I Forgot to Write Today
(An Homage to Daniil Kharms)
I try not to disappoint myself like this.
The day started as planned. I got up early, read the usual variety of news sources and then scanned a smattering of culturally-influential magazines online, made coffee, and sat down.
Actually, that isn't quite right.
I sat down first, while simultaneously making the coffee, then read the things online. To be even more precise, a machine made the coffee in another room, but there is really no need to discuss any of that further. Suffice it to say, the order of the day was, at least initially, sitting, reading, and coffee—a classic trio of activities.
That is, of course, if you consider coffee to be a verb, which seems unusual.
Meanwhile, I found an excellent article in the The Atlantic magazine today about how there are so many books at the Vatican, it turns out, it's virtually useless to have any of them since no one can find any particular one of them. However, if the technology works, anyone will be able to find any of the Vatican's books they might choose rather easily, eventually.
There is no mention of whether this would include the collection of banned materials I had always heard were in the Vatican library—which are there since they apparently have to own a copy of everything they ban—but I digress. This might be merely a folk tale.
I would have to look it up, but if I were to do that, I'd probably want to consider first writing something, since I promised myself. Ideally, I would write something culturally relevant, not unlike the magazine articles I frequently choose.
Regarding the Vatican library, though, can you picture, old books stretching from, say, the white cliffs of Dover, in England, all the way to Calais, in France?
First of all, you would need to mentally build an impressive, buoyant, and hydrophobic bookcase so the books didn’t simply sink! But if you did manage to build such a bookcase, it had better be at least three shelves high to have room for all the Vatican's books— not only because that part of England is closer to France than you thought (only 18 miles), but also because the Vatican has that many books.
The main thrust of the article in The Atlantic seems to be, that really is a lot of books, no matter how you think of it. And that is where I happened to think, 'Certainly they didn't get there because no one wrote them!'
This is the sort of inspirational phrase that occasionally pops into my mind as I try to remind myself, to be good at anything, you have do the work. Unlike today of course, since the whole concept of undertaking writing, as I had intended to do, has just slipped my mind entirely.
I really hate to blame others for this fact, given that no one else is particularly responsible, and yet I am tempted to look for a scapegoat for the fact that I completely forgot to write today. Freud might blame my mother— I would not.
If anyone is to blame, it is probably a very ancient hominid ancestor who lacked motivation, but somehow still managed to procreate. It is far too late to prevent that ancestor from transmitting whatever gene, chromosome or strand of DNA might be blamed for this “motivational deficit disorder” (or MDD). So I have to look at the matter at hand: the fact that, as I touched on before, I simply forgot to do the work, and write.
Perhaps it is true that we are most disappointed by those traits we hate in others, and I hate—or to be fair, mildly dislike—writers who don't write (depending on whether I like what they write).
Context can be helpful, so here’s more on what has transpired. I decided recently, within the past couple of weeks, that it's really important that I do a lot more writing; and yet today, here I am, somehow managing to avoid, evade or obliviate what I solemnly promised myself I would do. I think there is hardly a feeling more poignant and wrenching to the artist than the one that accompanies the thought: I could have been writing (or painting, or conducting an orchestra, or practicing modern mime) right now!
It is after all a virtual certainty that no painter ever painted a great painting without painting. This is such a simple truism that it may seem completely obvious or intuitive. No musician ever played music without manipulating some instrument, even if that instrument happened to be the voice.
(To be fair, John Cage did it with his famous silent epic 4'33", which is four and a half minutes of silence. But to my knowledge, at least so far, there is simply no writing without writing.)
So in the end, frustratingly, I have disappointed myself once again. It is perhaps time to contemplate that full-time job, at the restaurant or grocery, in lieu of the various office roles I have disliked, however lucrative they were. It would have been better if I had written something today. But I shall try again tomorrow.
Did you forget to write today?
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© 2018 Malcolm Kaines