Still alive, even yet aliver now

Okay. First post in nine months. Powering up, zoop zoop zoop, finding voice, arranging fingers over keyboard, launching Spotify. Ready for takeoff! And we’re live in five, four, three, two-


There’s both incredibly little and incredibly much to say about the nine months since February. I can both remember the overreaching ark of what I’ve been up to and yet not remember almost a single specific day of it.

There’s outliers, as there usually is, for I am a man of statistics (and in other news, though to nobody’s surprise who has just witnessed me describe myself as a man of statistics, I remain single). First of all, I have a dog now. I’ve consumed so many be-careful-what-you-wish-for-stories in my time that I will spare the world another fucking reiteration of it where I try to be funny and original, so let me tell you the way it is: be careful what you wish for. I wanted a dog basically since I have consciously existed, because I am an old romantic and probably the first romantic story (in the actual sense of the word, not the fucking candles and rose petal spin some people like to put on it) that’s ever happened to me and I can recall involved a scary, big (for my size), black street dog following me all the way through the hamlet where I used to go for summer vacation to my shit grandma. I have two grandmas, one of which is a shit and disgusting person inherently, and one of which isn’t, though that second one revealed an utterly shit and disgusting attitude in a conversation recently, so our relationship is rather strained at the moment – and I’m not one for caring much for words, but the world view she revealed was a lot even for me.

I digress! It seems I have missed this, because I have little to say and much to express, and realise now that this blog is not a document of how I get on with my writing, it’s just a diary, which is just a form of self-therapy. I’ve become a little more mature this year because I can admit to this now without feeling the need to oversell (though one might argue that this last sentence is just another way of overselling, and so is this current one, and now we’re on the meta-level and space-time is about to implode because going on the meta-level has gotten so fucking old that it’s bloody unbearable. Just because Dan Harmon can do it doesn’t mean you should, or I should, or, honestly, even fucking Dan Harmon should anymore.)

Dogs, anyway. This scary, big (for my size), black, worn-out street dog started following me on that rural road in the lousy hamlet where my grandma lived and where I spent my summers when I was like 5 or 6, and instead of being really scared and starting to cry and running for my life I was only mildly scared and somehow instinctively knew what to do with him: calmly lead him to my grandma’s ranch, where she gave him old bones and whatever she could muster up. In hindsight, this was the first showing of the only real talent I have been born with: an instinct for living beings. I’m good at many things (and bad at many others), but I’ve worked bloody hard for all of them – and yes, I’ve also worked on empathy, on communication, all that stuff, but the truth is I’ve always had a headstart there. I just have a feel for it, it comes easily to me, unlike most other things.

So I called him Bimbo and my shit grandma kept him for me (doesn’t sound so shit, hm? Let’s not go into ulterior motives). Then, when we emigrated, I had to leave him behind. I found out some 15 years later that he was a her, and she had died, and before she had, she had given birth and led a happy rest of her life, so that’s nice, presumably.

Now stop the percussion, 

I wanna have a discussion, 

and it’s christmas, 

so this is gonna be a nightmare

Do I read a bit indifferent? That’s just because I’m a little tired, but genuinely tired, not in a dramatic don’t-ask-me-but-ask-me-way. In fact, it’s very important that I get to the why I’m tired because that’s where this entry ends and I can go to bed. It’s a very mundane reason, so don’t hold your breath everybody.

So, dogs! Wanted one ever since Bimbo, basically. Always had an instinct for them, always loved me, always loved them, so much so that I had to learn that that’s not the reality everybody lives in. And well, since I now have both the time and the resources to support one, and I’m 27 and whatever, I thought, this is the time to make the dream come true!

And come true it did! He’s gorgeous, has a stellar character and is a joy to behold. I want to put a bullet in his head only half of the days, the other half I want to put a bullet in mine.

