Like all writers, I'm an expert procrastinator. We employ tricks and self-imposed psychological blackmail to force ourselves into compliance with our better natures. Thus, one of the many reasons I began this virtual exhibit of wayward communiqués (err, blog) was to commit myself to writing at least one entry per day. Yesterday was day three, and yesterday I wrote nothing. Yesterday, I failed.
Well, that's not entirely true. I did write yesterday—the results simply did not have enough polished form to make their way to the digisphere. I spent quite a while, actually, constructing notes for an idea that I knew was overly ambitious for a single day's work, but it was interesting to me so I pursued it anyway. Still, I could have stepped aside to concoct something else, something smaller, less complex, in order to meet my benchmark. I didn't. Even as the night stretched out before me and I became aware that I'd soon be slumbering, I regarded the "New Post" button with disdain and resolved to spend the morning—the next morning, right now—writing about not writing. About failing to meet my own expectations. About failure in general.
I was considering what I posted last night in regards to the implications toward one of my own projects, presently named Rhapsodia. To explain, I'm afraid I must indulge in the history of its wayward birth and evolution. I hope my two readers will forgive me.
On a flight from Chicago to Zurich, I discovered the fascinating depth of newspaper obituaries. They include such seemingly random details pertaining to the intricacies of lives recently past, as a writer I knew that this was valuable source material—you just don't make those things up. To combat the boredom of the nine-hour flight, I began converting the entries into haikus and other forms of metered verse. For instance:
Some time ago, I read Jack Ketchum's "classic" of psychological horror, The Girl Next Door. I tried to read it as just a novel, but since it is based on real-life circumstances—and horrific ones, at that—I could not help but superimpose knowing that this "fiction" took place, that this "character" was a once-breathing, living girl, an actual human being who endured suffering which even surpasses what Ketchum wrote, I could not "simply" read this novel. I could not break my awareness, like a phantom hovering above every page, every deed, that this had truly occurred.
Someone once told me that, since I had a place to live and a good education, I had no right to be upset about anything, ever. Clearly this individual felt that any kind of access to financial means completely quashed the capacity for suffering, and clearly this individual was full of shit.
But what strikes me the most is how frequent and pervasive this illusory societal construction is—that money incrementally equates to happiness, satisfaction, and, thus, the elimination of suffering. From my observation, it is just the opposite. The more money we have—or rather, the more money we think others have that we do not—the more unhappy we are by virtue of this culture of lack, which has been thriving for generations.