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A Cure Remains

It's still worth saying something

A Cure Remains

Over the years, I have journaled across a number of mediums—be it scribbling on paper, or clacking away online—and I’m familiar with the fastidious difficulties that come along with mainating it as an outward-facing practice. At this point, I’m not much convinced that chronicling my worldly reflections—or even my poorly established state of mind—has much to offer me, as professionalized activity.

As someone who has predominantly written for themselves first, well before putting their words out to a wider audience, looking back I see how blogging anonymously created opportunities for me to flex my language, and experiment with form, and reach audiences that would have otherwise been inaccessible to me. And now, it’s easy for me to see how the format of those early blogs enabled my growth as a writer.

In a way, I’m happy that early iterations of the blog as a specific genre has moved on from it’s intimate and predominantly text-based form—not so much in a “been there, done that” sort of way—but because I feel what I accomplished in that early form of self-publishing was substantial, and it’s easier for me to consider that chapter of my writing life complete.

That said, even if I consider myself a retired blogger—as well as a somewhat rumpled storyteller—
it’s still hard to shake the impluse to inject a virtual space that I have created with a measure of personal vitality. So I’m tucking this short essay into the corner of this site to scratch a phantom itch, as much as provide a small window into my creative persona.

Alarmist hubbub over the slick automations of AI aside—I think we’ve reached a point in the development of new media where it's safe to assume that the world of letters—as well as print—isn’t in danger of disappearing. Though we may not know just how the static will clear, now that we are armed by, and with, such extraordinary tools to communicate and disseminate information—I do feel that some of the forceful imperative to be a part of an endless, active dialogue—whether online, social, or otherwise—is smoothing out as a matter of choice—regardless of how loud the discourse that comes from those spheres happens to be.

I see much of that dialogue underwritten by a forceful stamp of soap-box bluster and unearned melodrama. No matter how ephemeral much of digital media is, or will become—there’s a swagger behind the limited character counts and pull-quote-ready tag lines that reminds me of the posturing I've traditionally associated campy melodrama—the sort of hyperbole familiar to fictional courtrooms in serialized television. I look around now and see words televised, reported, and disseminated as infotainment broadcasting a similar tenor. Where this falls down for me is in how this particular genre of moral—and moralizing—theatre becomes puffed with its indulgent self-performance. It becomes a false dialogue aimed toward a jury that’s ready to be fired up—even before considering itself to be an audience that is ready to be entertained. but more than happy to be offended by jingoist keywords than a patient stockpiling of outrage ammunition.
Still, I feel all this amounts to a drama of repetition, more than the rapid decline of a decaying infrastructure of attention, tolerance, modernism, or what-have-you. All of this only becomes more familiar to me as I grow older. Try, if you will, to find something new.

But even in a climate as reminiscent and exhausting to me as the one we seem to be reliving, once again, is that these same forces can make writing a self-contained narrative—or lyric, or conversation—unplugged and offline feel that much more isolating than acts of creation necessarily are, by nature. Even though sitting alone at a desk, shoving the cat away from a keyboard, or from under the scratch of a pencil, is distraction enough to wrestle with most days—to say nothing of dogged, ever-snapping lists of priorities in need of imminent, real-world social attention.

However, the sense that whatever “content” you may be producing as a creative—removed from the potential for ever-present, active, and almost reflexive feedback—these are thiings that can haunt you and your practice with an elevated sense of missed opportunity, and foregone imminent discovery—the hint of possibly that at any moment you are not breaking in to a global sea of relevance—where you your work may gain that precious moment of recognition, and inch closer to the centre of an exclusive cultural world.
This impression may or may not be true. As tempting as it is for someone like me—who has watched the transition of voicemail, to modem, to gigabit optic cable—I can’t deny that the urge to tap into that illusive pulse is there. But it's worth mentioning that I do not connect with social media by preference, as much as by rule. And though I will always champion the potential for an open and democratic online world—I am also aware that my energy is better spent at a safe distance from the precipice of any flash-point ignition, especially when it may spark from the flare of a printed word.

Presently, my day-to-day existence is a relatively placid. It is driven by the activities of reading, and writing, and revising—not just my work, but old habits and reflections; attitudes that have accrued while the world has, and will continue, to change. The world, as they say, moves on—and I would prefer to move along with it—but also at a conscious distance. This is an attitude and a practice that takes a significant amount of work in and of itself; but I also need to be sure that I know how represent my values, new and old, as best I can; with as much grace as I am able.

After a prolonged search, I have been able to find enough space, not just in my life, but also myself, to do what I love—to think as best I can; write as well as I know how; and teach what I am capable of sharing—and feel confident enough to make choices that were impossible before I learned how to manage my health with any consistently. But additionally, I am still learning how much vigilance that these things require. The scale this effort takes is tremendous. More importantly, it means knowing how and when to ask for help when it becomes necessary.

This is another hard lesson for me to accept. But even for someone who exists in a cloud of dreams, abstractions, words, and print—what many people describe as mindfulness frequently comes to me as gratitude for the love and support that has enabled me to consolidate the many worlds I have, and continue to, inhabit; along with the bizarre array of histories and experiences I have accumulated within myself up until now—and presumably will continue into the future. It is the people I love and believe in that have brought me here—relatively intact—and kept me aware that managing my mental and physical health has been a challenge for others besides myself alone.

So, I do not share these thoughts as a journal entry, or blog post, or frantic yelp out to a hungry aether—not per se—but as a glad acknowledgement that my work is not just for myself, but also an ongoing inscription dedicated to a larger story—of how I may best connect with a wider world—and how, for me, this happens best by giving it a wider berth—while also respecting those who help me live in and with it.

I have always believed that stories are where our concepts of living cohere as a collective species, and that they take shape around a desire to understand ourselves—regardless of how opaque or illegible our own narratives may strike us face-on. Because, wherever it is you may be taken, as a curious or obstinate entity, it’s safe to say that, when you arrive, you will find yourself there already; and (to paraphrase a comic I’m reminded of every day, and I frequently return to) the spectre of death inevitably becomes quite real. Though the faces it pulls at you, from out of the gloom, are frequently absurd—they do forebode the inevitability that we are all running out of time, and will eventually leave a portion of our own importance unfinished. Given that, I maintain you may as well put on a fancy hat, under a welter of glitter, and trumpet on an obnoxious kazoo.

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