Where Art Thou, My Muse?

Sun Jun 29 2003 09:59AM -0800

It just struck me how long it has been since I've written anything. I don't mean these godforsaken blog entries. (I'm tempted to wonder if this blog has not undermined my ability to write something creative instead of something solipsistic.) Oh sure, I have the occasional badly fashioned stream of consciousness poem scattered here and there, as a blog entry or on some scrap of paper. (Although like as not, it is me simply wailing about my self-induced misery and can scarcely be called coherent, much less lay claim to being art.) But I have not thought of myself as a writer for a long time, and I did not recognize until now how desperate I am for some creative outlet.

Partly, it is probably the lack of stimulus. In the scant few days I have been in L.A., I feel like I have been exposed to more interesting people and ideas than I have in the entire year I spent in Chicago. It has been a long time since I've listened to someone's discourse or watched a film, and then allowing my mind to meander down parallel tracks of thought, evoking new ideas, driving me to want to explore.

There is a part of me that feels foolish for this. Like I am stating the obvious. (Duh.) My soul has lain fallow for too long. (Ah. Melodrama. Someone kick me in the head.)

If only there were time. Damn.

In any case, moving on to a tangent, I recall the conversation I had with N over the phone the other day, about, well, book-snarfers, i.e., people who consume books like Pringles (once you pop, you just can't stop), cramming them into their brain faster than they can swallow it. (Besides N, I also think of A and S, who are also known to be able to devour a full-length novel within a couple of hours or so.) When I was a kid, I would do such ridiculous things as read an entire fantasy trilogy (for example, the original Shannara trilogy) from sunset to sunrise. (Apparently, I initially exaggeratedâ€â€what's new?â€â€the whole thing is only 1,200 pages long.) I made the mistake of indulging in the Cthulhu mythology by H.P. Lovecraft after midnight, rendering myself a gibbering maniac afraid both of the darkness and of leaving the light on, as well as sitting on the toilet for fear that some Nameless Terror would grab me. I would read through meals and significant life events. I was enamored with the written word.

This is really the reason why I want to write, to recall (however futile) that feeling of reading a work of fantasy for the very first time, getting drawn into some make-believe universe. I like to simplify it this way (and, yes, it is quite an oversimplification): the only difference between reading and writing is that with writing, the words aren't immediately in front of your face. But in both cases, there is a required creative participation. The words mean nothing, have no efficacy, without the requisite imagination.

But, as usual, in many different contexts, I have no clear idea of what I want to say. Such is life.

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