Are you?

 

“Are you sitting comfortably?” they used to ask, as if anyone would seat themselves on a chisel or ball bearings.  Thank God for Samuel Beckett who freed us from fiction.  My problem is not to walk through the Red Sea but to step from this point of time to that one without being engulfed by inner catastrophe.

Obviously no words are as satisfactory as cakes in this regard, but each has its moments.

I need life to be a sentence – not a prison sentence but a clear, beautifully balanced assemblage of words taking you unerringly from morning to night.  Writing a coherent essay illustrating a single notion demands discipline but, chiefly, I wish to inspire awe with a display of genius.  The inability to be immortal either physically or historically is a blow to self-esteem with which I am always coming to terms.

Kevin says, “Sure we want to be rich and famous – but what we really want is to be happy.”
Something inside of me just will not set me free, to quote Elmore James.  It’s as if in these days, happiness is verboten, forbidden.

“In reality” – whatever that hideous phrase may mean – I need to convince both of us (you and I and her) that it is all right to get to dusk without having subdued a nation or altered the direction of the earth.  I need to remember that Hitler’s evil came from being a failed artist.  In this I have at least taken the right step – and kept on writing.  After all, for lengthy periods, that certainty of being an artist lifted me out of the office and into freedom: yes, it was a freedom to starve but friends often rallied.

My primary problem at present is a normal summer depression – normal for me, that is.  While everyone else revels in sunshine, celebrates roses, pours Pimms, exults in glorious luxuriant growths of artichokes, I prefer a darkened room.  Of all activities, writing alone relieves this pissing gripe.  It is the one activity in which my mind’s workings do not induce a bleak pain.  Any slight creation betters my state, albeit briefly.  To be lost in music may also help, as long as it doesn’t set me to thinking of all the work I have not produced and thence onwards to everything else which I have not done.

As if to make clear its endogenous nature, this downer gets darker as this world get brighter.  It has no cause except itself.  I can arrest alcoholism by not drinking – this one’s a harder nut to crack.

Meanwhile, I hang out the washing.

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Should is a Shed made of Wood

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Being human is to be conscious; and if this weren’t bad enough, we are conscious not only of everything out there but everything inside us.  Anxiety plays over a fugue of guilt – we are so permanently stressed that we have stopped noticing it.  There is, too, an inner denial of guilt; we deny what we feel and what we feel is, we are not enough.  There is something I SHOULD be doing which I am not doing.  If only I did it, I would feel fulfilled.  But I just don’t know what it is.

Like a lost ruined city beneath a lake, our swirling angst is submerged.  Rather than diving down to find outlines of an unmoveable mass, it might be better to hop in a boat and sail on over it.  I put on some headphones, tune in and turn off.

Even Scriabin is better than skin-diving: this perspicacious composer may, indeed, be performing catharsis through his music of anxiety.

The most important thing I do in treating depression is NOT to think positive thoughts.  Research carried out at Reading University on the amygdala revealed that, in a depressed person, every thought is painted black.  If you wish to feel worse, try thinking “positive” thoughts – your brain cannot distinguish them from any other kind, they are just more heavy brainwaves to depress your system.  The important job is to be right in the moment, deleting those obsessive undercurrents.  The negatives can certainly go, that rumination about what you did in your childhood, how you are a complete failure – virtually every thought which is not about the here-and-now.

Music is usually helpful as long as it doesn’t start me agonizing about why I haven’t composed nine great symphonies.  Beethoven was deaf and died of alcoholism – I must just get used to the idea of not being immortal after my death.  Or write a blog.