I've been writing in this journal that my mother gave me for my birthday this year. Primarily (like most journals, I'm sure), it is stuff I don't care to share with anyone, because either it is too personal, too pathetic, or simply seems too mundane after it has been written down, which is probably the appeal of journals in the first place--their ability to make that thing that-seems-like-such-a-big-deal-that-you-have-to-sit-down-and-write-about-it-that-night seem a bit less dramatic and severe, although this could just be the difficulty of translating thoughts into words.
Anyway, this particular entry was kind of okay and insightful (I think) and mostly representative of my life and things in Portland, and I realized that I hadn't posted anything on here in quite some time, so here goes. I hope I don't get all self-conscious about this and decide later to take it down.
I have spent most of my life on some sort of Monday-Friday type schedule, and according to this kind of schedule, Sundays are typically sleepy and relaxed. I think that "nothing" quality Sundays seem to possess has always been a bit sad for me.
Since finishing school and moving to Portland, I have found myself with a far less set schedule--working randomly throughout the week and going out and doing things/staying home according to my mood rather than any sort of "what do I have to do tomorrow" thoughts. But, despite the change in schedule, Sundays still have that same nothingness for me.
Today, I watched movies pretty much all day, which I always feel guilty about doing. It doesn't help that all of my books and music equipment are directly to the left of me, staring at me all day, reminding me I should be doing anything else besides what I am doing at the moment.
I have heard people say that weekends are for relaxing and watching movies (honestly, those two specific things, and I've heard it from a number of people, too), but I don't want to fall into that mindset. I keep telling myself that I will work harder on my next day off, but that reassurance is a bit diluted by repetition and my awareness of how stereotypical that statement is for adults on the edge of leaving their creative years behind them. Eventually, it just becomes "Oh, I'll get that siding put up next weekend" instead of something like, say, "Damnit, I really need to just record this friggin' song, already" or "I really need to do that postcard design before it is to late" or "I really need to finish those comics before the end of the month".
I did go for a bike ride, though, to try and feel productive and escape all these thoughts. I took the same trail I normally do, which runs right along the river all the way down to Sellwood. I listened to Bjork's Vespertine which I had never heard before, and ended up being perfect music for the mood of the whole bike ride and probably just the day (or past month) in general.
When I got to Sellwood, I sat at the waterfront park for a half an hour or so. From where I was sitting, I could turn my head to my left and see a young kid picking up rocks and hurling them as far as he could into the river. He was probably only about 4 years old, so they only made it 2 or 3 feet, and it took, probably, a 240 degree rotation and nearly ever muscle in his body (kind of like a discus thrower) just to get it that far. And to my right, I could watch no less than 8 dogs wrestling in the mud and fighting to fetch the single tennis ball this one guy was throwing across the park for them. So, that was all wonderful.
Last night, I was talking to one of Josh's (new roommate) friends. He was drunk and telling me about giving up things when he was younger, and picking them up again later in life because "life is too short", which I kind of feel is just one of those things people tend to say when they feel a bit embarrassed or self-conscious about their own vices. And after he said all of that, I instantly had the thought, Life is not short enough.
Initially, this was a really sad thought to come by, and it was a bit tragic, I have to admit, that it came to me so quickly. But, I thought about it more today, and I am starting to surround it with some more words that kind of help to make a bit more sense out of it. I think about all of these dead artists and poets and philosophers and how they would only live to be 40 or 50 or so, and I am constantly annihilated at how much they were able to accomplish in their lives and how focused they must have been to do it. Seriously, a guy like Leonardo? It's ridiculous. I also finished my Introducing Sartre book today, and even he, as a more modern example, wrote so much and spoke so much and was constantly and passionately contributing to revolution and the restructuring of society his entire life.
I don't see an awful lot of examples of that kind of work ethic and will to create these days, although it could just be because I am alive and it is kind of hard to look outside of the modern times of which I am a part of, no matter how much I don't want to admit it. It all makes me wonder if people didn't know they had so much time ahead of them to get around to all those things they keep wanting to get around to, would they be more inclined to get up and do them (myself included)?
Would shorter life spans increase the will to live? Or are these modern trends of creative procrastination just the shape of things these days? These questions are nearly the entire premise of the manga Ikigami.
I do know there are exceptions. Orson Welles, for a somewhat modern example, was directing by his late teenage years, and continued directing films for his entire life. He lived to be 70 years old, which is a bit young, but falls in the same ballpark as the average lifespan for people now.
I suppose this barrage of canonical examples of authors and artists that trickle down through the centuries that I end up reading about; some of them were probably just exceptions, too, and in no way representative of the people of their respective time periods, but I think these exceptions are what really make me feel guilty about my own procrastination. I feel like I can handle the idea of a movement--a bunch of different artists from one location or time period or style pushing the state of things forward or outward, or, I guess, just pushing things one way or the other. It is when individuals are highlighted from those movements or concepts that it all starts to seem too overwhelming to me.
It's the individuals who rise up out of the same boredom and societal sickness that I experience and go on to produce an incredible amount of work that I can't handle. And a lot of them produced better work by the age of 19 than I have done yet.
I know it is insane to hold myself to any one of these standards set by any of these individuals who are still known and talked about historically world wide, but I think the only alternative is to accept mediocrity.
Hmm... fuck that.