Bookmark #907

I believe I have forgotten the simplest thing in the world; I have forgotten to confess. Perhaps it was the impossibility, the mountains I scaled for years on end, or the touch-and-go of modern love that let me down—the meeting and forgetting, and meeting and forgetting, and meeting and forgetting. Perhaps it was that and nothing else. Or maybe it was being told often how I did it wrong, or poorly, that there was a right and correct way to tell someone you loved them. Maybe it was that, and now, like a child who is reprimanded for who they are turns to a quiet corner and grows into a quiet adult, like that, my silence is learned. So much I keep to myself—to think all the things I never tell others, to think all the times I have looked at someone wanting to say the three words, which, in what seems like a different life, came so easily to me, and keeping mum, uttering no semblance of speech, to think of all the missed moments, to think of all the missed chances, to think of the eager eyes on me, looking within me as if they were saying yes before I asked a question, and the eyes that begged me, “Say it, say it, what is stopping you? Why would you not say it? This is the only chance we have. If you do not say it now, we may never get another chance,” and me looking away and looking for a way to leave the room.

Yes, my heart was broken once, but lately, and by lately, I mean as far as memory would take me, I have broken it myself. I have suffocated it under a pillow. I have stabbed it in the dark. I have thrown it like you throw some absurd piece of decoration you got from overseas during an argument. I have dropped it like a bottle of wine you knock down when you are too drunk. I have starved it in a cage and acted surprised like a jailer that the prisoner did not live through the night. I have forbidden it from speaking, and is that not the same as dying? I have broken my own heart, and I have done it correctly. I have done it as they taught me. I have kept it all to myself. My heart has withered like a rose never watered. A petal or two remain, perhaps. But I wonder, at what point does a flower stop looking like one? Your guess is as good as mine.

Bookmark #906

Often, people climb mountains only so someone worries and waits for them, and many voyages are made not for the wealth or the gold but for a packed lunch to take along. We all crave care, and you will find that the most important question a person can ask another on most days is, “Did you eat?” Or “Did you sleep alright?”

What is a person, if not someone other people check in on? What is being alive if not being asked to take care, to call or text when you reach, to be told you ought to ask for help? What is living is not being continuously interrupted with love? What is any of it, if not the perpetual and sometimes irritating involvement of other people, of them poking and prodding? What is any of it if not being thought of? To be a person is to be in another person’s mind—sometimes for a second and, often, for a lifetime.

Perhaps the worst feeling in the world is not a brutal heartache. Perhaps it is not having anyone to tell it to. There are far many terrible things waiting around the corner, like a predator hunting prey, but the most terrible thing, I reckon, is if they do happen, if the worst does come to pass, and no one knows about it. And the greatest blessing is not some absurd protection from it all, and it is undoubtedly not a seat in paradise where all things are bright and beautiful. Instead, it is to be thought of, to be called into, to be included and involved, and to be annoyed into belonging.

Tonight, there is little on my mind, and most of it carries no significance. The only part that does is this: I am alive because I am thought of.

Bookmark #905

On a lovely Saturday morning, I slept in, woke up, and decided to stay in bed listening to music. I had my coffee in bed. And then, I had another cup in bed still. I read a little—a few articles, a letter, and a poem. That is all I did all morning; of course, I replied to a few messages here and there. And then, I reckon it was time to begin the day. At some point, we must all start. That much is true. And until then, nothing was real. Nothing ever is real till you’re not out of bed. We are only people in the waking world. We are only real when we are out and about and walking and making jokes. I would know. I have realised that in many situations, the only thing in my purview is making an ill-timed joke and that I cannot physically resist a terrible pun that has made its way to my mind is both a blessing and a curse and brings about wildly varying results with a wide variety of subjects and situations. But regardless, I began the day and became a person, got a haircut, had conversations here and there, and made small talk with the building guard who barely understands a word but does his job well, and then, I watched some TV and ate a little bit, and before I knew it, the lovely morning had turned into a delightful afternoon. And then, I made some calls about things that needed fixing, and on each call, I held the phone for as long as they kept me holding, and annoying as it was, I did not give grief to the person trying to help me. To my surprise, most things were fixed or resolved. It is a Saturday. We only get this day to get all the frivolities done. It is now slowly inching towards the evening. I have spent an hour lazing about, suspended in the limbo of asleep and awake. It has been most pleasurable and greatly rejuvenating. I wish I could have stayed in bed a little longer today. But then, once you get out, and until you get in, fully committing to sleep at night, you are, for all intents and purposes, a person. And as a person, I cannot simply call it a day in the evening. We must go to the town and celebrate a friend’s revolution around the sun. That is what people do, I reckon, and for a few hours, about six or seven more of them, I must do it, too.

