It’s getting harder to write.
Not that the spirit is unwilling, although that was the case for years, when the things I needed to talk about most were the exact things I needed distance from. At this point, the flesh isn’t even that weak1, but a lack of certainty in which to ground my perspectives has become an obstacle. The biggest sign I’m getting older isn’t the white hair in my moustache, but the recognition that I’ve shed some youthful arrogance that used to feel like wisdom.
HBO shows2 and games with consequential choices based on randomized events3 have been a huge influence on my thinking. Media with mosaics of morality, while characters grow and evolve across several spectrums (along with my opinion of them). Where decisions have to be carefully made with limited information and resources, then balanced against competing interests from foreign spheres of influence. Situations where a person can make all the right moves, and still fail through circumstance.
It’s a safe way for me to understand my feelings in complicated situations, as well as the perspectives of those on both sides of difficult decisions that are neither heroic or villainous. Part of my recovery is coming to terms with the past, and this exploration offers me a way to gradually accept things as they are, instead of trying to take responsibility for things that simply couldn’t have worked out.
As a result, the scale of my thinking has started shifting. When I was a child, the world was defined as myself, and it was impossible to understand why someone would do anything that wasn’t in line with my interests4. In adolescence, I saw it as others in relation to myself. As a young adult, it became the world connected as a whole5. Now, as a man, I see the world with time as an added dimension — the people today connected by the influences of the past and their actions that will pave the future6.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s that writing becomes too much. My thoughts get lost on such a scale. Everything becomes exceedingly complex — people especially — when they cease to be defined by a moment in time.
Maybe this is why there’s no sense of permanence with which to guide my hand at writing. Everything changes so quickly that it seems like a futile exercise to write until something is over. Except it’s never over. Things keep changing, and I keep growing.
It used to feel like I went through six month cycles, when my brain cells (figuratively) replaced enough of themselves to make me feel like a different person roughly twice a year. Now, it feels like I’m perpetually in the middle of a transition…or one long descent into dotage. Every epiphany feels like it’s simply a step on the way to a greater sense of understanding. I can’t even tell what music I like anymore; whether I’m drawn to something cause I want to understand how it’s composed/arranged/mixed/performed, or simply cause the tune is catchy. Writing has become work, and I’d rather procrastinate by cleaning or cooking or taking some kind of responsibility off Heather’s hands.
On top of all this, my need to express was often driven by emotion. It was the intensity of my feelings that led to inspiration. Nowadays, in my quest for equanimity, I tend to separate myself from them. While it’s made me a mentally healthier person, it’s also left me mute, and wondering who I am if not a writer.
- Thanks to a remission in colitis, and consistent use of a SAD lamp. [↩]
- Game of Thrones, Six Feet Under [↩]
- Europa Universalis 4, FTL: Faster Than Light, Moirai [↩]
- Even if I was playing against them in a game. [↩]
- Roughly the time I started to nurture a sense of empathy. I can’t tell which came first. [↩]
- My perspective is still limited to my current generation. Someone like Shawn is capable of seeing the world connected far beyond the scale of what I typically consider. I wonder if I’ll ever get there. [↩]