Fear + Loathing
I find it difficult to concentrate these days. My mind is wandering back to days gone and forgotten now. The bad old days. When life was more interesting. Seat of the pants.
The first writing professional writing assignment I ever had took me to Louisville for a poetry and writing festival put on by Ron Whitehead.
I went to see Jim Carroll reading from The Basketball Diaries. At the reading: Hunter S. Thompson. In the back. Smoking that long, thin cigarette and drinking out of a martini glass.
But I’ve written this story before and the further I get away from it the less the story entertains me. The years have passed. I’ve put together some good stories. I had a good run through.
But I never stopped to ask myself where I was running.
Until now: when I look around at what I’ve put together. And I feel old.
Not in the way that my body has fallen apart or my mind is gone. I’m young, healthy, vibrant. Mostly. Enough so that I get up every day pretty happy with where I’m at in life.
So not in that way.
But my stories. They are old. They stopped. Somewhere they stopped being new.
Maybe that’s what happens when you grow up. The stories aren’t new anymore because you don’t make them the way you used to.
I’ve got responsibilities now, aspirations that require my attention and detail. People who depend on me to do my job and get my work done.I’ve turned into the person I used to mock, relentlessly, as I dragged myself around the country with no money, no real job and no idea what was going to happen next.
Or maybe they aren’t new because I’ve seen them all before, in one manner or shape.
When I was 33, a woman said to me when we broke up: “Nothing is new for you. You’ve done the things I want to do and that means I don’t get to experience them for the first time with someone I love.”
She wanted to move to a big city, travel around the world, write books, walk on red carpets. Things that I had done – in some small measure – and then walked away from when I was still in my twenties.
Because I had plans about what was next.
And some of that plan has come true. I’ve worked at places I never dreamed possible, I’ve met people who have changed the world and I’ve traveled to parts of the world I never dreamed of seeing.
But the stories aren’t there. The Grand Narrative of live slipped by me somehow.
The plan: the writing, the drinking, the fighting, the abandon. It was supposed to happen furiously and then end. Badly. As all things do.
But it didn’t: the writing happens less frequently, the drinking and fighting gone and the abandon replaced by the things and stuff around me.
So I have to re-calibrate. De-thing and de-stuff. To re-start the story. The expectations. The life.
Because my voice is gone. The story is gone.
And I have to go in search of it.