I have a new column at Omni Reboot, “Neurodiversions,” “Facing Death,” here. Stop by and leave your comments if you want to help ensure I continue writing more. Then there’s a more personal testament I wrote a few days before, about my own eternal context as a writer. This feels like it may be the truest thing I’ve written to date.
Waiting on the Last Word: A Literary Lament
With every sentence I write I am hoping to encapsulate perfectly the paradox of writing, and therefore of my own existence as “a writer.”
For example: I believe if I could somehow convey, through writing, the inescapable, intolerable meaninglessness of all worldly pursuits—including writing—then I would finally have said something meaningful.
Why? Good God man! Why??
To fully recognize, acknowledge, and communicate futility is to banish futility? To express utterly the dilemma of my own inauthenticity is to become, at long last, authentic?
We can dream, and live to dream. Every writer is a dreamer, first, last, and every step in-between.
Meanwhile, the paradoxes continue.
They are present in everything I write, for the simple reason that writing itself is, for me, a paradoxical activity. I write wholly and simply because I have not learned how not to.
I like to think this makes me a “true” writer (whatever that is), but what I know is that I am a false—or at least seriously deficient—experiencer, and everything I write is about this deficiency and how the act of writing is both an attempt to overcome it (to banish futility) and further proof of my continued succumbing to it. (As if further proof were needed!) Paradox!
If I could give up trying to give up, would I be free just to be?
The only pure act is to do absolutely nothing—not even “exist.” Everything else is compromised by the impurity of our motivation. Inevitably.
Clearly the beginning was not the word but the silence which preceded it. Silence always was and ever shall be—but only once all words are exhausted. Space is infinite but it can only be identified by the finite-ness of the things that “fill” it; even though, paradoxically, they never can.
The largest body in creation is non-existent (futile!) inside the Infinite; the most profoundly resounding words are swallowed up by Silence, as if never having been spoken.
Tears in the rain, staining the page. The forest is always empty. The tree never falls.
The paradox of me writing all this is that I am writing to be heard, but I know that there is no “one” here, or anywhere, to hear me. There are only my own ghosts, of mother, father, brother, all deceased, insufficiently impressed by my presence to have ever validated my existence, which is now forever in question. The echo of their indifference keeps me company in the silence of my isolation, my “genius.” The lantern it’s stuck inside is the world.
I don’t want to be established (that’s just the cover story)—I want to be released.
I am writing messages to the world in the hope that I can make of them a cloak—a spell—to conceal my escape, a cosmic prison break. As if I could somehow bribe my jailors, or persuade them of my innocence through the power of my eloquence! Futile!
What makes the world a prison is that it’s deaf and blind to me and all the meanings I can throw at it. A ghost world.
Perhaps more accurately, I am writing a message (my unlived “life”) that I hope to somehow get inside the bottle of the world, and then cast onto the ocean of eternity, in the hope, somehow, of being found and rescued by . . . What, exactly?
Whatever it is that allows me and everything else that is impermanent to exist, impossibly, within the Infinite: whatever that is, which is permanent and everlasting and by definition of the highest.
It didn’t begin with a word and it doesn’t end when the word ends.
But maybe, just maybe, it can live inside a word.
And that would be the last word.