THE WRITER’S LIFE
There are few people like me, who wander around the perimeter of mental health, sometimes just to test the water at the shore. Several thousand of us are barely noticed in a world of billions of contradictions.
We can walk for mental miles before we find a fellow human we can engage with, then when drinking at the pool of life, the same conversation ensues:
“Can I interfere in your crisis?”
“No, mind your own business.”
Fall asleep with a cigarette, to the flicker of a TV set…
This is me and thousands of others, and I have a friend who’s unlike me in all respects but for one commonality: We sometimes find life around us so confusing that the only person who might make sense of it is ourselves. And even then, we get confused and we don’t talk. We try, but in the end, it’s only to ourselves.
Friends try to talk to the person inside which doesn’t understand itself, so we push them away. We’d prefer reasoned debate to conflict but we punch walls because they can’t talk. Mirrors don’t fight back either.
Once we’ve punched all the barriers away, we’re left drinking alone, while kindred spirits live in another country on the other side of the water. Distant nomads, thinly-spread on the human landscape like Marmite on toast, neurotribes look away from their reflection in the drink.
SEVERAL THOUSAND MANIACS
There’s an oasis we don’t see, because we’re too busy looking into the pool of our own lives, rarely daring to look up. But deep in that reflection is the admission that we’re only fighting with ourselves, punching water and making ripples: contradictions.
“Is that your personal crisis over there?”
“Shall we skim a pebble? It might look up.”
“Should we do that? We might hit it in the head and fuck it up.”
“Fuck yeah. If we don’t, the neurotribes will have one less introspective maniac to reflect on. Personal crises have a habit of becoming self-consuming and aren’t so good at swimming.”
We are the mental health rejects, introverts, alone on opposite shores and other planets: our own, invaded by so many middle-class pretenders. But we’re several thousand maniacs together, and we can spot the interlopers from a mile away on a world where only the truly mad can survive.
“Keep your head up kid, I know you can swim. But ya gotta move your legs.” (Augustines)
We won’t all find meaning in life, but it’s nice to spend the one we have with people who provide glimpses into another world, wherever they’re from. The flicker of a TV set.