Monday, May 10, 2010

On Writing.

To change it up, introspection:

I started doing this, this writing business, a few years ago, when I was 19, at the behest of my then-boyfriend. He was a writer. Is a writer still, I suppose, of plays and films and that was how I met him, I was in his thesis film for college, about junkies. It was fun, and kind of beautiful, and kind of incredibly self-indulgent. But I was really in love with him, and he was really... troubled... naturally, and jealous, and alcoholic, and depressed, and he projected, and decided I had issues and encouraged me to write. And he used to drink and moan about how difficult it was to write "the truth" and all his writing was alternately "shit" and then so brave, the tortured artist and his terrible, terrible adolescence in a typical WASP well-to-do Midwest household with a LOVELY mom who drank a little and a rebellious, charismatic, LOVELY older brother who dabbled in the punk scene, and a downright Leave it to Beaver dad. (They were all sincerely lovely people. I'm saying this to undermine his suffering. Hah.) Anyway, he encouraged me to "write it all down," "the truth," "dig deeper." "Dig deeper," he always said, always warning me about the tendency to shy from the truth and just write "bullshit." It was a condition of our relationship, that I wrote this hideous truth and bare my soul thus ridding myself of all the demons that were dragging us down.

Ironically, or maybe not, he would barely let me stay alone in his apartment for fear that I'd read his crap, about which I honestly couldn't give a flying fuck. He did it a few times, reluctantly, and I had no impulse. It didn't really interest me too much, and I'd read his plays, and it was private to him, and I respected that.

And the one time he stayed at my place when I went to work, I had a pit in my stomach a few hours after leaving. I called him and he told me, in a thick strange voice that he'd been sat there the whole time, reading my shit. I'd left my e-mail open. He read it all. Everything. My personal letters to everyone. To John. My doubts about him. Everything. There wasn't anything to really hide... it was just my thoughts, my voice, my SOUL that freaked him out. He left. I came home and my room reeked of smoke and I was just grossed out by everything about him, but I tend to cling onto people, and, I clung onto him, and we reconciled, on this condition that I "dig deeper" and write the truth. That he was always struggling to write, that ached him and scared him too much to confront...

And I wrote it, boy. No. Fucking. Problem. It was cathartic and exhilarating and put a Devil-may-care spring in my stride for a while, and I gave it to him to read, at his crappy day-job as a doorman downtown, and of course he didn't call me as I white-knuckled waited for him to do, and so I called him and he said--

"Well. It's not bullshit."

"No." I said. "And?"

And I don't remember what he said. He was probably silent for a while. We dissolved after that. I don't know where the hell he is.



My writing has always gotten me into trouble. Okay, I'm an exhibitionist. And obviously it's not just the writing, it's dancing, it's across the board, it's music, it's my face on some screen, lighting someone's face at 3 a.m looking at some screen, warm in the glow of radiation.

But it's the writing that freaks people out. I think every boyfriend I've had, except Sean, has read it, my private correspondences, scoured the internet for old blogs, sat at my computer and opened up My Documents and helped them-goddamn-selves. And freaked out, and obsessed, and couldn't stop, and looked at me when I got home like "Who are you. Who are you. WHAT are you." And left, afraid of their shadows and out the door.

And not just boyfriends. Family members. Old classmates.

And it's flattering, huh. And it makes me nauseous.

And I'm driven, my whole existence, is driven by these conflicting impulses to lay it all out and spread it all out on a giant screen, and to guard my privacy at all costs.

And none of them could handle it. And none of them can handle me. And nobody ever can.

1 comment:

  1. I think, the truth is, few people can actually handle the truth. We walk around with masks and smiles and b-shit until that's written as normal, so when soul-bearing honesty breaks out, it frightens people, especially the ones who are closest to us. Real love isn't afraid. Real love takes it and tries to help it heal and become beautiful.