It is nice to be writing tonight; lately, I’ve been writing more out of compulsion and less out of habit, thus it’s felt more the product of requirement rather than inspirement, which to me is a constant.
I am always the writer.
This is who I am.
I am first and foremost Lawrence Black the writer – all else is a distant second: son, brother, lover, friend – everything else is secondary to the verb I enjoy most. This thing, it’s me. And I loathe myself for not making it my one love. I loathe myself for valuing love and success and accomplishment and satisfaction to the thing I was born to do.
I am the Peter Pan of the pen game, a lost boy, full of pixie dust; however, unlike Peter Pan, I do grow up – and I am.
Thirty. Fuck me. I am not looking to be that thirty five year old working on his “novel”. Fuck me.
So, this thing calls; the muse pulls and commands me to abide, which I happily do tonight. Only, this is not enough.
I remember reading Thomas Wolfe’s Of Time and The River last year, which is essentially a quasi-autobiography in which Wolfe details his – or rather Eugene Gant’s – journey from boy to writer. Something akin to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in which Joyce, as Stephen Dedalus, finally wanders off in exile, declaring: “I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”
For what is the soul but a smithy, a forge, in which I, in my twenties, founded the basis upon which I now write: loves and dreams and holding on and letting go.
For it is me: I live this life essentially alone; yes, I have Sarah – the woman whom I love and I am making this life with – but nothing is promised.
I find it simply mind blowing that humans, the singular species capable of altruism, can be so survivalist in their relationships; however, I suppose the question answers itself in my existence.
We had to get here somehow. So we broke a few hearts on the way to this omelette, just a few eggs; the strongest surely survive. I have.
I just can’t shake the weight of fate from my shoulders, the sense of who I am. My pesonal sense of destiny. The singular force stronger than my own will.
It’s the one thing that has kept me going: the idea that I, Lawrence dot Black, am a person who must become himself. In the too-apt, almost cliche, words of Abraham Maslow: “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”
So I am here, “Shakespearing” – as I like to refer to it, and as I did prior to leaving Sarah in our bed to come out on the balcony and write tonight.
It drives me fucking crazy to be thirty. I’m like an atomic bomb waiting to go off. I am nothing but unborn potential, and it’s maddening. You can’t imagine being me, knowing your ego is misunderstood and but a foreshadow of what is to come. Maddening.
But this sense of destiny calms me: the certainty that this will all make sense one day, it is a fantastic balm. But it doesn’t make it any more comfortable.
It’s no less maddening to know you will one day be great than to hope; for neither is a tangible feeling, just the lust. The lust for the life you were born for. I felt it at thirty; a fire in my belly began to smolder, burning deep and hot as hunger. Only, I knew; I learned that there was no way my life could have been any different. I wouldn’t have the depth I do, nor the curiosity “to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”
I think art – good art – is as required as good sex. At least, in the human psyche, the alternatives are absolutely damnable – causing us to focus on the things that don’t matter, rather than that which does. And I wonder about this thing, the analogousness of the two: art and sex. For both surely exist for the sake of one another, as the painter must paint, seeking the deepest artistic purpose for which he was born, so too must he find his deepest biological purpose in his art. And he finds the cause for each in each other. In art, he finds love, and in love, art.
It’s an intense thing to know yourself. But when you know what makes you tick, so too must you wind the watch and tune each gear to its proper movement.
And tonight, I feel the proper coordinates aligning within me; I feel the pulsings of my blood in my keystrokes; I can feel my feet striking their proper path in the sands of time, bearing down on a due course to oblivion, leading me toward the desire to feel more and more alive each day before I die.
Is this not what we want, to feel more alive.
There are persons and places and things to which, when I am connected most to, I feel most alive. Sex, writing, solitude – yes, the soul needs its intercourse too. And perhaps this is what writing gives me: the ability to get fucked good and hard by my passions.
I’m sure the preceding only makes sense to artists, but it is solely for myself to whom I write. This is all one giant letter to my soul, begging Peter Pan to come out and play.
If I am to be at peace with myself, I must.
But it’s not feeling less alive, that we seek in solitude and together, it is feeling less lonely, which we truly desire.
I have always connected deeply to the following words of David Wallace:
“Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties — all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion — these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.”
I relate so deeply to this.
I have always been rather lonely. These words strike my heart as a smith does a hammer to the forge. Ding, ding, ding. Hot sparks. Truth, ringing loud and clear in the soul – as it always does.
If I am ever to be known, if I am ever to be less lonely, if my lover and my family and friends are ever to know me, I must write.
Dramatics aside, this is my truth.
No one, not even my exes, will ever know me without my work.
Without my giving a body to my soul, I will forever be a lost boy.
But this is not sad. This fact is a relief. This fact is balm, for it is part of my sense of destiny.
I am Lawrence Black, the writer. But I do not write as writers do. Yes, I do have a body to my work: TBD, 12FEB, HH, ATS, all these stories have been born and live within me. But it is so lonely to alone know them. It is so lonely to alone know myself.
Thirty years old, and I and my stories so unknown; although, I know it truly, that I could not have been any quicker to bloom. As a novelist in my twenties, I would have been an arrogant, talentless snot.
Osmosis. Absorption. The reading has been, and is, as important as the writing.
I refrain from naming names, only I will: Aurelius, Hugo, Steinbeck, Emerson, Shakespeare, Dickens, these men are brothers to me. I do not care of their existence for vanities, how they looked or how great their beards or homes were, these are mere facades, which I care no more for then the bearded God of my youth. I care only for their works. All else is secondary.
But age, the time and pressure and form giving way to me, remains a weight.
Thirty. Please, please let me become.
Do not give way to vanities, to comforts. To the things that do not matter.
My stories, the shaping of unborn consciences, are of paramount importance to my own.
And it kills me not to gestate them daily; for I am fairly formed and they wait.
And I, for what?
Deadlines. Well, eventually there will be no more. But some must be set. Internally.
So, I wrote this tonight: to kindle the fire beneath my own ass. For no one else will. It is me. I must write, I must become, I must level up in this game of life, giving no weight to consciences not aligned with my own. Those who may make a stranger of me as freely as one would a friend, must be weighed duly. And I suppose it is my own conscience that I weigh tonight, for it is heavy.
Heavy with the weight of my stories, but also heavy with the weight of sapphire stone, and houses, and cars, and boats, and things for which only my ego cares. But I must have both; for I refuse to believe my path must follow another, that I am unable to have my brioche and eat it too.
So I reconcile. I write and I remind myself that I am Lawrence Black, and that in due time, all will be.
For I know. In my heart of hearts, I know. They do not, but I do.