Bookmark #904

I must preserve my mind. It is crucial. I must preserve my mind before the thoughts of every day, of troubles big and small, of “work”, trickle into it like viruses into a bloodstream. They multiply like viruses do—rapidly, violently, ruthlessly. The sheer apathy the world and its numerous abstractions have for our more noble pursuits stirs me uncomfortable and leaves me dizzy. Before you know it, the tepid, irrelevant matters multiply and cause a sudden sickening of the mind, and you do not get a chance; it is too late on most days. By the time you realise something is wrong, you are coughing up flimflam; it takes hold of you, and nothing can be done about it until a good night’s sleep.

There is a diet and a regimen for life that can, at least, hold this all at bay until you get some work done, and work here is a greater pursuit. I forget to make this distinction often, and it is an important one to make: the only activities that truly matter are things that make life bearable for us or others. Carrying bread to a friend carries greater significance than making a million dollars. Walking on grass will always be more vital than never-ending paperwork. And I do not mean to suggest, for people often read ideas as dichotomies, that the latter is unimportant. Most things are worth doing, and anything worth doing is essential. But there always is something more important than others. We must learn to spot the difference. We must learn to find Waldo. It is all there is to living.

Between writing a poem and writing a few lines of computer code, between sitting to read with a warm cup of tea and reading a report financed by a lobby chasing a monopoly and a bottom line, between calling someone to check in on them and cold calling a potential customer, between all of these and more, one is more important than the other. We know it already. We, you and I, know this so well that we jump onto making excuses as we read the words. And so I am sure of your reasons, and I am confident you have already listed many, and the ifs and the buts are plenty. But to that, all I can say is:

Tell me, dear reader, who are you trying to convince so desperately?

Bookmark #903

The sun blares through the kitchen window, warm, almost burning, and in the soft comfort of having woken up just five minutes ago and being kissed by the sun, I make my coffee. I plunge the French press filter and pour the coffee into a cup. Then, out of nowhere, like a bird with no place to sit on this tiny balcony, a thought arose, and since I only think about nine or ten things in total, this one was about the usually beaten horse: writing. Specifically, it was about how, compared to the other forms of art, writers do not do much.

What do writers do? They just stare at a page. But that something requires no effort to get into has no bearing on the effort it requires to stay in it.

What do writers do? I wager they keep writing. That is all they do. But it is far more difficult and irritating than one could imagine. Many can write—this is true now more than ever—but to do it for more than a couple of days is crucial. It is different for writers. Many write their lives away and never get a word read. Many write a few poems, and people go gaga over them. Music works differently—do not get me wrong, I do not mean it works easily—where a person can do ten songs and not make any for a decade. Even if they do this, they will be called a musician. Their vocation is in their ability to play an instrument or sing or perform. But a writer is only a writer till they are writing. If I were to stop what I do tomorrow, if I stopped writing altogether, even for a week, they would say: he does not write now; he was a writer. It is different; we must stay submerged, torn, always living, always watching, always sitting to write. It is not always easy, not when your soul rebels like a disgruntled worker, not when your heart beats out of step, not when your mind and body bicker like siblings of about the same age, one or two years removed. It is hard on most days, and on some, it is harder.

