09 August 2016

0 the middle-ending

debo has coined it "the middle-ending." like middle-earth, she says, in case i didn't get the joke.

debo has resorted to lord of the rings metaphors in order to describe my corrections.

this is not a new thing. sensei has described the whole jackie project as "taking the ring to mordor" for a solid five years. but here we are and now it is my mother.

she is referring to the fact that i have a beginning, a middle, and an end. but there is, between the beginning of the ending and its end, a gap of what i approximate to be 2-3 pages which i have not yet written.

2-3 pages which i have not yet imagined but am nearly certain must exist.

it is what will come after this...

translation: i am going to analyze my own decisions in light of this impossibility. 

because there is maybe nothing i want to do less. and across the years of writing, i have found, that the space i least want to occupy is usually the space in which i end up pitching camp. the point of least comfort in the community of all of the things i absolutely do not want to say. 

a circumstance likely tied to the essential role of impossibility in my writing process. 

to work, i must feel the work is impossible. this is why i have wound up in therapy after every major development in my PhD. because in time, that impossibility in and of itself becomes impossible. one can sustain possibility within a context of impossibility for only so long. 

it gets to you, diminishes you, productively i'd say, because it benefits the writing, but eventually it pervades and you begin to believe it and then you wind up in therapy with "narrative problems" from which you must claw your way out.  

i operate like a raiding party now. allowing a day or two down the rabbit-hole, refusing to set up permanently. i will stay the day but not the night. because it is almost pleasurable at this point. an imaginative strut that involves the type of writing during which, because one is pursuing madcap (impossible!) lines of inquiry and, to do so, one's inhibitions must be lowered, one is at liberty to sip wine. 

there is an ease to writing like this. a horror as well because, my god, what if there is nothing? what if, at the end of it all, there is nothing further to say. 

but even then the stakes are low: the paragraph above is deleted, the point of my dissertation becomes that i have done something weird and only moderately defensible.

and, in reality, i accept the fact that, actually, there is nothing more to say. i wrote the book i wrote. it is what it is because this is the way i found to tell the story. i am, in writing about what i have done, imposing an intellectual rationale upon something which was done instinctively. the whole enterprise is, in a huge, unignorable way, completely false. 

the falseness of this is both absurd and amusing and a huge part of why i loathe academia. because, in academia, this is what one must do. 

and yet, there is another part of me that sees the value in the imposition and the falseness and the whole silly ordeal. a part of me that allows for the possibility that in doing things in a given way, i may have been responding to something i'd not yet considered and which- if i write enough words and meander through enough sentences i'll discard later- i may actually, gradually, in some small way, come to understand.

i once wrote that writing is a dark hallway down which we blindly strut. a statement i would stand by. a statement that, five years later, mired in even more incomplete projects and even more convinced of my inability to communicate my own genius, i have quite possibly never considered so true. 

because even as i resent it, hate it even, all this flailing about, expending so much energy on a handful of words over which i will, ultimately, lose control. still, i thrive in the dark, on the drama and the ordeal.  

how you put the words on the page and they come off the page and you arrange them and they rearrange themselves and you strike them and they humble you and then you set the whole lot to the side, in a file you don't open for ages but you eventually come back to, in ten months or two years or twelve and, though it is still there and it has not changed, it looks different. and you think my god, what genius wrote this, because it was a prior you. a you to which you are now less attached. a you you are no longer.

all of these things we have written, they diminish us, and yet there we are, in them. a trace of something, someone we were once. like a photograph or baby teeth or an old lover, all those words with which we were once so intimate, which were once a part of us, now distant. 

there's beauty in the distance, in their endurance. penned in the dark, it's only later we see them in the light. 

(chatoyant! i imagine garebear would exclaim here. chatoyant.)

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