I have been staring at this page off and on since I arrived this morning, gung-ho to get it done and out of the way. It hasn’t happened, though, despite my sort of lazy approach to a Friday. I’m not quite able to put it together. The words are precariously heavy above my head: thick, gravid, nigh overripe fruit that Tantalus and I (even with me playing piggyback) can never seem to reach.
But unlike Tantalus and Sisyphus, I can buckle down and get something done even if it seems impossible at the outset. Something like these five hundred words. So, mes amis, let me tell you about my day. It’s Friday night now and the house is quiet, the heater isn’t even on for the moment chugging and gusting so earnestly even though we know that it could die any day, it’s own coffin-shaped coffin to be buried in. I’ve watched Supernatural and adored it. I’ve screamed delightful obscenities at my friends via the interwebs. I’ve had dinner and just have the promise of a bit more cheese and chicken to finish me up today. I’ve done my exercises and sweated to the oldies and logged all of that. I bathed in the blood of several impertinent virgins. I’m about to watch some more Law and Order in a minute here. I ogled the way the t-shirt/night shirt / Matthew Good band tour shirt from a thousand years ago fits. All of this has happened in the course of a few hours. Sometimes you feel so frozen within yourself, so exhausted by possibility and just fundamental boredom that you start to tell the big ridiculous lie which is that you can’t do anything. You aren’t doing anything, you’re not even moving, and this exact spot is where you’re going to be fused until you die (which can hardly be long now) and it’ll actually come as some relief in the face of this void which is your capability to effect change. This is the ticker-tape thought parade you’re floating down the Avenue on.
But change is remarkable because it organically happens while you’re bitching about your inability to effect it. Change doesn’t seem to like the long jump. The crevasses we seek to traverse are life journeys and if we try and vault over them, you can imagine what happens most often (not always, but most often): face soup. The way is every inch of where we need to go, however long it takes, we have to cross those inches and milimeters.
External fullness doesn’t translate to internal fullness, not with any more permanent results than my great method in my schooldays of trying to visualize the experience of eating a 3 Musketeers and Dr. Pepper while I rode home on the bus and then skip dinner so I could lose weight. The brain can’t obliviate my hunger and a vast table full of food can’t make me happy, proud, at ease, content, in love, profoundly moved or fulfill any other psychic needs I have.
For me, to make this work, I have to be here, every day, cobbling together these pebbles, tracking and knowing what I’m eating and expending. Is it joy? Is it fun? Is it seasons in the sun? No, but it’s not terrible. It’s not Greek tragedy. Ovid might have understood that real metamorphosis is not just passing through the flame, the goddess’ glare, the laurels’ reach, it’s just being alive and doing something with it.