That something requires no effort to get into has no bearing on what it takes to stick to it. This is true for love, and this is true for writing. Perhaps that is why they claim writers make for excellent lovers. But what would I know about love? I only know to sit and wait.

Bookmark #902

It did not occur to me until this morning that February will be longer this year. This fact would not have escaped me if I were still a child; I would have been aware and cognisant of this being a leap year on the very first of January. It is, of course, different when you are a child. When childhood is over, however, the days mix into a silky, velvety batter made from the finest of ingredients known to man. An extra day does not seem extraordinary enough to remember, and we only remember it in contexts that are perverse, like a meeting or a deadline, things that, if I may be so blunt, will never matter in the long scheme of things, things that do not matter at all. But a full day, a whole day, is a blessing no matter how you turn it, no matter what light you examine it under.

And yet, what good is an additional day if you cannot use it for breathing and being? I believe the French had it right when they proposed a new calendar which ensured all months were equal, and to account for all the days they took from our dear Januarys and Augusts and their brothers and friends, proposed a new month and a free day at the end. I reckon that would have made sense to those like me, those who work only to be able to write in the morning. I reckon that would have been a wonderful way to end the year. Of course, convincing the entire world of something is not as easy, so we have continued with our twelve months with three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter. But then, what we get is what we get, and if an additional day in February every four years is what’s in the kitty, then we should take it graciously, too, even if the day feels as if it were one out of many, one out of a long series of days to live through. Not that it is a bad thing. This is in no way a complaint over the days I have had or my days in general. I could never complain about this life. I have lost the rights to ever be able to do that. I lost them a long time ago.

Regardless, tomorrow is tomorrow’s concern. Today remains to be lived, and I must get on it now. I believe I made the leap a wee bit earlier than most this year, but then, there has always been impatience in my patience.

Bookmark #901

In life, all of joy, laughter, care, and some of their friends are present and seldom noticed before they are nowhere to be found. We must keep a low bar for things like humour. We must not make it a challenge. We must not think of our laughter as a reward. The good things are affordable by all, and often, you will find that it is people who put a markup on things and refuse to take them at face value. Those who criticise a joke and sit there with proud faces often need to laugh the most. And you will find if you have spent enough years here, and enough amounts to a dozen or two, that it is easier to smile than not. This is true, and everyone knows it deep inside; only some take it like they take a joke, at face value, quickly and immediately. We must all aspire to be like them. All things in life, including people, yes, should be taken like that. And most is not all. I know this, and you should be aware of it, too. But most is good enough.

Most jokes are funny. Most people are good. Most books are written well. Most music is worth listening to. Most films are worth watching. Most. Most. Most. Hammer it into your heart! We must keep our eyes peeled towards it. Not just things, not just people, we must take the world at face value. On most days, most is what the world can feasibly offer. We must accept it graciously. We must bow and take it. We must not let the few dictate what we think about things. There is no benefit to being finicky and nitpicking. There is no benefit to any of it. Why look for more when most of it is beautiful, bright, and awe-inspiring? Why look for more when most love is handed to you in a neat package? It makes no sense to look further. It is illogical, preposterous, and a terrible waste of time. Time, which could be used for experiencing more of what we get. Time, which could be used to laugh a little bit more.

Most days are good because nothing happens in them. Nothing noteworthy, nothing extraordinary. Ordinary is good because we do not know; we cannot know where the extra sways until it does. Most days are good, and some not so much. We must leave the latter where we find them.

Bookmark #900

I lie on the couch. The lights are out in the hall, but the orange glow from the lamp from the bedroom manages to find its way to it, almost how a child tiptoes to a door and halts right before entering. For the first in the last two or three days, I find my heart and mind at rest, which feels foreign and undeserved. Perhaps it is the nap I took in the afternoon. Maybe it is the rebellion—not the nap in itself but what it represents, but I have beaten that metaphor to death in older pieces, so the specifics are not my concern.

