I’m glad I don’t look how I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way Tom Waits appears all disheveled but I feel like I’m that and more. It’s not that I think it’s a fine line between disheveled and ruined, in fact I think the line is measured in miles, but I’m afraid I’m so far on the side of ruined that I can’t even see disheveled anymore.
After hundreds of stories there is the creeping fear of writing about the same things. Duplicating some thought or quote. This fear being balanced out by the reality that nobody is reading any of it. But somehow it still matters, not repeating myself.
Which makes the fact that I look completely normal even funnier. I know that everyone thinks that they are somehow darker on the inside, like some inside-out Oreo cookie, but I’m so painfully like everyone else in this regard that I believe there are exceptions to be had. I don’t smoke but I always feel the butt hanging off my lips and I lay in bed wishing that I drank so it could explain the way my head swims and the room spins. It’s like the alcohol never leaves my stomach. I never have to drink it because it’s always there and never leaves. Sloshing around impairing my decision-making.
The main problem being that there are a few basic things that motive me to write. Inspiration is random and but it’s also true that lighting never strikes on a cloudless day. There will always be certain things that spur creativity, if that’s what you’d call writing stupid things, and after a while you can’t tell the dark clouds apart because you’re just so damn happy when one of them produces a flash and a crashing sound.
I shave most days but the man staring back at me from the mirror always has a shadow. Haggard. No amount of sleep seems to help. Cheeks that have such deep crevasses that they can carry away any tears unseen. Like movie stars being hustled from the stage door into their waiting limo.
And poor. So very poor. The kind of poverty that no amount of money seems to help. A soggy match that won’t light no matter how many times you drag it across a rough patch.
They say in space nobody can hear you scream, which explains why everyone needs their space. And I have mine. Plenty of it.
Which might be why nobody sees through my normal visage. I know that all the other normal-looking people don’t feel like this because if they did nothing would get done. We would all just sit on a big circle playing Russian roulette, waiting for our turn to put the gun to our heads, without knowing that someone long ago forgot to put a bullet in. Never knowing how empty our little victory was when we pulled the trigger.
Maybe the reason nobody reads my dumb stories is that I prefer the imagery of thunder over rain splashing down on an upturned and expecting face or even a chilly wind moving over tingling skin. Thunder claps are underappreciated and usually cause pets and loved ones to go running for shelter.
But you’re reading this so I guess it’s not true that nobody reads me. When you think about all the things that had to happen for me to write this and then you to read it, like two lines intersecting on a piece of graph paper, it makes the hair on my neck stand up ever so briefly. A lot like how I suspect it feels just before you get hit by lightning.
Fake smiles and fake laughs. The laugh being the worst. Anyone could tell its fake if they bothered to listen but they don’t. Why would they? They are wrestling with their own disguises. Fighting the feeling of needing everyone and no one. Being someone. Being everyone. Being no one.
But I think I’ve said that before.