Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Everyone’s perpetually searching for meaning in this indecipherable world. Some choose science, some love, others religion. I’ve chosen words.” D

Being a writer isn’t easy. You can read many of the extensive biographies compiled on the lives of those whose art affected people in certain ways, other than superficially. Kafka died overworked and penniless. Keats coughed himself to death. Virginia Woolf drowned herself. Shelley probably did too. Hunter S. Thompson blew his brains out. So did Hemingway, so did… You get the point. Many don’t see writing as a serious vocation, some to such an extent that at times I question whether I am in fact a writer or a drifter (a euphemism for ‘fuck-up’ used by the rest of society). It was funny listening to my parents give me a lecture the other day, telling me that they were proud of my achievements, and would be of my future, “which is questionable in any event”. I love that. My own parents having enough surety to tell me that their son’s future was “questionable”. It must be this writer thing.

I think about it often… it’s probably led to this uncertainty of the future and indifferent swagger in the path of the present. I’ve been a writer (or at least understood the world in a writerly way) for as long as I can remember.

Scribbling sonnets in sunlight outside my grandparents’ house, penning poetry in primary school, writing raps on the bus, painting pieces on city walls.

But writing can do only so much, the rest is up to you.

Sometimes I don’t feel like myself as others, most of the time I don’t feel like myself as myself. Maybe it’s this interminable quest to understand a world where words fail its majesty, maybe it’s all just bullshit and I’m thinking too hard. Either way, one thing’s for sure…

This world is too fucked-up to understand, too amazing to appreciate.

And yet within this boundless expanse where hopes and dreams, heartache and destiny, halos and devils, hedonism and decrepitude, hunger and drunkenness all recklessly intersect, meaning alludes us. We could go on searching, the haunting search for why we stand, not how or where, and we’d hardly make any progress, lying to ourselves that we’re almost there.

Existentialism aside, writing, in its endless uncertainty, presents us with the pieces of the puzzle. It’s just our job to put them together. I’m halfway there. Save a seat for me next to Tolkien.