Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Don't Know What to Do: War

Yesterday I was in the city. Manhattan was full on a weekday evening. It was pregnant with exasperation and beautiful people and the achingly high buildings which speak of an alternate reality right next to ours at the bottom but theoretical at our best attempt to picture. I came away from a production meeting proceeding an uneventful casting (in terms of turnout, not quality per se). I went home feeling a little uplifted. The director's confidence helped me feel well-placed. And I reorganized my thoughts on the way. I was at war. I've been struggling to gain a winning hand in this mess of my identity. Action defines a person. Although I'm an idealist, I'm nothing if not executing the weight of my ideals... Ugh, that old problem again. I can speak of the proverbial "this time." I can talk forever of the beauty of a world pulled together knowing the effort involved is unfathomable. I can cling to dreams because the romance of longing for something truly great and selfless is both rapturous and selfish. But the truest work is in giving. Real work is the provision of labor and focus. Real work is meaningful and draining and rewarding. Real work is not something someone can ask of you. It is a precedent you can set and remake every day. Being a real worker is often joyless but it is soothing on some level. Directly or indirectly, it requires a divorce from the ego. But does this mean we give up pursuits of power and the benefits of wielding it? Sexuality, wealth, popularity, fine materials and expensive trinkets? Do we give up wanting to travel to the exotic, eat the exotic, have grand spaces allocated for our sole enjoyment and servants at our beck and call? Do we give up the pleasure of music and celebration in exclusive locales, access, luxury? I don't have any of the above and something tells me that if I did I would abuse them all with abandon. I would live this way if I could. I would submerse myself in the mire of stimulus until I had lost the very meaning I was born with and all I am had been supplanted with a meaningless joy. I would do it because I know I cannot truly live without understanding what I would be giving up. To see the limitations of myself now, of myself in power, of myself as an idealist, of myself as resigned, to envision all ends in limitation places idealism in paradox. The freedom to believe whatever versus the self-contained nature of any concept conceivable; where you look, you find Him - infinite forms of finite meaning; a language against boundary and a path to truth. The harmony of all of agendas will only create stagnation, a loss of need. The search is more essential. We are headed somewhere... We are imbalanced because evolution requires it. We must fight always to turn the leading philosophy, or to strengthen it. To what end? Does it matter? The breakdown of all pursuits is ubiquitous. Power corrupts, as they say. This is just one manifestation. College dropouts amass great wealth; this is another. There are no true stigmas BECAUSE because war is there to change the definition of stigma. I wrote once more that I would pursue earning $10k a month. Around $6k from production and post sound and the remaining over time from literary residuals, film distribution and my nonprofit salary. I told myself this having only half a business plan, half a sound kit, half an understanding of sound design, any number of half-developed short fiction and novel ideas. The war has raged for the last 20 years, slowly at first and now more fiercely. The enemies recognize each other and brutalize each other openly, leaving me the host frantic with desperation and guilt, doubt and rage. I lean into it. I lean into it. I will tremble beneath the strike. I will feel the fear. I will shake and cry. I will stand if more from stubborn will than from courage. I will stand because people depend on me. And more will before this battle is over. I am haunted by it.