In this state of statelessness, I watch reruns of a show I last watched a decade ago, and some part of it reminds me of who I was ten years ago, and it also points out the many ways I have become who I have become. And what have I become? I do not know. Flawed, I wonder. At least, that is one of the first words that often comes to mind when someone asks me about myself. Now, I realise it is not a good look on anyone to claim a negative adjective for their own self lest people tell them to think of themselves in a more positive light, and often, if they are altruistic enough, they hand you the adjectives on a platter. To avoid this unsolicited help, I often skip and hop over until I get to hope, to optimism, to the faux boldness with which I seemingly carry myself.

On most days, however, it is a character I play. And we all play a character; only I am willing to admit it. And mind you, it is a performance so believable on most days, even I get convinced of all the hope I present outwardly to the world, to friends and family and acquaintances and strangers alike. But often, I lose it, too, you see, and I retreat to a desk in some dingy corner of my mind. And though the desk has windows beside it, the curtains are all tattered, and though there is light, all it does is illuminate the dust floating about it. And the dust gathers, and I find no motivation to wipe it off. But I can write there, and I can write for days, months even, and I have before. It has happened before; I have written myself out of the proverbial room.

Until last week, I did not imagine I would find myself there again. But I did, and I have, and now, I sit here, writing. I do not know for how long.

Bookmark #899

Wanted to write earlier today, but I was busy repairing a few things at home, doing laundry and then hanging it out to dry, vacuuming the flat, all so I could leave for brunch on time. And then, in the sunny cafe with a garden trail, we had our food and talked a little bit. This aspect of found family, of coming across people in life, and somehow sticking for and with them beyond the years, and leaving, of course, when you have to, but then, coming across them once again baffles and intrigues me in equal parts. I look around at how quickly, how instantaneously I have felt at home and, for the lack of a better word, how safe it has made me feel. And I thought of this talking over brunch, laughing, and then, I thought of it for the rest of the day and the evening, while having dinner, while playing cards, while walking around the township, especially over the grass patches with the little signs telling us to not do so, that the grass was forbidden. I do not understand it, of course. What else is grass good for? But regardless, there is nothing more pleasurable than a mild rebellion with your friends you partake in with frictionless enthusiasm.

And wanted to write later today, but I was on the phone with someone I had not talked to in months, and despite our clocks showing different times, it was not important enough a concern for me. Before I knew it, three hours had gone by. Despite the different times on the clocks still, we could not have felt any closer, and the echo of the laughter still remains fresh in my mind, even though the apartment has fallen silent and remains anxious to end the day. Of course, I could have written before the brunch, after dinner, in the little moment I had in the evening, or the few before I dialled the number. Of course, I could have cut the call short, and of course, I could have done things differently, but if I were honest, this effervescence of increased activity in my life has left little attention to spare for other things, writing most of all.

For the first time in a long time, these words have taken a back seat. I could not tell you if this is good or the worst thing in the world yet, but there is no shred of guilt in me.

Bookmark #898

Woke up unfathomably late, and on any other day, I would be ashamed of myself if I woke up at an hour when the world and the day have both passed me by, but today is an exception. It is an exception for I needed the rest, and that it had been an ordeal to be awake with two hours of shut-eye. Of course, when activity thrives in life, all kinds land on your plate, and sometimes, things happen to you in the middle of the night you would not expect to, and if you come out unscathed, albeit shaken and fazed, and a little light on the pockets, it is an acceptable outcome.

The specifics do not matter; they rarely matter. The blurrier the memory, the easier it is to gloss it over like an old canvas where the paint has melded together, where the painting that once was matters little, and the only correct course of action is to paint over it and paint anew. But, of course, for the while we can see the painting, we can be open to make a few jokes, to laugh at the terrible image that now lies in front of us. A little humour goes a long way, and we must, in one way or another, laugh at the ridiculousness of it—of the ambiguity of strokes on the canvas, of the days and nights you cannot fully recall, of the parts of life that are not as pretty enough to try and remember. I reckon that is how I have looked at things; it has worked thus far and has worked quite well.

