Thursday, June 9, 2011

On writing, or on life; I don't know which.

Walking home from work this morning, I was framing each step like a good photographer: The way the waxing light hit the bricks of the building, the remarkable fusion of ancient bits of glass with the cracks in the sidewalk; the scanning the sky for promised thunderstorms. However, it wasn't simply limited to the visual. The visual is just something I have trained myself to do (and, regrettably, don't do very much of anymore, though I hope to reverse that soon); the act of framing scenes in my is what I've always done, unconscious and unprompted.

And so the words shot through my head like meteors, describing my lungs as the struggled for air against the oppressive heat; the scrape of the sidewalk against my shoes; the bed waiting for me in the apartment perched high above the street. I had the sense that time wasn't acting correctly. Suddenly, there was a hand on my arm. I turned; it was a crossing guard, and I was prepared to tell her that I was an adult and I didn't require her assistance. Instead, a jolt of electricity ran through me, and my response was to fall to the ground. I could see her look of shock, but I couldn't hear her through my headphones. Believe me, I was fine with that. I'm sure she said something. Her mouth was moving.

Last week, when I was walking home from work, I'm not completely sure what happened, but I regained consciousness on the sidewalk, scraped up, bewildered, and steps from my apartment. The last thing I remember is crossing the street and having the sense that it was something I had done ten years prior. Nobody was around. Maybe the world had ended.

Remembering this and half out of consciousness, I somehow pulled myself up off the street, darted into traffic, and ran the whole way home, shaking wildly and wondering why time was acting so erratically and where that buzzing was coming from. It wasn't far. But I'll be damned if I was going to have a seizure in front of a crossing guard and half of goddamn Pittsburgh traffic.

A sense of horror, playing out day by day. I've taught myself to not think about it anymore and instead turn it into a series of jokes at my own expense. There's no escape from epilepsy. It's less like a Lovecraftian monster that can immobilize you at any time when it's hilarious.

When I had the idea for this website, it was with the intent to give my writing a home -- to get myself writing again. The silly stuff I post was just going to be there. I've been slowly realizing that I haven't been writing because I've gotten myself into a place where I don't want to write because it's painful to think. Not that I ever stop thinking, but I've been in a painful place for a while. That's probably not the best way to be going about things, considering. It's time that I start tearing myself apart again. In the past, that's where my best work always came from, and I want to start producing more of my best work again. I know I'm good, I know I can, and I'm not afraid of the hard work involved.

There's some Henry Rollins quote that's something along the lines of "It's sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew." Sometimes, I feel like epilepsy is doing that to me. Or my job, in some capacity -- that it's making me lose my focus on what's really important. That's what's happening, and I don't want it to happen anymore. My goal is to be a published science fiction writer. I don't have any crazy aspirations to win a Nebula Award, or anything -- but that's all I've ever wanted. I don't want to get married or have children. I don't want a big house. I just don't care about anything else, really. All I want is to tell stories, and in turn have enough to survive on. That's it. (And maybe next week, I can save the universe.)

So, if seizing on the sidewalk makes for a great story, fine. I guess I can deal with that. But only if I can turn the crossing guard into an unholy creature that devours time. Because that would be awesome.


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