Random Thoughts, Vol. I

1. I’m writing this because writing was, for a time, a psychological healing salve. It was a way for me to drain malaise, angst, and other unpleasant things from my mind – sometimes for days, sometimes just for hours. I know personal blogging (whether on Medium or god forbid on a personal site like this) is considered disgustingly declassé now but it’s gotten to the point where I miss it.

2. I don’t create enough to have ‘weekly recaps’ of my work. So instead I am just writing my random thoughts. I will beat you to the punch: I know what I think/believe/say on what amounts to a ‘live journal 2.0’ is worth nothing and I don’t expect anyone to think otherwise.

3. This whole thing is stream of consciousness and posted in no particular order. I just need to organize my head. Therapy helps me with that but I only get to do it once a week for 45 minutes. I honestly need to do it every other day because I’m subject to the horrifying vagaries of American capitalism.

4. I’ve been thinking about value a lot and how I don’t create any in an artistic or journalistic or literary sense. I don’t write anything, but even when I did all of the articles were #content – ephemeral fluff about a trending topic published on the chance that it’d beat out the other three-dozen articles about the same thing in the Facebook algorithm lottery.

I’ve never created anything of value on the internet (a popular podcast, a burgeoning website, or what have you) and I doubt I ever will. This is a source of moderate (and at times severe) frustration to me. In my defense I’ve been working on a much longer project over the last two years (manuscript of a novel) that has kept me away from internet writing and other forms of ambition (becoming a part-time Twitch streamer or god knows what other terrible ideas).

5. I’ve been thinking about my own personal value a lot lately. This is something I’ve thought about for years and years now (probably since I started working in media). I don’t have any particularly strong or interesting conclusions. I’ve never made my issues with inferiority and imposter syndrome a secret on Twitter so there’s really nothing new here. I get upset that I can’t do all things at all times. There are 24 hours in a day. I’ll spend most of those working. With the spare time I’ve had over the last few years I wrote three drafts of a manuscript. But I didn’t learn languages, I didn’t learn to code, I didn’t learn ballroom dancing, or fencing, or axe-throwing, or whatever the fuck. Nothing I can do will result in feeling less inferior. Nothing. This is an unbelievably crushing feeling.

6. I’ve met two people who, when I saw them, I couldn’t believe they were even real. When I shook each person’s hand it had an almost cosmic impact. It was such a strange feeling but it was instantaneous. I didn’t even deserve to look at them, to breathe the same air, to touch them. Me shaking their hand was an insult. How could I ever live with myself again knowing people like this existed? I’ve felt inferior many times in my life, but few times in my adult life have I felt worse than these moments.

My therapist’s theory is that my meetings with these people occurred very close to some of the lowest moments of my life and that if I met them now I wouldn’t feel the same way. I disagree.

7. I’m reading ‘The Magicians’ trilogy and Julia’s story arc (I’m only 1/2 way through The Magician King so no spoilers, please) resonates with me too much. SPOILERS for the first book: In ‘The Magicians,’ seeing ‘the world behind the world’ (that magic is real and there’s this whole world of magicians) shatters her mind and causes her irreparable psychological harm. Even when she manages to learn magic, she’s still utterly broken (and apparently has learned magic at a grave cost).

Many times I thought I glimpsed ‘the world behind the world’ and nearly every time it escaped me, leaving me in the dark – morose and utterly without hope. After a very long time though I got almost exactly what I wanted. But, of course, the natural thing is to want more. I’ll paraphrase a line from a book I read a while ago called ‘The Summer Prince’: How much of yourself do you want to give up in return for what you want?

8. I am very grateful for everything that I have, and would not be alive without all these things.

9. I think I really need to get back to fiction writing. I’ve been away from my manuscript for about a month now (I’m waiting for beta readers to finish). Once I start the fourth draft I can focus all my energy on that.

10. I know for certain I need to stay away from Twitter but when your job is in social media that’s impossible.

11. I can’t stop thinking about other fiction I’d love to write one day. I will likely not have time to do all of it before I die (likely due to a climate change-induced natural disaster of some kind).

12. I am upset with myself over reading genre fiction (which is generally deemed inferior unless it’s fucking Harry Potter) as opposed to literary fiction or, better yet, nonfiction about the history of the labor movement or some such posh (and very important) topic. But I want to write fiction so I need to read and analyze fiction to get better at it. Oh well.