And what will I do now that I am awake and I have written? I will maybe call a friend and talk about all things under the sun. Perhaps, get some work done. Maybe fold some laundry and continue the endless continuity of normalcy. To remind ourselves that for all the albeit, somewhat unordinary things that happen to us, most of life flows smoothly from one day to the next. The world changes, the floor moves beneath your feet, your faith in people shivers a bit, and then, you sit in an afternoon and fold laundry, and then, you stand at the kitchen sink doing the dishes.

Bookmark #897

At around twelve in the afternoon, I found myself on the couch and noticed how unimaginably bright the apartment was, and I realised that the sun had found its way inside from all corners possible, from the many windows, from the open balcony door, and blades of light, strokes and specks here and there were on all the walls. In this golden space of warmth all around, I realised there was little I wanted in life. I realised this once again, as I have time and again, and this happened only because I had forgotten it. We tend to forget this, of course; I am sure you agree and have felt it escape you, too, and I am sure you have been reminded of it by the softest of touches from life, like some sun, some rain, a little bit of pain, and I am sure you have obsessed over this, like I have been today.

And owing to this obsession, I have done little, and done but the bare minimum of what I do every day, and now, for all intents and purposes, the day is over since I have to head out, but for all that I did not do today, all that I pushed onto the shoulders of tomorrow, I sat for another minute in the sun. That is not a bad way to remember a day by. To me, that is of supreme importance: to take a moment. That is all we are here for, to take some space, to take a moment, to sit at a table and say something with profound conviction, to stand with our arms wide and our backs straight, to be proud and say:

I am here, and I am alive, and if I want to, I can sit here and bask in the sun, that much is a given, and no one can take it away from me.

Bookmark #896

Not too long ago, almost about a couple of days or nights, it occurred to me that it had been but three weeks. It has been three weeks since I moved to this new apartment and made it into an olive-green and beige dream. And it has been three weeks since I pushed open so many doors, I could not keep track of what may or may not happen. It has been three weeks of coming home late from nowhere and everywhere and writing even later.

And now, like an arrow in the dark, like the car I often come home in, gliding over empty streets, my life shoots ahead and away from me to somewhere I do not yet understand; only my form seems clear, and my drive seems true, and it is hellbent on finding its mark. My life has sliced through these weeks with immeasurable precision. It has cut through time without trading its speed. Once it hits, of course, I will know it all, and I will be bold and proud, and quite like an astute and celebrated scientist after some great experiment’s conclusion, I will have answers. But until then, it all seems perfect, and it all seems in place. When the gift of hindsight arrives at my door like the many parcels which arrive when you begin setting up a home, I will read the manifest and have a lot to say about the form, and there will be cross words about the errors and there will be umpteen ways I could have done this better. But as I often say, for most of our lives, it is not the wisdom but the errors that matter the most.

To be a person is to perpetually make decisions without much to go off of, without any credible insight in your hands. When people, especially those who talk about business (of which there are many), talk about the calculations, the decisions, and all things reserved for people who are, I reckon, much smarter than me, they do so confidently and for the plebeian in me, this is confusing and throws me out for a spell. For I believe we can never know things and that to be certain about anything but yourself is a crime committed only by the proud and the vain.

Everything is a coin toss; no matter what we know, each toss will be fresh; the coin will land either way, and we will be none the wiser. This is how it has always been.

Bookmark #895

We had dinner, which did not burn a hole in our collective pockets for a change, and then, we lay on the grass talking about all things in the world, but mostly books. A friend asked, as friends often do if I could name my favourite one of all time. I dodged the question like you often dodge an inquiry for favourites, not because there is no answer but because there are many. Then, I told him the truth and asked if he had read Le Petit Prince. He had not. Then, I noticed that despite the light all around us from balconies in the hundreds of apartments and lampposts around, I could see a sole star in the sky, and for a second, I lost my train of thought. Once I found myself back in the land of the living and out of the abrupt delirium, I told my friend he should read it. Then, for a few minutes, I listed books and why I loved them. And among them, there were so many, and it was such a diverse list, I felt somewhat proud of myself for having grown the way I did, for living a life that had led me precisely to that minute on the grass.

