Monday, April 2, 2007
The Ego Has Landed*
My housemate had sage words of advice for me about The Art of Distraction yesterday: "Don't disappear too far up your own arse, Doll". Bless him. And fair enough too. The poor boy has to put up with my smelly socks, seemingly endless 'Where's Geoffrey's Rent This Fortnight?' crises, a shoddy time-and-body-clock that malfunctions with a creative irregularity all of its very own, a veritable mushroom cloud of constant cigarette smoke, and my life-threatening allergy to housework.
The issue, you see, is that I am captivated by my humble little blog (which my housemate also suggested I might re-title The Danger of Distraction).
The simple truth of the matter is that many years ago I fancied myself as a bit of a writer. When I sold my (slightly less than majority) shares in Brother Sister, the Melbourne gay newspaper I started with my friend Jeffrey Grad, I spent six months writing a play called The World ... According to Timothy Cross while living off the proceeds. And then the money ran out. The money always runs out ... which is why, ten years ago, I started my little graphic design business - to keep regular money coming in while I kept writing.
It remains the single greatest miscalculation of my life.
Developing as a writer is like breathing. To stop is death. To rush is to create chaos ... a kind of word-weary lightheadedness that gradually severs the connection between the writing and the reason. Words present so many possibilities ... not only which ones and where, but which ones next, and why? Words have an incredible impact on me. There are books I have read that I have not wanted to end ... so much so that I have avoided finishing them - sometimes for days. Words - and the time and space before, after and even during them - harbour potential for unimaginable power. There have been moments in the theatre where words have had the power to literally alter my physical and emotional state. The final line of Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa - impossible to quote here out of its dramatic context - resulted, for me, in a sudden gasp, an equally memorable exhale, and unexpected tears. The best kind. My body changed shape. My hands covered my mouth. Such is the power of words.
I respect words enormously, and for too long now I have used them almost exclusively as weapons to fend off penury ... and intimacy ... and often in trite, meaningless and idle chat of little or no consequence. I have sometimes found the courage to use the right ones at the right time, and occasionally the wrong ones at the wrong time. I am more grateful than I think you know for the comments that have encouraged me to write. It has made me realise that, if we do nothing else once a day, we should say something encouraging, generous, kind, positive and supportive to ourselves ... and possibly to someone else as well. It musn't be that hard.
I have been living here in Randwick for a little over a year now. Immediately prior to moving in here, I had managed to use the wrong words but, incredibly fortuitously as it turned out, at the right time.
But that's another story.
*With apologies to Jack Higgins