Writing It Down
by J. S. Watts
I have to do something to take back control of the situation. I’d say to reclaim my life, but that sounds overly dramatic and, increasingly, I’m finding my words are leaning towards hyperbole, which is why I know they are not really mine. When I could write for myself, it was never purple prose.
I’m going to write a few lines every night, even if they end up as just disjointed phrases. Writing is important. It’s what I was. Am. It’s what started this whole thing. I’m hoping that the act of writing, carving my own words slowly into the resistance of the pure white page, using the darkness trapped within the ink, will cure me and empty the blackness out.
* * *
It is watching me from inside. It senses what I am doing. I know that it knows, but I am carrying on writing; pouring this borrowed fluency in dark rivulets across the former blankness of my mindscape, the alluringly receptive plain of the pregnant page.
Too many metaphors clustering together, but then this style was never mine. I shouldn’t have borrowed it. Don’t want it. Have to give it back, but it won’t let go.
* * *
So, I’m back at my desk again. Writing. Still writing. The one thing that, for so long, I couldn’t do. The thing I most needed to do, that I deserved to do, given all that I had sacrificed. The thing that made me seek help from where I should not. Pride and foolishness. I’ve paid the price. Oh, how I am paying and, now, others are paying too. The contagion has extended its reach. It is my responsibility to eradicate the infection. Make a cure. Be the cure. Purge it. Force it out of my system along with the words. These words.
* * *
Day four. The ink is still flowing, but I’ve not noticed any real improvement.
Each day I’ve pulled together enough of myself from the wreckage of the previous fugue to pick up a pen and write, but I can only hold it together for so long. Then I disintegrate again. The words shoot apart like oil and detergent. The blackness pours back in and I lose myself for hours, sometimes almost a whole day.
Things happen in the void. Bad things. Things my mind doesn’t remember doing, but my body does. Whatever is controlling my body does, I have to assume. It looks out of these eyes. Controls these strong hands. It must know and remember what it is making me do.
The only control I have is writing these words. These, my fingers. This, the pen they hold. And therefore these, my thoughts etched from the dark and staining the innocent blankness of this page. The only positive: I have written longer this time, produced more words to help empty it out, pour it out and push it back down into wherever it came from. At least I have hung onto myself for longer before...
* * *
...I am gone. I lost it again. Darkness took hold before I could even finish the sentence I was writing, but now I am back to being me for a little while.
Me. Me, and I am writing, always writing because I can, because I have to. The days when I wrote for myself, and then when I couldn’t write for myself, have gone. I wasted them. Let myself drown in the Doldrums of so-called Writers’ Block and then sought a life-belt in places I shouldn’t have known about, let alone visited. Places you find only amongst the abandoned shadows of dirty, dead-end alleys in the dark hour of night when you go out of your way to hunt for them, or they come hunting for you.
But I went there. And the words came flooding back, but it turns out they were not my words and they were not alone. Regardless, I enjoyed them, allowed them to fill me up. And I wrote. I wrote without hesitation, or thought, or sleep for days. Then I did sleep and, while I slept, someone acted out what I wrote. It turns out the someone was me.
It was there, though, and in control. Whatever it is. I still don’t know, but I know what it makes me do: bad, bad things. When I was writing I could sense it, hidden amongst the shadows cast by the words, in the silence between words. It is here now, despite my words and the growing length of my phrases. Any communication requires pauses, gulps of thought. And when I pause it tries to rise and seize control again.
Maybe length is not the answer to defeating it. Maybe it is continuitythatisessential.Flow.
* * *
Miriam would tell me to go and see a shrink, talk to someone, at least. She did tell me, briefly, but there’s no way I can tell anyone what I’ve been doing when I’m not here. And anyway, Miriam’s... gone.
* * *
Is this really achieving anything? When I’m writing, I convince myself that darkness is flowing out of me and onto the page, that I am slowly purging myself, but each morning when a new sun rises, it shines black inside of me.
Writing about the darkness doesn’t work. That was what I was doing at the beginning when someone, some me, acted out my words.
I thought the word-string, stream of consciousness flow might work, but I cannot write without at least an infinitesimal pause from time to time, and it takes advantage of that, and by then I am too exhausted to stop it.
A psychiatrist involves telling someone else about things and who would believe me? Alternatively, maybe they would. Which would be worse, given the things I think I’ve done?
Drugs and alcohol, just deaden me and give it greater control.
So what is left?
* * *
All I can do is write, but these words are mocking me. They are not mine. I sold myself just to spew out others’ words. The dim moon reflecting the glorious sun.
* * *
A full moon. Maybe its clean light can see into my filth, fill even the darkest, crud-stained corner with sacred silver. I have to find a way out of here into the light. I have to keep trying I have to, have to
Something has to work. It has to,
* * *
How much longer can I go on like this?
* * *
A last chance? Certainly a last weighted roll of the dice. I went back to where it started, to where I shouldn’t have gone, but did. There was nothing there. Just the filth of an empty downtown alley. I threw myself into the muck and mud, rolled in it, kicking and thrashing against my luck. Scraped skin and tissue bled into the filth, and I rubbed the mixture over me, into me, swallowing the desecration because it was cleaner than what was already inside. I’ve brought the filth back on my clothes, my hair, my skin. I am smearing it across this page to remind me, as evidence of what trails in my wake, to seal the words in so they can never get out again.
* * *
A day of repeated black-outs and no writing, until now. The words just wouldn’t come. The bad old days all over again. Have I done all of this for nothing or is it a sign that the false phrases are retreating? Leaving me with what?
* * *
I think things may have worked. Actually, I’m sure it’s worked. This bright blessed
Morning my words shine clear and unsullied. Polyphonic bird song lifts my spirits.
Slowly my thoughts are clearing, becoming mine again. I feel cleansed, refreshed.
The return to the place of beginning worked, undid the necrotizing rot and damage
I inflicted on myself. Last night I slept well, peacefully and without dreams. Morning
Light fills me up like crystal spring water. The shadows have abated. I didn’t
Leave my bed last night or sleep walk. There are no signs of me leaving the shelter of
Home or the vileness I have previously committed when my thoughts retreat. Never,
Ever again shall I risk my sanity and my soul. I’m clean once more. I know this to be
Reality with the conviction that knew my crimes. What I write, I know to be true.
Ethereal light bathes the words flowing from my unsullied consciousness. I’m free.
Time to leave these constraints and confront the world.
Copyright © 2018 by J. S. Watts