This piece needs a suitable opening, but no introduction will do it much justice, in my view. However, I would like to make a few things clear to you before you read the rest of the essay. Firstly, I’ve never wrote a piece of this sort before, thus for many of you conversant with my other writings, this is a drastic yet crucial transformation, and one I would like you to get the utmost value from. In contrast to my other writing, this piece conveys an intimate tone and deals with various impressions and perceptions that have lingered in my head for long yet were scarcely brought to light. Secondly, I desired for this piece to lack the stiffness and structure that is conspicuous in my other essays, because I would like these epistles to be read and scrutinised like a reflective journal or diary. I have intentionally preserved the organic outline of this piece to keep it unmilled, bumpy, with a few rugged edges. The turns of phrase are still imbued with eloquence and sophistication, but the structure and order of the verses abide by their purest form; raw, unprocessed, and heartfelt. I’ve envisioned this moment for long, it was a tricky step to make, and one I was dubious about, but it was the right one in my estimation, and I don’t regret it in the slightest. This is where the crux of my prowess lays, and I must do what is dutiful and right to entrust it in the hands of those who need it.
1.1 Once again, the vengeance following a short intermission. It is rather astounding to look back at my earliest essays. There have been so many crests and troughs along the way, but it’s been a revealing journey – still is. Many aspects in my life have took on a different form, and it is at once strange, joyous and bizarre. However, it is not the first time I was overcome by the eccentricity of it all – existence itself seems to me to be unbelievably outlandish, incoherent, empty, yet filled with the utmost harmony, significance and profundity. Needless to say, though, I was always beset by a pale sense of culpability, because I was – through the midst of it all – subjugating my expressive and reflective elements more than I would have liked to.
At a swift glance, I could tell my earliest of essays were stiff and unbending. They weren’t really bent to my will, they lacked the turn of mind and integrity that were prominent in my diaries, or the haphazard, unmethodical thoughts I noted down on severed papers throughout the day. There was a kind of self-abandonment embroiled in the mix, and I was very much conscious of it, but not conscious enough to turn inside out. It kept lingering behind the scenes, but I simply refused to give it the attention it yearned for. Regardless, I don’t think it was wholly destructive, as substantial good came out of it, to my own surprise. Notwithstanding, I am also conscious of the fact that I am presently past that junction and I find myself brawling with an altogether different dragon. I am being called forth, at least that’s how it seems to me, to shed light on that other hemisphere within myself – the same one that was previously subjugated, neglected.
1.2 Come to think about it, I was enticed by the idea of anonymity since the birth of this blog, as it furnished me with the liberty to be vulnerable and truthful at no expense. And have my writing appraised for what it is, rather than for what it isn’t – people have a tendency to misjudge a writer’s thoughts when they think they’ve figured him out solely on his social status or apparent merit. I didn’t want to go down that road, as I know what the corollary would be. My current approach to writing is unlike what is was a year ago. Before, it felt like a game I’m always going to secure, now it feels like a gamble I am willing to lose. But perhaps, if I were to disclose my identity – and the mystery is at once concluded – such a gamble would not be played at this magnitude. Ultimately, both pathways will thrust me in the same course, the difference lying in the interlude between dawn and dusk. I must, both for the betterment of myself and others, endanger myself to the lunacy that lingers so desperately in my head and turn it into something fruitful, justifiable, important. Though not always conceivable, any madman should make it his aim to turn his uncontrollable lunacy into controlled excellence – if not in whole, then even partially could be generative.
1.3 Ever since I was a boy, I can recall my obsession with words, be it through reading or handwriting, I had – as it appears to me – an unquenchable longing to draw off my words. The substitute seemed far worse; keeping stubborn, persistent words to myself often spelled doom, destruction, and madness, and not in some shallow light-hearted fashion, but in the most earnest, miserable and vicious a fashion. If I don’t set them free, they’ll devour me, or even worse, disperse slowly in my head while fortifying their authority. For the longest time, it seemed rather evident to me that wielding words to give expression to my thoughts and sentiments was the most sensible and liberating course of action I could take to preserve my solidity and sanity. I know this through and through, as I have already gone down the other side of the road, and I happen to know where it leads because I patiently suffered its consequences. Kafka was more than right when he said that a non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity – I get very much the same impression when I withdraw from the pen for too long; my head becomes tangled with thoughts. Writing is the medium through which I organise my brain and discard the useless junk that contaminates my balance. For that reason, if I deprive myself of that practice, not only do I suffer because I starve myself of art, but I also suffer because I deprive myself of strength and beauty; if these are wholly absent in my everyday life, my sense of purpose is going to fall out of line with the higher trajectory and the terrain I aim to traverse.
