Monday, 7 November 2016

"Where my Muse at?"

Hello out there. It has been 7 months. Yes. Sorry, not sorry.

Honestly guys, this hiatus thing, it started out as some kind of attempt at an "Internet Purge" over the summer. I wanted to do things and spend time with people and be outside. I ended up doing exactly that and it was great! It was hard in the beginning because I was so used to being inside... all the time... but eventually I got out and pretty much took care of the bare necessities AKA get outside at least once a week.

The summer was great for feeling things and physically doing things. The summer was not great however for mentally doing things. I mean I get it, I think a lot... all the time. But over the summer I guess I tried to take a break from overthinking and over-planning and now all of a sudden I feel very... empty. I wrote a few songs over the summer but in terms of writing stuff, like not song stuff, that didn't happen. It sucks.

Please watch Barton Fink if you haven't yet, super sensitive John Turturro is a babe.
Last year I had a bit of an existential crisis. This year it is much worse.

I feel like, in terms of WHAT I AM I'm satisfied. I know everything and feel comfortable with everything. But it's this whole WHO I AM STUFF that's bugging me. Now, this may not be the right time and place to be spilling the tea, but it could also be the right time and place because this is my blog, like duh, but I guess the meaning of existential crisis for me has been the only thing that has changed.

I've been in a perpetually existential state now that I think about it, and maybe it's simply the meaning of the term "existential crisis" that has evolved for me. Whether or not that includes or is mutually exclusive from the evolution of my identity, I'm not sure.

Last year, I had an existential crisis because I didn't know if I was sure about what I wanted to do after undergrad. Over the summer I sorted it out and now I am back to being super optimistic. So I guess that kind of existential crisis is what one would call "generic" or "common" or more appropriately, "First World."

This year, it's more: "Why am I here? Why am I doing this? What does this mean? Does this even matter?", which I think is definitely still common and generic and First World, but more personal, more introspective. Oh and trust me, if I've been a brain in a vat this entire time, I bet you my brain/me/I would be in the "SUPER INTROSPECTIVE!!! DON'T EVEN ASK!!! SHE LOVES HERSELF SO MUCH!!! AND QUESTIONS EVERYTHING THAT SHE DOES!!! UNNECESSARILY!!! LIKE ALL THE TIME OH EM GEE!!!" section.

I reflect on all of this now because I've started to realize that I'm becoming more and more frustrated with how my person comes across in the world. I've become more and more concerned with my place in the universe and in "capital S" Society (because nowadays the universe and society are apparently equal). And, maybe it is one of those "Oh my gosh everyone goes through it Nicole, it's called life, life isn't supposed to be easy oh my gosh but it's gonna be worth it oh my gosh" moments, but I just don't understand why these questions come up in the first place. I don't get why these questions keep me up at night or keep me from wanting to do things. This monster called Doubt takes over and everything falls apart.

One of the reasons why we doubt could be because we don't know what life means, and yes of course we could go down the existentialist route and say that we create meaning like what Zadie Smith writes in On Beauty:

“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful...and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clich├ęs, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.”

*** PSSSTTT, side note: if you fangirl about Zadie Smith and everything she has ever done ever, just like me, then you'll love this article from Elle Magazine, it has footage of her singing Billie Holiday's version of Easy Living -HEART EYES EMOJI- check it out here. ***

But here's the thing, interest in meaning/finding meaning/believing in a certain kind of meaning only ever lasts for a little while if we don't fight to keep it around. I could think that I'm here for a certain kind of purpose or create purpose for myself one day and then feel completely ambivalent or want to absolutely abandon everything associated with that purpose, the next.

It's kind of like passion, if you don't prompt it, it won't come. Sure, you could feel passionate about someone you love or a career you worked hard for, and sure you could even say that some kinds of passion can come out of nowhere and hit you like a truck, but if you think about it, passion is not a consistent feeling or an ever present feeling.

If you feel that your passion for something starts to slip away, and you don't try to save it by grasping onto the reason why you felt so passionate about that thing in the first place, it becomes really difficult to keep the passion alive. If you don't reach for the thoughts you once had when you couldn't sleep just thinking about someone, or don't attempt to reel back the chills you once felt moments before the most important interview of your life, you won't feel the passion anymore.

Passion fades. Perception is unstable. People change. But objective truth? That's something that will never evolve, it can only be mistaken when it is misunderstood. Can we know the objective truth? Sure. But we have to be able to understand the difference between deception and truthfulness first, and that is nearly impossible, we're always deceived.

So what is the solution, you ask? Where am I taking you? How do we solve the problem of purpose? How do we not doubt? Well, I don't have a solution actually, but what I do know is that passion and inspiration are essential to motivation and purpose. I also know that I can't wait around to be inspired, I have to inspire myself, and in doing so I'm pretty sure I'll start feeling like I do have a purpose, you know, once I start doing things and inspiring myself to do things. Maybe not for an external purpose or a purpose I have for myself because that can slip away, but merely for the thing itself?

Also, so this virtue/saying about inspiring yourself is something I ripped off of multiple artists and writers, but if you want a name, Chuck Close said this:

"The advice I like to give young artists or really anybody who'll listen to me is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”

Here's some detail from one of Chuck Close's self-portraits. His art focuses heavily on photorealism.
So there you go. I may not agree with everything Close says because I do believe you need inspiration but I think inspiration can be prompted by the poet and not just by the muse. I mean, if the muse is out to lunch the poet can't just say "I'm not a poet today," right? Also, you might be asking the question, "Well, what's the purpose of the poem?", my answer to that is "Stop." Just kidding, but also not kidding, don't be a jerk.

My real response is, the poem is the purpose of the poem. Yes, there are also other external purposes, but the main purpose of the poem is the poem, the poem must be written, there's no other way.

My response relates to our discussion here because listing things off: we may not know objective truth, or life's purpose, or our purpose, but while we're alive and we're here and not anywhere else, we wake and do not die in our sleep. So if that is the case, namely, we're here living this life then we just have to live it and make do with what we want to do while we're here.

Here's a really horrible really cringy "young person student thing trying to not be a young person student thing" example to end this off: If the muse is out to lunch, and I'm Homer, I can't just not write because the muse isn't here. I mean, am I suddenly gonna throw away the pen, shave my probably really long beard with some sharp rock, and pick up a rake made of wood and also rocks and rake leaves? No way.

I'm Hypothetical Homer for goodness' sake, I can take a break but I can't suddenly say "I'm not Homer the Great out to change your lives with this majestic epic" I'm still Homer the Great out to change your lives with this majestic epic, I still gotta write The Odyssey man, people gotta have standards. I just need to get the creative juices flowing or you know, call the muse across the street.