Wednesday, September 27, 2006

penumbrous leanings

Have I gotten away, then, from what I originally set out to do? That writing without structure. That writing without hope. That writing without care. Have I gotten away from the ease of the improvisational, trading down for the burden of the calculated with the hope that I might discover a new voice within?

“When’s the next article due out?” Gus sweeps a hand across his comb-over, dabs at his glistening forehead with the corner of his serviette, digs back into his mountain of fries and gravy.

“I told the boss I’d write another review when somebody writes something worth reviewing,” I say.

Mouth full, Gus smirks. “So, you’ve finally reached that point, hey?”

“And what point would that be?”

He swallows, stuffs another forkful past his puffy lips. “That point in your career when you’ve reached the top,” he says, between chews, “when you’ve gone as far as you can go and can no longer resist the temptation to sabotage yourself lest you go mad with the impossible desire for more, more, more.”

Those days when writing came easy, bubbling up from the depths. Those phantom conversations, two voices echoing up from a dark chasm. Who spoke? It didn’t matter; what mattered most was what was said. Those distended thoughts, thoughts allowed to grow exponentially before being brought back from the brink of verbosity. But who thought, and why? It didn’t matter; all that mattered was the idea.

“That’s absurd,” I scoff, sipping at my vodka tonic, not even believing myself.

“That’s reality,” Gus tells me. “A little self-subversion. You’ll knock yourself back a few steps if only to make room for forward movement. Trust me – I reached that same point five years ago.”

I cock my head slightly, thinking. “The air rage debacle?” I ask.

Gus nods. “And I haven’t made a film since.”

“Sort of undermines your theory doesn’t it?” I ask. “You know, the whole making room for forward movement thing?”

“Well,” Gus says, sheepishly, “sometimes it takes a little longer to pick yourself up after you’ve knocked yourself down – and it doesn’t help that Happy Hour at this place is three hours long.”

“I hear that.”

That broken writing, words layered on top of words, signification covered by symbolization. I could ask, I could ask you or I could ask myself: who wrote, then? Who wrote and for whom? I could ask, but I would only be setting us up for disappointment.

Have I moved onward and upward, then, from what I originally set out to do or am I simply the victim of a creative devolution? One form changing for another. A backward movement of the artistic kind. A creative emollition? A softening, perhaps, of ideals. Trading the truth of extemporaneity for the falsehood of preplanning. A creative pollution. Indeed, a clouding of accuracy. Eclipsing genuineness. Obscuring ingenuity.

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