Blah blah, once again can’t much be arsed. Hoping by writing this the delayed reaction in my lazy brain chemistry – being forced to form coherent sentences – it’s a form of prefrontal cortex meditation maybe – that enough moments of attention build a connection that beats out the sluggish apathy. Sometimes if I lie in bed all day, it gets hard to shake off the natural rude health energy that makes the legs restless and feet itchy. I still stay in bed because what is there not in bed that won’t be there later, and it’ll all be a chore, distracting me from riffing off in imaginationland. Because it’s not easy to stay in bed, though it’s the height of physical indolence, it’s hardly going to leave me out of breath. And yet it needs enough mental focus I often start sweating. In bed. Doing nothing. It’s as if my body wants to force me to my feet, to get me moving. Fucking body.
What I’ve observed in the past is when my brain is depleted of certain resources, it gets tetchy at things sensory, scatty at things psychological. At best it’s malaise. Not anxious or black depressive. Just nothing. Stasis.
Oh but there are things that enliven my mind. Sometimes external world things like something unexpectedly beautiful excite feelings that match the moment though they quickly recede. This was less the case when I was young but it’s like my brain is a depleted ecosystem, low level reservoir, not drought but less and less water to go around with every passing year. I can wring some energy or dynamism or stamina from the reduced reservoir, if I hammer in music or work out (though that’s contrast, relief, etc). Or I can talk or think a little more flow but that takes time and leaves a weariness in memory.
It was easier to write when I was younger and the world was more simple. Knowing more about the workings of the brain, shared and personal psychology and tells and meta-analysis far more effective, in any moment, makes writing authentic content harder. One wants to express a stream of consciousness sincerely, realistically. But description needs to be brisk. If it’s so long it may be accurate, as a crystallised moment of thought, but it’s unpalatable, impossible to make glorious contact with your imagination, dear reader. You know, like Japanese haiku?
See, the haiku is a word picture – visual, phenomenological, limbic, whatever can make a moment of experience. Just one moment, one thought, one instance. To make perfect the writer-reader communication the yardstick is simpler here. The moment in the mind of the haiku creator. The haiku words. A moment imagined in the mind of the haiku reader. Are the two the same? Never exactly but how close it gets is how good is the haiku. If the haiku was longer, it’d take more time to read, the moment it tries to evoke loses fidelity. Haiku too short, the moment loses resolution.
Golly, I wish someone had explained poetry when I was a child. It doesn’t at all make the lyric less evocative if you know, in abstract terms, what a poem aspires to create; or why poetry is different to prose. Why the fuck am I writing about this, now? Oh I remember: being older there’s more meta in the moment laid bare to the mind and thus authentic description is harder, the need to distill without losing detail grows. I wonder if that’s why impressionism is the natural successor to realism, then expressionism (and others) to follow as the artist tries to render the subject not simply as would a photo but also including its meta: mood, emotion, whatever. Realism is prose. Impressionism is poetry. Kandinsky, for one, is haiku on canvas. Well maybe tanka but it’s the same fucking theory.
This is a lot of bullshit to avoid trying to put into words the older versus younger mind’s experience of the world (and itself). How pervasive is the depletion though it may go unnoticed. All that happens – or that isn’t happening – goes on behind the eyes. We’re all good performers honing skills over the years so our capacity to not let the deadness within manifest in expression, conversation, reaction to others, it grows just as the vitality shrinks. Great.
Fuck it. Another day. Or next week as I’m going to have to venture out into the big bad world a few times from tomorrow.
[There was another journal entry later that same day, some hours after the sun went down and the neighbours had gone to sleep…]
THE TYGER WHO CAME TO TEA?
My phone just pinged to tell me the International Space Station is passing overheard so I hauled myself out of bed onto the terrace. It’s warm out, still in the middle of a heatwave, but night and gently breezy. It’s actually really quite nice. There’s not a cloud in the sky and the twenty or so stars and planets are on point, sharp. Jupiter is twinkling! There’s a few planes winking red white, high, skating the top of the troposphere. Oh and there it is! The ISS. Golly that’s going faster than the planes. It’s just a node of white following the arc of the upper atmosphere as I’m looking at it. Up. Outward. At the galaxy.
I guess it’s a strange thought: we unlikely beings of supernova stardust, creations of the universe, built by carbon chemistry and time, nonetheless of the universe yet looking back at it. That’s egoic I know but also a bit beautiful. You know, that here I am and there you are, and when we look up at the night sky, we are the universe looking back at itself. We might be the only eyes staring at creation and wondering.
Don’t feel like writing any more tonight. Can’t see anyone else in the square watching. I’m not sure I’d like it more if I had company. People are so loud and busy. The space station has crossed the sky already. I’ve picked out Jupiter and Mars and I think Procyon.
Ah and there’s the moon, bright and waxy, serene, no, not that: lambent… Good word, somehow enriched in my head by the lamb, which evokes William Blake and his beautiful illustrations. The Tyger. Who came to tea. Night night.