The hard part is not what you expect, at least it’s not what I expected. The hard part isn’t just how much time, just how much energy it takes to look after him. The hard part is who you turn into when it’s your responsibility to make a decent being out of him, who you turn into when he provokes you but you can’t quit, you can’t leave, because he’s your responsibility and you can’t just take yourself out of it and like leave for half a day to calm yourself down. The hard part is the kind of person you have to be to bring him up decently. You’ve heard the jokes about just how much of a thankless job it is and you’ve sympathised, you’ve understood how difficult it must be, but you haven’t really until you’re actually in it. The rest is blunt handicraft and it’s exhausting, but who I have to be to make him a decent being, that’s what kills me.

I don’t know why I did it anymore. This was such a major life choice that, in hindsight, I’ve made it incredibly quickly despite having toyed with it for around ten years. I’ve made it in perhaps the most difficult year of my life, a year that is very hard to shoulder (in terms of just what the fuck is happening in Europe and what the fuck am I doing with myself). But since I’ve made it, and I can’t go back, it’s what it is.

It did do a few things for me: First of all, I had to buy a car for the mere reason that I have to have something for an emergency, like when he needs to go to the vet, and I couldn’t rely on others anymore because it’s not about me now, I’m responsible for him. So, since I was buying one, I got my dream car, the one I wanted every since I was young. This week, when I dropped my dog off at my parents’ and took off to France for a short vacation, I finally had the time to consider what it means: It means (in addition to some financial-related stuff I took care of) that I have a clean slate. From here on, it’s new dreams, new goals, no more coasting on the desires of past me that I would so comfortably fall back on in the past few years because I was scared to move on to new things.

Now I’m not because there are no old things to dream of, so I have to come to standstill or face the future, and though the latter is scary, the former is outright deadly, so future it is. And I’ve realised that my dream is to write myself into the life I’m slowly beginning to imagine for myself because if I can’t write myself into it, there’s no other skill in the world that will get me there. And now here we are, at that famous point that all the greats always talk about in their interviews with each other: I have to write because if I don’t it will kill me.

This is a transition for me, and it’s a welcome one, finally, there’s movement. There’s no question anymore of whether I’m good enough because I don’t care, I will continue for as long as I will be. There’s no mental barrier anymore. Now that the dust settles and there’s no question of whether I actually want to write, another problem has appeared, however: writing itself has become the most difficult, dull, strenuous activity in the world.

When I said I have only one real talent, everything else is hard work, I wasn’t kidding: now comes the part where I have to learn one of the most difficult skills in the world, the part where I have to hone a craft. Welcome to the new era, James. Congratulations on making it past the mental barrier, it was no easy feat. Now awaits the physical one, and that’s going to be the really difficult challenge, likely one of the most difficult ones of your life.

The good news: there’s no doubt I will attempt to climb it until I do. The bad news: it’s quite big, so the climb’s going to be long and difficult. I would like to return in the future to read this and find that I’ve found joy in writing, that I’ve found the flow, you know, when it just writes itself. I’m as far from that as can be currently.

Incredibly, my next birthday is coming up soon, because this year has rushed by like a truck except that truck swooshed right into me and took me with it on its windshield. So, I’ve thought to myself about what I would like as a gift for my birthday, and it turns out the only thing I want is a manuscript, my first one ever. It needs not be final, not even particularly good, but I want to finish something, for once. And since I’ve only ever been working well when it’s towards deadlines – here it is, the deadline:

The 5th of February, 2023, for my first manuscript

Me, which is you if you read this later, but me as I write this, or isn’t you if you’re not me, but not everything is meant for everybody, as Demi Lovato subtly observed about the unbearable severity of being

Wish me luck!

PS: Oh, the reason I’m tired is I’ve caught the ‘rona, after years of successfully evading it! I genuinely thought it wouldn’t get me, and now that it did, it strangely fits one of the main lectures life has been teaching me this year: that I’m not that special. There is great solace in that thought, odd as it seems. Now that I little by little am stopping spending energy on trying to appear special (to myself and others), I find that I can fucking get on with actually getting something done. Let’s go and get something done.

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