The extent to which I pivot on the pen for soundness of mind and stability is not immediately perceptible, but I don’t think I could possibly penetrate the depth of my reliance on it. It is when I withdraw from the practice that I can quickly perceive how my insanity is not being brandished to create something beautifully meaningful, or meaningfully beautiful. I have been, along this expedition, led to the conviction that I was meant to commit to paper and put a word out there. Though the message may assume different forms according to time and circumstance, the point remains: the chief transmission of that message will always be the pen – there is no superior medium that echoes my soul as clearly and eloquently as the written word. And by eloquent, I do not mean it in the sense of persuasion, but in the sense of sensitivity, revelation, expression. These are the fundamental cornerstones of beautiful writing. In their absence, words lack the gravity and weight to tug, enchant, and enrich the reader. I write to set my soul at peace, first and foremost, and do with utmost sincerity what the gods are summoning me to fulfil.
Some of you will read this and relate in anticipation, but I must be totally honest, both with myself and you, the reader. I don’t write with the fervent hope that other people will sympathise with my message, far from it. If I pursued such a path, my writing would be devoid of creative power and channel a corrupted tone – such words would need to be contrived and fabricated. If I am striving to neighbour on the summits of beauty, such a course seems more than obstructive and preposterous, and may very well rob me of the prospect of being a light-bearer to the reader who sought my work for its bountiful substance, integrity and truthfulness.
If I refrain from accustoming myself to this needed course of action, I am by all means falling short of expectation and betraying what I’ve been endowed to carry out. One’s fate is a sticky and complicated matter, but I have – ever since undertaking this pursuit – encountered innumerable synchronicities and evident symptoms that suggest my speculations are not mere hallucinations, but concrete manifestations of higher power. Life is filled to the brim with happy accidents, but some serendipities are too ‘unaccidental’, often even predictable, to be considered accidents. In my experience, life could be likened to one greatly planned twist of fate, as we all in some way or other defy the boundaries of our own unique existence and then marvel in disbelief.
1.4 Hear me out, if you are being called forth, if you are being solicited to write, and you subsequently fail to follow through, whether by idleness or lack of determination, you can be damn certain you will in due course reproach yourself for it. Though the artist within ought to be cultivated and nourished by diligence, he is summoned by divinity to write. If he happens to pay no heed to his task, he will feel divorced, he will sense a disunion between himself and the world outside him. Each thought that moves near, each sensation that extorts, each experience that endures in your memory; each time you hang up the phone, you are oppressed by guilt, by repentance, by self-loathing. Because you intrinsically know, you know what you should be doing, but you can’t summon the courage to ruthlessly hunt it down, and possibly kill you. The artist within you is a monster, and if you deny his requests, you will still have to surrender your will to his, because he will weigh you down with regret and culpability. He’s trying to get you to listen, but you choose the inferior alternative. That’s what it’s like to be an idle artist – you are pressed on, interminably, desperately, to create.
Be it when I’m having a coffee, taking a walk, or lavishing myself in the mighty mediterranean seas, I am always exposed to the possibility of disillusionment if an idea or opinion befalls me. I used to think that all great thoughts tend to boomerang back at some other favourable point in time, but this is not always the case. We will never know the weight of our strayed thoughts, since we never gave them the attention they deserved. Often, we inherently recognise the compelling nature of an impression, but still decide to let it pass as an ordinary thought. This is squandering opportunity for heedlessness. It leaves you in the dark alleys of misgiving and frustration, as you keep asking yourself what could have come of it. But, I understand, I understand that it’s a difficult task to meticulously and diligently write everything down, carrying a journal with you everywhere you go turns into a uniform duty, and it’s certainly demanding after a certain point.
