I’m not here 08.24.2011
I’m not here. Wherever here is these days. For me, here is as much an idea and a goal as a place. Therefore, here is not quite here for me right now. No place you can see really is. It is largely because of that you have not seen the regular updates in this place I would prefer. I’m not here.
Where am I? As David Foster Wallace used to say, I’m deep into something long. Which was his way of describing where here is for a writer who is writing a book. That is where I am. I’m deep into something long. Furthermore, I’m into something that questions the very heart of how I approach places such as this. Other places as well. Because of these questions, I’m increasingly uncertain as to what belongs where. I am even beginning to wonder if much of this belongs anywhere at all.
When I was a teenager I took a summer long creative writing course. One of the many, many lessons I learned there that stick with me today is this: For a writer, some things come out fully formed. Other things come out a sentence or a word at a time. That you may have a sentence, or even a single word, that you know is great and belongs somewhere but does not quite fit anywhere yet. Stick it aside, the instructor said. It may be days or weeks or years but you will know when it comes to you. That word might be the missing piece of a paragraph. That sentence might be the beginning of a whole book. Or, perhaps, that sentence or word belongs on the sticky note you scribbled it on and stuck aside to remind you that even not having a place is a place in itself.
I feel very much in that place. I feel like so many of those words and sentences I should have stuck aside in a special place just for me I have instead blown into the ether-wind that is Twitter, etc. and now they are in places I can’t find them. I wonder what great paragraphs they might have made or great books they might have spawned. I try to console myself with the idea that someone else’s place is a place as well and perhaps these things might do some good there. Sometimes such consolation works. Far too often not. Which is all the more reason I am not there as much as I used to be. When I am it is at odd hours and quick bursts and unsure intention. I’m just not there anymore. It does not belong to me.
This place is all mine. It even has my name on it. Yet, I’m no longer sure what this place should be for me. This place was a place for me to stick those words and sentences and paragraphs until where they fit was revealed. And now that they live on in that place, as a book, I’m not sure what this place should now contain. I’m not sure what it represents. I’m not sure what this place is and should be.
Frankly, I’m not going to figure it out right now. All I know is that I’m not here. This place is not with where I am and I’m not where this place is. It is mine. I can rip it down and rebuild it should I so choose. Certainly, some of the broader thinking I have been doing around the deep long thing will help with such choices. But I also don’t have to do anything right now. Not choosing is a choice in itself. Perhaps, like those words and sentences and paragraphs that are placeless, perhaps the place for here will be revealed. I have time.
I am deep into that long thing and the deeper I get the less I have to share elsewhere. Only one of my online sites is getting any attention, and that is only because it’s message is similarly aligned with the long thing. Yet even that alignment is still not enough for it not to feel as much a distraction from where here is for me as anywhere else. I rest in the idea that that site at least does not take my head too far out of the game and that maybe a word or sentence I put there might be part of something I just have not seen yet. Perhaps the long thing.
As for this place and most others, if you are wondering where I am, now you know. I’m not here.