the music beats
like a hammer on my muscles.
Contracting, detracting, contracting,
retracting. The image of my body
glares from the mirror.
The aching begins,
a better version of me,
sooner than requested,
should be with you shortly.
First there was me,
three-dimensional and quirky,
stumbling onto to misspelled words with joy
ravenously dining on question marks and what ifs.
Then there was mii,
decked in hot pink attitude,
a competitive beast roaring for a challenge.
My sweet side parting might fool
the casual observer, easily
I slip in and out of personas
and I am me,
and then mii
and we are both fun to be with.
we indulge in petty forgiveness
and persevere onto the next level
before time runs out.
The savagery of fear
caged behind bars for exhibition,
laughing men cry out in cheers
for a round of applause, they pray
for a snicker or two-cent appreciation.
Vast canopies of entertainment of days begone
randomly make appearances in the mundane.
It’s a circus, we say
a play of the absurd,
an ode to all things stupid,
a staged production of no essence.
It’s entertainment these days:
slapstick on your plate,
served cold and rotten.
A meal we digest well, it seems.
In my head, all of the above makes sense. I have the uncanny ability to take words and mix them up, re-invent them if you like. I make nonsense out of sense, because that’s simply more fun than logical. I often don’t know what I’m talking about and I most certainly can’t understand my thoughts, but at least I know that I created the confusion in the first place.
It works wonders for my sanity. Others may be intimidated by life and other such existential questions, but no, I am anything but deterred when it comes to lifting my little finger and dusting off the “where am I going” chapter of yours truly. That’s a big question; I hardly ever know where I’m going literally, let alone figuratively or worse yet, in ten years’ time! To avoid from going insane, I start to think / speak nonsense, because I understand it better than I understand the big questions of life. All I’ve realized is that there are no answers. And the questions? They keep getting harder if you listen to the little, tiny you inside.
So when the going gets tough, the tough gets nonsensical. Try it, it wklwues.
Today I’m not going to drink more than three cups of tea, no matter how much I convince myself that my throat hurts or I have that craving. I will drink more water and I will make a mental tally of the liters I down by night time. It will be close to the big two and I will feel a sense of achievement for doing something that should be part of my mundane routine anyway.
I will not spend hours getting tangled up in website links and referrals and e-mails and replies. I don’t have to update my facebook status or tweet that I’m drinking water for the day because it is not important. I will not open photoshop to edit any one of my candidate photos for flickr. I won’t even browse other photographs for inspiration and I most definitely will not log in on tumblr. All that inspiration and clicks can be downright distracting, especially if it leads me to etsy. I cannot allow myself to go on etsy, or any other online shop for that matter, because today of all days, there will be no window shopping. Even my metaphorical wallet is empty.
I will make the bed in the morning, and I will actually eat breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day I persistently choose to forget. I will call my mom to see how she is because I will remember to reach out across the telephone line that separates the measly distance between us. If I’m ambitious, I will also make the 10-minute drive to see my grandmother, who speaks in television language because that is all the company she has. I will make her day by sitting down next to her and listening to all the episodes I missed during the week. I will call my friends for a casual
coffee drink of water and I will make the effort to be more than a Facebook friend.
Today, I will set aside time to read my book, even if I’ve forgotten its title from the time it’s been to hold it. I will not do this before I sleep because I want to read more than just a couple of sentences. I will write in my real journal, not my blog, about the thoughts in my mind, the things I most wish for, the quotidien that saturates my minutes. I will think of friends abroad and actually call them. Or better yet, I will sit down and write them a letter, not an e-mail. I will play songs I’ve forgotten about and I will sing along fearlessly. I will take a walk on the beach and I will write a poem. I will jot down my ideas on actual paper that is inside a thought notebook, not a post-it note.
Today, I’m changing everything. It all starts today.