Ask me something. Anonymously. Or not.
My first thought was gravity. Funny isn't it? My second thought was Atlas bearing the weight of the Globe on his shoulders. The bottom of every pyramid is a wide and even and steady base strong enough to carry the vortex of power above it.
Dragon Ball. Lady Oscar. The Hundred Years of Solitude. The Bag of Bones. Isn't it obvious? We are mere reflections of the quintessential landscapes within us, the landscapes we had the least control in creating.
Water, always the water. Something happens in the water. Too much salt, too little fish, too many people, too few who care.
Or maybe it's a psychotic kind of apocalypse surrounding water. We bathe too much, drink too little, even Lady Macbeth pities our hypochondria.
Sorry for the lack of wit, my fingers are rusty, my gears are cool. This was my first paragraph, this was my first writing exercise of the day. And under your watch. Oh the lamentations!
Floggammit, I missed that exit on the 43rd. Again.
قال الخليل بن أحمد : الرجال أربعة،
رجل يدري ويدري أنه يدري فذلك عالم فاتبعوه،
ورجل يدري ولا يدري أنه يدري فذلك نائم فأيقظوه،
ورجل لا يدري ويدري انها لا يدري فذلك مسترشد فأرشدوه،
ورجل لا يدري أنه لا يدري فذلك جاهل فارفضوه.
― أبو حامد الغزالي, إحياء علوم الدين
See, it's not about how you feel. It's about what are you going to do about it?
If it took more than 140 characters, then you haven't thought about it enough. It takes patience to be concise.
As much as I would like to be philosophical about it, my sagging boobs tell me that change is a matter of gravity. And the wrinkles on my face say that change is a matter of time.
Between the Primordial Goddess Gaia and her brother Chronos, Lou, change is nothing but a cliche.
I can't pay you for that what you stir in us. (Or for this question, come to think.)
I can tell you, however, how we felt when we saw your drawings. How, tired and deflated from daily bullshit as we were, your work touched us with hope.
"Look, he knows how it feels. We aren't alone in this lonesome bullshit against the world. If he can make something beautiful out of his life, so can we. We'll be okay. We can make something beautiful too. Or, at least, make it work."
But you won't remember that the next time you work on a new project. Because that is not your job as an artist to gloat about how people respond after seeing your work.
Your job, as the vessel for the muses, is shut up and draw.
You know it, I know it. Nothing could compensate for the misery/pleasure spent on our work. No matter how much praise or insult we get, nothing could take away the quiet and private satisfaction of bringing forth a project from the heart.
Nor discourage us from starting the next. (Except our own vanity and laziness.)
It isn't our job to be the audience's moral police. Our job is to shut up and work. And more time we spend on the work we're meant to do, the sooner we finish. Hence, the sooner and wider our artistic mark will be imprinted in our audience's subconscious.
What else would have been the alternative? Quit drafting? Start a lawsuit against every copyright-abuse? If we choose either, we would be wasting our time in talking instead of working.
I like to think that, once it is published for all to see and judge and abuse, my work is no longer mine. I lose my inspirational rights the moment it inspires someone else. I can't take it back. I can't change it. It's done.
And, I think, that is the only way I can restart the creative process again. By letting go.
I'm a mouthful, Lou. I know. I work your questions like I want my answers to work for me, too.
And I'm one to talk. The inconsistent blogger. Pah.
But I'm grateful for your questions. And your work about social cages freed me. True story.
Furor arma ministrat.
On the road to my master's home, there is an old man who sits on his porch every afternoon. This old man has the most vacant look on his face. And every time, every afternoon we pass by his house, he's always there with that vacant look on his face, staring at a world that looks back at him with indifferent dismissal.
And I wondered out loud, "How could he do that every day?"
The Timekeeper, who is never idle and whose mind is never vacant even in his sleep, said, "With a lot of practice."
And the Timekeeper, through fractal images in Spartan but loaded sentences told me of the old man's life story. "His wife was the breadwinner. He was a creditor. He never really worked. He never did anything in his life."
If I ever had a TV show, I'd like to s̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶l̶e̶ ̶h̶i̶m̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶e̶c̶k interview him. "How could he have done that to himself? What has he done with his youth? How could he?! How dare he?! When so many of our best and most passionate mates have fought and lost so hard a battle to Live and Express and Become."
I'm too j̶u̶d̶g̶m̶e̶n̶t̶a̶l̶ shy to be on TV.
Though I refuse to let that vacant old man pass through my life unmarked, and demand to learn something from him, if only to soothe my own existential fears, in my defensive "I would have", in a story retold.
Ade had been telling me to lose weight since we were teenagers. One day, I said to him, "If you can hold a tree pose for a full minute, I'll lose any weight you tell me."
And he gave me a face I hadn't seen since I beat him at multiplication tables when I was 13 and he was 9 years old.
The last time I was in home, I had to be both.
The new family member was in Ade's room, and he's a night person. The Timekeeper was in my room, and he's the goddamn-too-early-even-for-roosters kind of person. I swung heavily between both rooms; and my limbs are marked with bed corners and slipped footsteps. And the long cough that followed us all the way to Jatibarang, marked the days and nights that I kept vigil and served and amused that I stayed awake that long without a single line of speed.
Last night, high on caffeine and words, and obese with the state of unwritten, I switched between laptop and notepad and smartphone. Each seemed to contain only a set of colors and options. None could contain me enough.
When a few words caught fire on paper, I tweeted it and that tweet hungered for space so I blogged it and then the hush fell again until something nudged me to reach for paper again.
By the time my contact lenses were so dry that I couldn't keep my eyelids open, by the time my butt was literally numb with dull ache, and my knuckles at a perpetual curve, it was nearly 3 AM.
Yet the wee hours of dawn was thick with the state of unsaid, still.