Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Shutting Down

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” 
--Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

If you go back to my very first Breadbin post in May, 2004, you'll see one of my motivations for this space laid bare and another heavily implied. Initially, this blog was going to concentrate on parenting, while serving as an occasional escape from it. That was before it was decided that "our house didn't feel like a house with kids in it". (If you're getting sick of hearing that, imagine how I must feel, hearing it in my head every day.)

The Breadbin was also supposed to hone my writing for bigger and better things. That hasn't happened. THIS became my bigger and better thing. Almost everything I've written in the past fourteen years has been published here; the few things that weren't were simply too personal for others to see. I've come to terms with the fact that almost nothing of my output has any tangible worth; and as King notes, that isn't what writing's supposed to be about anyway. (He has the freedom to note things like that. The man's worth about $400 million, after all.)

"So here comes the seventh iteration of my written security blanket", I wrote in 2004, and that proved to be more fitting.  I blogged to come to terms with myself and the world. I blogged to explain who I am, who I wanted to be, and to try to bridge the huge gap between the two. All these years later, I'm not sure how successful I've been there, either. I think I'm a better person now than I was then, but has that been thanks to my writing, or the people in my life? I tend to lean towards the people.

There are examples of me writing to "get up, get well, get over, and get happy". The one that comes immediately to mind is The Suicide Shop. But if I'm being honest with myself, much more often I would write and brood over what I'd written, whether the topic was personal or political.

And right now, please forgive me, words are completely failing me. On multiple levels, for multiple reasons.

There have been a number of tipping points. One I can mention is the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. A friend of mine was bar  mitzvahed there, and now eleven people were murdered in cold blood there and the thing that calls himself President of the United States held a rally that very evening and played Pharrell Williams' song "Happy" and there are simply no words.

The other one has also to do with Donald Trump: it's the dispatching of 5200 troops to the U.S./Mexico border so that the migrant caravan that's still over a month away can be murdered too. (Surely you're not naive enough to think there's some beneficent purpose for these armed soldiers?)

You can't write this stuff out. Or you can, but it doesn't help. It doesn't stop anything. It doesn't even blunt the pain. It may make it worse. Some "security blanket". I wonder how many writers in the  1930s took a good hard look around them and said fuck this?

I'm fresh out of shit to write about my own life. I have been writing the same shit over and over and who really cares, anyway? Life is supposed to be for living, not vivisecting. Right? Besides, it's not as if my life is important. Writing about my own day-to-day happenings, be they good, bad or ugly, seems like an act of narcissism given what's going on in the wider world around us.

I've threatened to break before. It's no threat this time, because...I'm breaking.

Thank you, everyone, for your presence. I hope to be back, eventually, with new things to write, hopefully a lot more positive.

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