And it could have been more diverse, but you see, you talk to people where they are, you meet them in those places, and you often leave them there. My friend, you see, does not enjoy fiction or books where there is more between the lines, and that is fair, of course, not everyone needs to be the daydreamer sort. I gladly take it upon myself to shoulder that responsibility, so as diverse a list as the one I gave him, it could have been more varied had I found it in myself to include fiction or philosophy or anything that did not spell things out for you.

Regardless, it was a satisfactory answer, for we stopped talking about books and spoke about other things as we all walked around. But it stayed with me, the night sky, the moment with no start and end, that I was lying on the grass in another city, that at some point in the last months, a voice in my heart asked me to leave, and that I said I was going to do it, and then, I left.

How wonderful it is that nothing is as permanent as we think it is at first, and how curious it is that when we think of things at first, it never occurs to us that they can change?

And then, they do.

Bookmark #894

Often, when I meet people, and they tell me their stories, incredible as they seem to be, the stories are linear, and one thing leads to another in the simplest of ways. But this life, the one I live, is convoluted beyond measure, with time blurring between each crucial moment, overlapping arcs and chapters, and a malleable, ephemeral history that changes depending on where you begin reading. Like the uncertainty Heisenberg so aptly pointed out for matter, the life I have led can also be investigated with limitations slapped onto it. To know the story and my state of mind at any given moment and to do it simultaneously has become impossible. And thus, I envy those who have simpler stories to tell. And I lie to myself sometimes and make myself forget this absurd nature of it all, but the illusion and veil rarely last longer than a fortnight. I am reminded, again, in the most random, most unpredictable of ways, of how things are. This has exhausted me today, by four in the afternoon. And now, I need a drink, and now, I know that is a terrible way to go about things, so I shall settle for a walk so I can once again pump my mind with the chemicals it needs to mask everything under a ridiculous, oft perfunctory joke. It is a beaten metaphor, I reckon, of clowns and clouds that hang over them. But then, I see it is a comparison beaten to death for good reason.

Regardless, for no particular reason except the torpor in the air and the general, lucid pointlessness of life, my heart has suddenly sunk to unimaginable depths, and so, I have no more words to waste. And while I celebrate this quality—the aimlessness of what we do here—on most days, today, it has gotten the drop on me, caught me off guard and bested me. We cannot win every day, after all. Some days, we must merely live and get through.

Bookmark #893

What is community? I often think about this and have thought about it for months, if not years. Is it the friends you grow up with, or is it your family who you cannot live without? Is it the stranger from halfway across the world you write letters to? Is it the friend of your friend who does not seem like a stranger simply because the vastness of the common ground between them and you is immeasurable? Is it a field full of daisies, acres on end, going on and on, burgeoning like a grassland on the advent of spring? Is it all of them, or none of them, or some absurd combination of everything you experience as a person? I would not know. I am a mere person, and these are questions far beyond my pay grade. The answers to these are found at the end of a life or at the end of understanding, both of which I am impossibly removed and away from. To be a living, breathing person is to have a dearth of answers. We are alive in the mundane confusion, the ever-present, effervescent cluelessness that gurgles and fades like waves on the beach. The human experience has many parts to it, but the not knowing, the erroneous is the largest one. It is not the ability to think, but the ability to err that makes us human.

But there are a few things I do know. I know that the laughter is real no matter where it is, no matter who is there to listen to it, and all I know is that hope, care and concern are found in myriad ways, unpredictable and often surprising. I know that to sit by yourself is often a choice and rarely a necessity, and I know often it is that the absence of something is simply a distorted view of being within it, that a person among people can feel alone merely because they cannot see the picture like a cat in some old painting does not know the scene it so wonderfully adorns, and that once they leave, which they must, and once they look at it all from the outside, which is easier to do, they learn that what they sought was around them, too, and that, they can rest easy that wherever they are, it is there too. I know all this, and I also know something else, that a breath of fresh air does many things, but the most important thing it does is make you look.

