Monday, 31 May 2010

101*

I hate those TV episodes where the writers cobble together a clip show because they’ve clearly run out of ideas. It is lazy and its tired. It is the same with writing too. I dislike books where in someway the author has approached a significant milestone and decides to piece together an anthology of what they deem to be their best work. We as readers should get to decide what work is superior to others. It dawned on me that yesterday’s Katy Steele gig review was my 100th post on this blog after just seventeen months. Instead of telling you what you should read, I’d like to tell my small group of loyal, rabid readers what this journey means, and where I believe it should take me next.

In the beginning I thought this blog would turn into a tiny version of Slate: a lot of political coverage, a tiny dollop of pop culture, and a very minimal amount of introspection. Yet the reverse has been the case. Circumstances have aligned themselves, so that the growth of this blog has coincided with perhaps the most chaotic period of my life, and one in which I’ve been battered emotionally, challenged intellectually and where I have constantly criticised myself. This blog has been the place has been the illustration of this tumultuous period.

I’m reminded of Mark Latham’s first press conference as ALP leader in 2003 where he pledged to the Canberra Press Gallery that he would engage in …no more crudity…’ He tried to live by that pledge for a while in order to remain electorally viable, but soon his true personality shone through and that pledge became nothing more than lip service. And so it has proven with this blog. I made a pledge to myself upon its creation that there would be no more introspection, and no more self analysis. As hard as I’ve tried to live up to that promise, in order to remain what I consider readable, I just can’t do it. If that wasn’t clear by September, when I was confronted with personal questions relating to my disability, the pledge was promptly thrown out the window when in the following month I fell in love for the second time.

This proved to be a turning point for not only the blog, but for me personally. ‘Playing the record for the first time’ has become part of my overall vernacular and it is kind of a motto for how I’ve approached things. It was never my intent to have at least half the remaining posts trace my doomed, highly inevitable, and typically predictable journey my heart has gone on since. In what I guess is an overly critical assessment I fear that my writing is less like Christopher Hitchens and Chuck Klosterman, and more like the overtly emotional teenager inside me that I constantly struggle with. It is not enough to use my physically crippling disease as an excuse to justify my own emotionally crippling behaviour. It is not what I wanted these pages to become, but yet it seems there will be more of it, because that’s the only way I know how to write.

I can’t say this blog has allowed me to come full circle, more a reflex angle I suppose. Last night I lay awake wondering that if I was an impartial observer whether I would read this on a regular basis. I can honestly say I am unsure. Sometimes when I write here I feel as if it helps me enormously, being able to express myself in a fashion where I am insanely comfortable. I write as if there are no readers, and then I can answer the most inane question of all time ‘How are you feeling?’ by saying ‘Just go and read my blog’ Yet I feel sorry for the people I mention here because I know that the majority of them read this blog, but they don’t ask to be talked about in a public forum. I thank them for resisting the temptation to punch me in the face, even though I feel like I deserve it most of the time. I’m proud of this blog and yet it makes me cringe. Unlike pervious efforts I have the intent on keeping this one alive. I have this fantasy that one day I might turn this blog into a book, dare I say an anthology?

When I was a small boy, my mother bought a book called Under the Eye of the Clock by Christopher Nolan. I’ve never read it myself, but as I type I’m looking at the book’s dust jacket. Mum has said in the past that this book was an inspiration to her as she was faced with my grim diagnoses. It is the story of its author, a young man that suffered severe brain damage who became a world renowned poet. Mum said to me long ago that she had read the book when my outlook was probably at its grimmest, and was inspired so much, that by reading the book she knew that I would be able to achieve great things in my life.

As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve always wrestled with the notion of being a case study for people with disabilities. Being ‘disabled’ is a tag that sits so uncomfortably for me that I feel as if it is the tightest of straightjackets. I feel as if in spite of all I achieved, and will achieve, I will be known for because of, and in spite of, my disability. Yet I feel I have a responsibility, and a duty to give people hope. That just because a One Nation bogan labelled me a ‘Commie Cripple’ at a polling booth one day, it does not mean that I cannot wear that tag with pride and defiance. If a mother of a child with a disability reads one of these blog posts and decides that I’m their very own version of Christopher Nolan, then that’s okay. However, I am not an inspiration, I’m just human who wears his heart on his sleeve, loves politics, music, TV, gets his heart broken, and is susceptible to write about it in copious detail.

I came up with the title of this blog on a whim in its previous incarnation. But now I see that Thoughts Of A Frustrated Visionary has become more apt than ever before. Forever obsessed with the big picture, it is the human elements that continue to frustrate me. I may be in the process of completing a PhD in political science, but that’s the most stable part of my life because it is on my terms. The ability to find a woman who will love me as equally and as unconditionally as I do her is still a goal I doubt I will achieve. The struggle to wrestle against my two competing identities: the cognitive and the emotional is a battle I think I’ve already lost. And the ability to process my thoughts clearly outside of this blog is something I doubt will happen. If you come here for nothing else, at least you know all my problems.

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