I’ve lived in the middle of this city for about a year now and I still get surprised when I stop to listen to how loud it is outside and I’m instead met by the sound of nothing at all (that’s not a sound, but you get it, you get it), no cars, no honking, no “fuck you” from one driver to another; no feet smack this sidewalk, no music, no couples fighting until dawn, only stopping to have sex and fight and then have sex again, this spinning wheel of dysfunctional fun only stopping to be hushed by the first cutting through dirty windows; no love from me to you, and this means no pacing outside of my apartment, playing with my lighter, watching the sparks fly as I absentmindedly light it, creating a nice little halo for the glow of the cherry of my cigarette…the only thing that makes noise in this city, then, is my mind, and, let me tell you, if you haven’t figured it out already: my brain? My brain? It never shuts the fuck up. Hence why I’m sitting here, listening to the dead vacuum that is my city, writing to you. This also explains why you are sitting here, reading this garbage/nonsense/stomach-churning, dumb-as-hell navel-gazing. (I specialize in this type of material, and you should start to feel bad about yourself, if you haven’t started that special process already!).
So, here we are. Here we are. Here we are.
I remember how the darkness doubled…I recall…lightning struck itself…I was listening, listening to the rain…I was hearing, hearing something else…
It’s midnight, the time I feel alive, the time I feel invincible, legendary, like I’m the last living boy in this city with a beating heart, a life, a love, a feeling that when the morning comes I will burst forth from my apartment in a glorious fusion of fire and gold, miraculous and true and worshiped by those who, like me, champion themselves as night owls. I feel like the ultimate one right now, using my well-shaped ears to search the darkness for ripples of sound, signs of life etched in to this inky-darkness that we, the night owls, thirst for so much…I suppose I could skip to-and-fro down to the bar, order myself my usual Guinness and people-watch. Maybe I’ll strike up a conversation, entertain myself with a kind stranger who likes to listen a fellow lost one drone on about their own troubles with existence. But, I can’t do that; my troubles are not troubles, oh no…that would be a lie. My troubles are my strange, ongoing reaction to good fortune — I have a lit agent and a manuscript that’s being shopped to publishers as we speak, but I feel like my throat is closing up; what’s going to happen tomorrow?
When the book is published, do I even have it in me to actually write another one of those? Will the novel that my literary agent “loves, seriously” be shredded mercilessly by critics?
When the book is published, what if it turns out to be successful? What if I break apart due to the pressures of success and end up floating face-down in my ridiculously expensive pool? Will this all turn into some strange, twisted lit-version of Sunset Boulevard? What if I become a hopeless drug addict and O.D.?
When the book is published, what if turns out that it sells nothing and I end up teaching high school or some crap, teaching the future mindless zombies of America a book — any book, any book at all — that I know good & goddamn well they’re not reading?
Am I overthinking yes? Am I freaking myself out for nothing? Do I think too much?
Life in the hive puckered up my night…the kiss of death, the embrace of life…there I stand ‘neath the Marquee Moon…just waiting…
I think too much. (Do I? Do I really?) Maybe I don’t think enough. I’ve spent my entire life (so far) working towards this dream and, now that it’s here, it’s making all my worst anxieties take on their harshest, most ruthless forms. I feel like I’m going crazy here or something, which is partially why I’ve been searching for signs of life in the night: I’m trying to take my mind off of my daunting, possibly ridiculous future, and, obviously, it isn’t helping me at all…I wish a car would crash near my building, or maybe some dumbass is feeling adventurous and decides to shake things up by firing his pistol in the air. “This one’s for the boring!” he will yell, making all the squares sit up in their bed & take notice that adventure has come back to town. I need a celebration, I need validation; I need to find a way to convince myself that I’m “going to be alright, and this book-thing will work itself out,” and I’ll say this to myself so earnestly that, who knows, I might even start to believe in those words myself…it could happen, you know. I could start believing and then BOOM everything changes, and I spend the rest of my life wrapped in my robe of fire, genius, and gold…
I spoke to a man down at the tracks…and I asked him…how he don’t go mad…He said: look here junior, don’t you be so happy…and for Heaven’s sake…don’t you be so sad…”
It’s well past midnight now, and still my beautiful city lays sleeping outside…maybe I’ve had it all wrong and my city is being nice to me, it’s gone of its way to make me feel comfortable enough to work and think and sleep and secure my future for the next fifty or so years…maybe…maybe…but I doubt it. I’ve overthought everything my entire life and I don’t see myself changing anytime soon. Why not change? It’s lead me this far, led me this close to my dreams (I can see the light, make it the beautiful contours of that sparking finish line…) and I’ve found no reason to really stop being myself, anyways. I rub some people the wrong way, but I’ve never really cared. I am myself and I always have been, even in the times when I had no idea who the hell I was…the argument could even be made that I still have no idea who I am….I will also guess that neither do you, really, but that’s for another time & place, a place where we feel like boring each other for years.
I don’t feel like doing that right now. Do you?
Of course you don’t; you’d rather listen to me drone on and on and on about nothing, am O right? Of course you don’t. That’s what I thought.
— Jackson Williams.