Bookmark #892

When sitting and braving a blank page, there are a few tools at a writer’s disposal. Then, there are the frivolities—bells and whistles many writers put into their routine—like a favourite drink, a scented candle, and other things which have little to no impact on the work. The work only depends on three things that you can bring to the page, and you must do it honestly, and you must do it earnestly, and only then will the words ring truer than the gust of wind on a muggy day, bringing with it much-needed refreshment, only then will the words be, put colloquially, a breath of fresh air.

A writer must bring four things in total to the table on a good. Themselves, of course, and not in merely carrying their body to the desk, but they must be fully present, fully involved with the act of writing, and you can often tell the work where a writer was aloof from the work where the writer brought themselves in their entirety. It is, at times, the most apparent thing to note in a body of work. And what if you, the writer, cannot fully be present? Then, make do. What is ideal and what is possible often have a wide berth between them, like two strangers on a train who do not wish to be acquainted and, thus, let each other know this without saying a single word. Still, you must strive and greet the ideal as much as you can, and sometimes, it smiles back.

And once they have brought themselves, they must also bring the three tools with them: experience, knowledge and tenacity. On most days, for most pieces and passages, one or two will suffice. When you do not have knowledge, you will find that experience lets you fill in the gaps well, and the other way round works as well. What of the tenacity, you ask? Well, to brave through when you have neither of the other two and what is braving? It is acquiring the other two. It is going out of your way to experience things. It is reading and reading and reading for hours to gain the knowledge you lack. But most importantly, it is to sit and write without either of the two if push comes to shove, and it is seeing the words through till the end.

Bookmark #891

Motivation is a funny thing. They often ask me about it, and I do not know what to tell them. Some things come to us as naturally as breathing does to everyone. A painter sees colours in everything. No matter how you put it, to them it will be as natural as the rain. And I find in me a hunger for knowledge and understanding, and I find in me the intrinsic motivation to do things, anything, to be consistently and often perversely interested in things. I use ‘perverse’ since I know it often has detrimental effects on my well-being and often bodes poorly that I want to do everything, to be all I can be and more, and to continually get better at living. A hamster who designs his own wheel and then runs in it. It is a funny way to live, and often, it makes no sense to me either. But this hamster has a compulsion, and if it were living in some hole under a garden or if it were living in some dirty street that reeks, it would always find the compulsion to build the wheel and then to run in it, and then, to make it all better, and try it all again. And that it is as natural to it as gnawing, and there is not a thing in the world it can do about it.

Now, I believe there was a career in this for me—a guru, a speaker at a seminar preaching sugar-coated platitudes. It is the only thing that makes sense to do, and here I am, making things no one needs, writing words no one reads. It is a unique talent to not just be out of touch with reality in how you think, but even if you could somehow reach a widely accepted conclusion, you would not be able to act upon it. Some of us are ill-adjusted to the world in this way. We are this way because we are absurdly well-adjusted and entirely in tune with ourselves. Our existence is a declaration of rebellion. They can never put us into boxes, for we would fit in all of them and none of them at the same time, and to be this way and to not reject it, to not fight it, to be incongruous and to be proud of it silently, like a flower growing in a garden stands tall for no other reason but because it can. This is what I have learned about myself, and perhaps it is what motivates me. How else could you answer a question like that?

Bookmark #890

Got excited by the most mundane things today, almost thoughtless happiness as it crept over to me, caught me off guard and announced itself as if playing a game of hide and seek. The perfectly smooth, laminar flow of water as I did the dishes, the synchronised reflection of myself in the glossy refrigerator door as I exercised on a mat before it, and the kindness of a client at work of all places. Many other things, of course, followed suit, big and small, but there was nothing but joy and a sort of restfulness to the day that, while not unbeknownst to me, is always welcome.

