In this stupid house, the only place I can afford to live at the moment, with inconsiderates who leave messes and fail to maintain the property – in a web of decisions going back decades, schools and friends and identities which start to misfit the life I gravitate towards – in a world made inhospitable by greed and inhumanity and simplistic ideals of what a person is, what an animal is, what a dollar is, what a religion is. I feel trapped, sometimes. Right now.
It comes in waves. Sometimes I can focus entirely on my life, on constructing my own wings of wax or a tunnel through a wall, and sometimes the entire crass world weighs heavily and makes my arms feel like they are made of stone, giant paperweights cluttering my desk, physical obstacles to making progress.
The ideal is that emotions are the fuel of art, but I don’t think it’s that simple. Emotions are fuel the way that plankton is oil. There are millennia of grinding and fermenting in that process. Until then, they’re just creepy-crawleys, a film of maliciously greedy sub-selfs that you have to brush off of your teeth every night lest be chewed hollow. Until the eon has passed within you, through you, they will consume the eggs of your art as sustenance until you go extinct.
Then why am I writing this? By this theory, I should either be mentally calm at the moment or so emotionally overwrought that writing becomes impossible. I am neither. What this is is pumping as quickly as possible, trying to keep the ship even. The emotions are barely processed, still only somewhat-unraw sewage, but I’m getting it out as quickly as I can, because the pressure and the poison are starting to build, upon each other and within my mind, and I don’t appreciate the pressure. I don’t like being pushed around.
It’s not a disaster, but it still sucks.
I used to write a blog about video games. I can’t tell if I still do any more. What’s relevant about game design, what’s artistic and meaningful about the medium, is shifting. This is part of the process of making a game, or it is if I ever finish a game which I don’t know if I can because things keep happening and my focus can never stay in one place because of the aforementioned creepy-crawleys.
Okay. I’m angry. I’m sad and I’m frustrated. I’m scared and worried and tired and irritable. Those are most of the things I have been feeling. Occasionally I’m elated or excited about a possibility or proud of an accomplishment, but the positive reinforcement has been scarce on the ground.
I’m just vomiting this onto the page. Sometimes it’s not art, it’s just therapy, and if you get anything artistic from it it’s yours, it’s a found object, it’s R. Mutt’s Fountain, special because you found it among the muck, not special because of any intent that I, the creator, imbued upon it. Sometimes that’s what it’s going to be. Sometimes I’m just going to be the ink that blots, and you can see whatever pornography or murder or flowers you wish within the noise I generate. Maybe that’s all art ever is, all art is found art, orphaned of intent, the author is dead, long live the curator.
Maybe I can stop worrying about making something amazing. Maybe I can just start worrying about making something, and hope that there are people who exist in the position to find it amazing, because nothing I can do will ever be up to the standards I set for myself. Even if I could convince myself I was the best ever, at anything, I would be utterly unsatisfied with that in the face of the possibility of being better.
I don’t think I can stop worrying about that. But maybe, once in a while, I can at least remind myself that that’s a way I could hypothetically think.
Maybe that will be enough.