Reading Addiction by Design, Lionel Shriver’s The Post-birthday World, and a lot of news articles, I feel more or less inundated with the sense of the artificiality of absolutely everything in modern life. Right now, for example, my left big toe is in an incredible amount of pain, but it’s the result of doing weightlifting barefoot and in a poorly-constructed squat rack. A wholly manmade situation through which I persist with copious applications of ibuprofen and gritted teeth.
Tonight, for example, I walked over to the bar here to get my allotted amount of permissible alcohol and attempted to get a good hard buzz. The goal there was to get buzzed and write a stream of consciousness, yet more than anything else I ended up commenting on my environment, this “sports bar”-style establishment in the midst of a soulless, hopeless Qatari desert. It troubled me, though, in that stream of consciousness, that I am so capable of envisioning these elaborate, self-sustaining detailed worlds in my dreams, and talking to people, and even sometimes attempting to capture them in drawings, and yet when I sit down and attempt to leverage my expensive, overlarge vocabulary, I fail to even make it to one thousand words to try and describe the pictures.
So I still try to write fiction, genre fiction, poetry, sometimes, attempting to capture that which I wish I could put onto film. But the most fascinating stuff seems to slip through my memories like salmon leaping up a fish ladder against a raging torrent of emotional and verbal non-clarity.
Ultimately, I suppose, this is not that important in the grand scheme of things. My life is a very small conscious ember in the dying fires of greater Western civilization, or perhaps a coal that could eventually spark into a greater engine-driver of the future. At thirty-one, it certainly feels like I have already experienced an outsize amount of the larger world. Lately, when there have been “big world events” I realize that I have physically been to a great number of the places flashing across TV screens and twisted to fit a specific narrative antithetical to my own worldview and civilization’s success.
Yet I still feel compelled to tell stories, or at least take a stab at giving people a tour of these alternate worlds in my head that I get to explore, alone, so often whether asleep or awake.