Sometimes, when I’m frustrated with work and feel aimless in career-mode, I fantasize that someday (when I am old enough to grow a salt-and-pepper beard) I will have the balls to shirk my workday—and I will live out my fantasy as a catharsis counsellor.
Because everyone needs catharsis. If you think you don’t, then you’ve either already unwittingly experienced a catharsis recently, or are so fucked that you don’t realize how badly you need it. I, for one, thrive on catharsis (or, perhaps, abreaction). It’s where my pursuit of art began, and it’ll probabaly be the only place it ever ends up. My proverbial emotional testicles just get so bloated with stress sperm that they need to shoot out all over life’s face.
Before you leave in utter disgust…or to search for free porn…let me cut to the point:
I just found out one of my stories (more of a prose poem), “Post-teen After-thoughts” made it into the second volume of Apocrypha & Abstractions Literary Journal’s anthology.
I never thought this piece would get picked up anywhere, mostly because I realize—trying as hard as I can to be an outsider reader (impossible, really)—that the story isn’t much of a story in the traditional sense. It’s a pastiche. A flash jumble of images, like threading beach garbage onto a hemp necklace. And you, the poor sober reader who approaches like a serene individual on a sunset stroll along the coast to clear your mind, you come across this fucking fool wearing beach garbage around his neck and wonder if the gusting wind is strong enough to carry your dying screams to the nearest beach house.
Now, if you were me, “Post-teen After-thoughts” is a story (you’re missing out!). The story is a common one. One I’ve made the mistake of repeating too many times: Googling someone you used to know.
My mistake was ———, the post-punk, pre-indie girl I could never approach, who has since become such a fruitful muse (iterated as Lucy Sparrow, for example, in Onwards & Outwards—so self-referential, aren’t I?).
It’s terrible. Sartre said, “The Other is hell”, and surely he was a clairvoyant foreseeing the nightmare qualities that come along with Googling someone you haven’t seen in years. There is the dread brought on by the cognitive dissonance between the person you have idealized in your head, and the person in reality. It doesn’t matter that a part of you knows that people self-mythologize themselves on the internet. It doesn’t matter that maybe all those fun party pics on Tumblr are from the only night off that person had in months.
They have changed. They have a mature wardrobe. They’re working a cool job. They have tattoos and funky asymmetrical haircuts. They have that look in their eye that tells you, “I’ve lived so much more than you, you pathetic piece of self-loathing shit.”
What good does this feeling do? Does this serve an evolutionary function, to have this angst of seeing someone you adored become even better than you thought they were?
Humanities’ greatest gift and mightiest curse (besides consciousness and humour) is our sociality. We are wholly social creatures. It’s such common knowledge, I won’t even reference that fact. Literally, we breed and grow under the pretense of our social nature. It’s no wonder that the internet’s most recent deluge of advancement has been in ‘social media’. People want to communicate. In my situation, it probably doesn’t help that Google and social media platforms are the major link I have to seeing any of my friends, associates, and other characters of my past due to my self-induced isolation. You may know the feeling: trying to communicate with any profundity over social media platforms (esp. Twitter) is like fucking through a straw.
Jung said, “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate what seems important to you.” If I could only be so lucky. All I have is my pastiche story; my madness on display for strangers in an internet anthology, under a pseudonym, about a person I used to but never could know now. So it goes.
Anyway, lots of cool stuff in the anthology. And if you happen to read mine, just don’t think about it so goddamn much.