Lately, no thought has come to my mind owing to the supremely busy, jam-packed days I have led. And since there is not much to think about, there is even less to write about. And now, I must sit and invest a piece and tell you about something incredible, something novel and, perhaps, dazzling. But there is nothing like that here, no insight. All I have are days after days, and each one better than the next, and if not better than the same, which is never a bad thing to have either, in my experience. When I wake up here, the sun is strained through the beige curtains and today, groggy as I was, I clicked a picture of it, and when I say it, I mean the nothingness of the first light of the day. I did not remember the picture because I fell asleep right after, but then, in the evening, I saw it again and recalled how it was so compelling a sight; lost in the blanket of sleep as I was, I had to take a picture. It told me a thing or two about the state of my mind and informed me of my happiness, like a friend gives you a compliment when you are beaming.

Little else to say, and the night has already gotten on, so I must stop here. Perhaps tomorrow, something will happen, and I will have a crucial thing to talk about. Until then, all I have are the mundane ramblings of a mirthful man. These words will one day be read, and, at first, they will find them overflowing with feeling, and when they are done reading them, to their dismay, they will find the sum total to be nought. All of it will add to nothing. And the words will, at that moment and no other, become an honest depiction of a life lived.

Bookmark #889

The days have been long here—in an almost magically good way—but I must rein things in and balance them a little. It has become a habit to push my writing towards the end like it were some undesired flavour of cake left over in almost its entirety at the buffet or spread at a party. While it is a vital part of me, living will always supersede writing because the latter follows the former, and since the days rarely end on time and, sometimes, rarely end at all, I have dozed off twice at this desk already. It is not looking good, I tell you, and I must change things. All this inspiration inundates my mind, yet my body betrays me every night. I must make a change to accommodate all these changes lest all I have built change for the worse.

I spent the entire evening in a bar last night solving puzzles with strangers and friends alike, and for a little bit, for the first time in a long time, I felt a belongingness I had not before. I wondered if this was how most people felt when they went about their days, and that was a puzzle, albeit the only one, I could not solve last night. When I got back home, it stuck with me, this feeling of community, of being around people who are naturally the way I am, and once again, all it did was reinforce my belief that I am in the right place now. Perhaps it may be the novelty talking, and once it wanes, I will go back to the misery of never finding those I could call my own, and if that happens, I will have no choice but to take all I saw here and pack my bags again. What of it? We can always keep trying. There is no other strategy to life, I reckon. The only sound course of action is the art of the attempt. And it is an art, mind you, for like every form of art, you have to be deliberate. You must sit or stand or what have you, and then, you must do the act. I live how I write, or I reckon I write how I live. Nothing else comes to mind. Nothing else matters on this lovely afternoon.

Bookmark #888

The stubborn artist—I am sure this is what they all thought at dinner when I declared I would rather have ten people read my work religiously than change a single word for the market. Only good artists make for the market. The great ones have other, often more important, things to do. Greatness is the fortunate situation of the market being ready to accept what you can naturally, almost instinctively put out. It is also the tenacity to stand your ground waiting for the market to come around, patiently.

But, of course, merely being out of touch, out of step with the market and the zeitgeist does not a good artist make, and to claim greatness before you are in the vicinity of such a title would be a rather stupid thing to do. But then, it bodes well for those of us who are adamant about what we want to make, and more, how we want to be consumed. That is, I reckon, a sign of what may come. But again, not all omens are worth mulling over, and so, the only course of action I have—to the dismay of people who consider these words too long, too roundabout—is to keep treading the path I am walking on. And if it leads me to some great hall, the proverbial Valhalla, I will walk through the gates and I will take my seat earnestly. And if it does not lead me anywhere, and becomes but a path I have walked like how we all walk on a path or another, my steps will have remained true to themselves, and my words will have stayed mine. I reckon it is but achievement in a different order of magnitude, but it is achievement nonetheless. And so, I sit alone in this cafe and I write another one of these endless pieces with my eyes shutting like some broken blind on an old, dilapidated window. There is little else to say or claim tonight. The day is over. I have written something. Tomorrow I will write again.