1.5 You were brought forth to write, you are prompted to write, but you refuse. That’s a misfortune if you ask me. I wish I could extend my hand and grant you a voice, but it’s not my duty to coerce you into such pursuits. However, I will say this. There are countless souls, tormented without much hope, that would be served by your bent and brilliance, but they’ll never stumble across it unless you transcend your own weakness and give your words clarity. It is not wise to act against your heart, but often it is more a matter of getting down to it; only then can you pour your soul and heart into it with utmost intensity and discover your finer inclinations. For an artist to mature and burst forth, he must commit to his art in a profound manner; earnestly, wholeheartedly and passionately, invigorating his art with the beauty he conceives most highly, transforming each turn of phrase into a poetic, symbolic, and moving verse – that’s how the artist elevates and inspires, how he fires one’s imagination and awakens the prolific and high-yielding monster in the aspired readers. Ultimately, realising such a vision requires that the writer accustoms his will to writing for himself, for that is the only process which enables the reader to relish what was written, acknowledging the utility of his self-serving-ness.
The artist can’t starve himself of art, can’t starve his imagination, leaving no room for it to wander. It must be given the space to cultivate itself. If the artist doesn’t capitalise on his aptitudes – which happen to be crucial and of utmost significance – he deteriorates from within and subsequently suffers dearly. When I ponder it, though, I can offer my condolences to the lost artist. I was never told why I should write anything, or that I even should, to begin with, and it always left me burning with curiosity why the simplest of instruction seems so shrouded by inadequate and feeble knowledge. We have a liking for complicating things, as it turns out, and in the process fail to determine and define the simplest, most crucial of instructions. The importance of being articulate, eloquent with one’s words, couldn’t hardly be more requisite in this climate, an age of plentiful information – a great deal of which tends to be incomplete. The nuisance is not that we have too little information, far from it, it is simply that we have it in excess, and the greater majority of people are incapable of sieving the jewels from the canister of litter that occupies the media, for instance. People are inept, clumsy and naive, they can’t strain true knowledge because they don’t know where to find it or what it looks like, but they do believe they possess rightful knowledge through impoverished sources; that’s all they know, they soundly believe it sufficiently optimal.
1.6 It’s a great tragedy, then, when the artist loses himself in the murkiness of modernity, as he not only lacks the direction and determination, but he’s incessantly misled by the corrupted sources that influence his inferiors. It wouldn’t be too long until he becomes one of them himself. The herd morality is more real than you would like to think, and so is the crab-bucket that is so prevalent among the lowliest, most degenerate of crowds.
Learning to write seems like an easy proposal, but how many of us can actually write and have been instructed on the art? Most people think they can write, but do so very ineptly and with cowardly finesse, because they confuse ordinary, mundane writing with the kind of writing that beautifies one’s soul, elevates one’s spirit, deepens one’s heart. To conflate the two is, in my estimation, a mark of ignorance, and to think yourself capable of such mastery without earnest effort and care is at the height of arrogance.
1.7 If we are to discern writing as an art, as a pure, costly and invaluable virtue, we ought to require in ourselves something more than mere attention, in fact we necessitate a fecund judgement, and the kind of sophistication that can’t be instructed in contemporary schools of education. The corollary to this is the willingness and resolution to undertake the adventure single-handedly, priming yourself to the art. If you diligently follow the road, you will find that the lonely road is the pathway each man must take on himself, experience, live through, and endure. Then his existence becomes a form of rebellion, not a drudge to passableness and conformity, but an overman, a titan who stands above and beyond the incapacities and weaknesses of the crowd. I can assure you; there is no possible means to rise above the fray unless you turn your existence on its head in a spirit of intense defiance. All great men, the loftiest of them all, have transcended the bounds of downcast living because firstly they despise what they see, and secondly because they don’t want to be despicable people. The difficulty, often, lies in one’s incapacity to recognise how despicable a person he is, and thus never takes up arms against his own insufficiency.
As Miller used to say, to make living itself an art; that has always been my chief aim, because it is through that striving I feel most animated, lively, full of life. To live well is not sufficient, the good life must embody the aesthetic sensibility of divinity, the moving, tasteful, subtle details of eternity. And the only way to personify that way of life is by tending to honesty, truth, integrity and nobility of soul. These are obviously vague terms among the passable, but they carry immense weight among the weighty. When I say integrity or truth, I mean the complete embodiment and acceptance of hardship and evil – it is not only the fine qualities of goodness that we must admit, but also the deeper, darker qualities of the savage. Life is then far more sincere, complete, and deep-seated – you are not merely carried away by the shallowness of dissolution, you are grounded and firmly rooted to the earth, your roots reaching down the abyss. [That’s almost a Jungian recital]