Saturday, June 24, 2017

Burned and Bitten

 “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine.  The landmine is me.  After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together.  Now it’s your turn.  Jump!”  - Ray Bradbury

 I’d love to, Ray.  Can I borrow some money?  I finally invested in Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing, after years of putting it off.  I knew I needed to read it, but I am such a not-fan of science fiction that it was easy to wait.  Even in finally purchasing this work, I almost immediately purchased the “beat-trilogy” (Howl, Naked Lunch, and On the Road), as if to almost delay the science fiction a bit longer.  The latter books were ones I was putting off on purpose, because there is so much ground to cover before the modern word-vomit writers, like it is necessary to learn how to paint classically before trying modern crap, or necessary to learn scales and technique before tackling Chopin.  I did manage to make it through the introduction before the distractions showed up, and I will likely stick with it before stomaching the abandonment praisers.  I don’t need any encouragement to hit the road with nothing in my bank account, in search of beautiful souls who may or may not be as interesting as what existed 50 years ago.
 I can find a new intellectual revolution, I can argue that I already have, but expecting anyone out there to understand or want to participate has proven to be uneventful, and I need more events in my life, not sitting on the side of the road by myself, crying because I’m terrified to talk to people.  Those interesting people are likely right in front of me, but I’m too afraid to talk to them, so I’ll just keep writing.

 “…Writing is survival.  Any art, any good work, of course, is that.  Not to write, for many of us, is to die.”

We just spent a beautiful week “on the road,” with some obvious luxuries that having young children requires… like attention.  I wrote nothing.  I can sit down now and recollect, but even in that I feel guilty for not helping put the kids to bed.
 I was hoping to write a little something last night, but I just didn’t have the energy, or time, or mental capacity to place words next to each other in coherent sentences.  The trip itself wasn’t nearly as exhausting as driving home in 100+ degree desert.  Plus I am pretty severely burn, which I’ll get into in a bit, so even the slightest heat straight up fucking hurt, like thousands of needles being pressed into my back.  Every time we would stop I would peel my shirt off my back, and it felt like it was pulling skin off with it.  She drove most the way, so I was able to medicate and sleep through the pain a little.  I can’t begin to explain how nice that was.  On this trip we headed up to Tahoe, staying in Lone Pine the first night, because kids.  There were some beautiful places to shoot, but we were already exhausted from driving and dealing with…well… 
 I chose to take Howl with me, because it’s short, but didn’t get through much.  I’m not a fan of poetry…imagine that… I am especially not a fan of poetry that is labelled as brilliant.  It’s ok.  It is structured words, in this case maliciously unstructured, which pisses me off more.  You can explain to me the point you’re trying to make, but I know you’re just lazy…or high as a kite.  You don’t see me taking random photos of whatever the camera chooses to capture and demanding it’s brilliant because I’m making a statement.  Fuck your excuses for laziness.
 Ginsburg isn’t that bad, obviously, but I do feel like that entire movement ruined writing and art and heart for the rest of human existence.  I have to read it, though.  I have to.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

… a Bradbury quote I have in the slideshow introduction on my website, ironically in the introduction of this book that I’ve wanted to read but don’t want to read.  Just keep writing.
 Trips like this usually lead to a strange kind of sadness.  While I was grateful for being able to take a week off from work, I couldn’t shake the thought in the back of my head that I was missing out on making money, so it was hard to truly enjoy anything because that’s the kind of person I am…I am responsible for feeding children and making sure they have a roof over their head.  If people paid for creativity, things would be a lot different, but they don’t… they pat you on the head and ask you to shoot their boring shit for free, or ask you to write their mundane stories that no one wants to read.  Thanks, but I have my own mundane story that no one wants to read.
 Honestly, I spent most of the trip contemplating my own incompetence as a human being, much less a creative.  We are by our very nature, as a species, creatives.  The only thing that separates one of us from the other is perspective and niche.  Who we are as capable people, especially in relationships, is something that is learned, and I was always too busy with my own selfish ventures to learn any of that.  I grew up in my head; people kept trying to get me out of there and it just pissed me off.  This “trip” was just that: a momentary glimpse of the life I have always wanted.  I am such a wanderer at heart, but my rational mind won’t let me escape the lower working class hamster-wheel of breaking even.  You tell me to jump, Mr. Bradbury, I say fuck you.  I can jump as high as I can on this hamster-wheel, I’ll only hit my head on a spinning wheel.  What was writing for Bradbury is shooting for me.
 I completely relate to the writing bug, but my livelihood was always capturing the beauty that I find, but you already know that.  It was a beautiful trip, sun burn and bug bites aside, but I just want to keep going.  I’ve got this beautiful soul I wake up with every morning that I don’t get to shoot as much as I’d like, and there are an infinite number of beautiful souls out there that I’ve yet to capture.  We found one on this trip, and she was notably extraordinary, but resulted in aforementioned sun burn.  Luckily, though we were at one of Tahoe’s nude beaches, professional ethics kept my shorts on, so the burn is isolated to my back and feet.  It could have definitely been worse.
I didn’t find this one, my girl did, but I feel as if my will did as well.  I knew it would be amazing.  Why can’t I apply that to all aspects of my life?  Why do I have to wait years to get little glimpses of it?  It all happens how it’s supposed to happen, but I am getting old and tired…tired of running on wheels that fuel the machine that doesn’t give a shit about me.  I look at my kids and I keep running… nowhere.  This place should be a beautiful place.  I have written too much.  Back to the wheel.