I Stayed Up Too Late Writing This Again
Now with 100% less politics (sorry Max) and 0% more Pain and Power of Chores (sorry Fitz)
My pattern of writing at obscene hours continues with this newest installment. There are more of these but most are too short or too meandering to post.
There comes a time at night, usually between 10:30 and 11:00, when a primordial urge abruptly takes me over, as compelling as it is random — introspective, metaphysical, emotional, and sometimes ideological writing. It always starts when I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep. I get up with a groan, knowing that I should at least try to get something done instead of lying awake in silence. I put on some old crooner or big band, maybe Duke Ellington, maybe Harry James, maybe Bing Crosby, and let the algorithm do its work. I start out cleaning, belting the lyrics whether I actually know them or not. Books and clothes get put away and some real progress gets done, but the biggest issue spot is always my desk.
The desk in my bedroom is the final destination for any and all of my detritus as well as my main workspace for school. This is, of course, a problem, and I set to work tidying it up. My vocal chords usually get a bit strained by now so I stop singing so enthusiastically, too. Eventually, I reach a satisfactory point and rummage about for some notebook, journal, sometimes even notepad, to write in. The writing begins in my trademark hurried scrawl (nobody actually sees the handwriting so I don’t need to make it legible for anyone other than me), often with an under-sharpened pencil and an underdeveloped idea. Sometimes I stop and think for long periods thinking of what to write, and sometimes I can barely get the words on paper fast enough. But I press on, back turned against the wind.
Who knows what or why this time is mine to write in more than any other hour of the day, and who knows how long this specific writing spree will last. My bad hand posture-induced cramp is starting, but Aretha seems nowhere near stopping.
All of this music swirling around me is essential, tangential as its inclusion in this writing may seem at first glance. I truly abhor writing in silence. It swallows up any creative thoughts one might have and spawns daydreams galore. On pain of getting into a diatribe over some topic or contention and the slow encroachment of ‘70s rock on what was once the sole domain of swing, I should be getting to bed. It will be a pain to type this up in the morning (it has been), but discovering something I’ve typed up will not ignite nearly as much nostalgia. Let me leave you with something I discovered tonight cleaning my desk...
Three men stand before a clear lake
Why have they come here?
There is so much more to do.
MT, 6/3/18, 10:53 PM
The Only Constant
“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”
- Roy Bennet
Any change, big or small, is never able to be completely prepared for. You can steel yourself, set things in motion, do anything under the sun; but still, despite all that you will never be ready when it finally comes for you. And unexpected change... you’re like the fly in the proverbial windshield. So, once change does come, what can you do? The answer is always to take it in your stride and adapt. That’s how you get through life, through changes big, small, and everything in between. This is shown most by uncomfortable changes. You have to be able to see the light in every cloud, to have a good outlook that flies in the face of daunting challenges and situations.
”And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
I do not know who I will be. Granted, many people don’t, but that not knowing is what defines me. From someone who values knowledge above few other things, the essential uncertainty of my future is at once terrifying, tantalizing, and thrilling. There is no way to glean any facts or certainties - I am Magellan and time is my Pacific. But I also am always connected to the past like a fish to water. Tales of great thinkers, great conquerors, great achievers and great epics stretching back through the millennia. I live my life in the past, nose always buried in some tome or, less commonly, Wikipedia article about who knows what. I delight in learning about 13th century Balkan geopolitics. I relish reading about court intrigues of the late Qing era. My daydreams take me to Constantinople, Waterloo, Painpat, Lepanto, and a million others. I need that connection; it sustains me and inspires me to one day take part in one of these stories. That is what compels me at my core, the great hissing boiler in the bowels of the SS Max Troiano.