in the end
(first appeared as the final story in the final issue of runningoutofink.com 10/1/2013)
I once wrote: “People write because they have nothing better to do. Writing is not life; it is the absence of life. You do it to fill in the gaps between real experiences.” I got a little grief from other writers. Nobody you’d know, but writers just the same. They took offense at the notion that writing is the absence of life.
Oh well, sucks to be you. And me.
The thing is- if you’ll allow me to explain more fully- they are assuming that people who are not writing are having a better time. That’s a big leap. There are plenty of other ways not to have a life than writing and even as we speak (I know, we’re not speaking … take it down a notch ok?) most people are actively engaged in them.
In the end we’re all just filling up our day. The sun will soon set on today whether you spent it sipping champagne on a yacht or getting pile-drived in a prison shower. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Time waits for no man.
So in between the sun rising this morning and the sun going down this evening everyone is just filling up their time.
Like you’re doing now.
Some people spend their time alone while others enjoy the company of others.
There are city folk and country folk. Drinkers and teetotalers. There are those who will look up the word teetotalers, convinced it’s teatotalers, and those who couldn’t give a crap.
Single and married. Bible-thumpers and atheists. Narcissists and basket cases. Rich and poor.
I beat the dead horse a little longer than I’d meant to but it just goes to show that there are so many variables in any life, that’s it’s no wonder some people throw up the white flag and start writing down their thoughts.
I find it ironic that Socrates was quoted as saying “the unexamined life is not worth living” but never actually wrote down any of his examining. He left it to other people. He just walked around examining and spouting off and in the end he ceased to be just like everyone else who had been too busy to observe their own various goings-on.
He filled his time with philosophy and his neighbor filled it with discus lessons and now both are in the same state of nonexistence.
And- you guessed it- that’s the same place you’re going to be soon enough.
There will come a day when you go tits up and then the next day life as we know it will plow on without you. Whether your song is still in you or if you’ve sung it to packed houses, it won’t matter in the least. The plug will be pulled and the show that you know as your life will be over.
Regardless of what you do today.
Regardless of how happy or sad you decide to be.
Regardless of how you fill your time.
Click. Out go the lights.
So how is this a defense of “People write because they have nothing better to do. Writing is not life; it is the absence of life. You do it to fill in the gaps between real experiences?”
I guess you could say that I don’t think there’s much difference between having a busy life and sitting around in your underwear writing down your dumb thoughts … other than it’s only a hair better spending your finite amount of time on this planet reading someone else’s.
If you’re looking for me to end with a bunch of platitudes about not wasting a minute and living life to the fullest then apparently you’re an idiot and haven’t been processing a single word I’ve been saying (typing, saying, whatever!).
Cure a terrible disease or go murder someone. Feed the hungry or make meth in your basement. Try to convince people your psychic or publish an online publication filled with flash fiction.
It doesn’t matter.
In the end … it will end.