I’m posting this just to bring a bit of light to the situation. I’m more or less leaving the ‘sphere out of personal reasons, namely I finally admitted to myself I need to spend more time putting what I’ve read about and thought about into personal practice.
One thing about Game is that you have to master how to socially interact first. Truth be told, since I kicked weed and psychiatric meds a few years back, my life which used to be filled with a large circle of friends and lovers has essentially shrank down to nothing through the attrition of time and my own personal demons coming back louder than ever.
I’m pretty much worse off than when I first started. Before I didn’t have a paralyzing fear of going out and meeting people at least. Drugs did a real number on me. It made the whole people thing a lot easier. Once I got past my initial awkwardness and fear, my talent as a natural raconteur, wordsmith and vocal mimic made jokes, storytelling and off the cuff lyricism flow like water, and I got a lot of people to enjoy my company and I enjoyed theirs. I was involved in performance poetry, lit mag publishing and acting in and writing for student films.
It was all enabled by copious amounts of marijuana and perscription mood stabilizers. This came at the cost of lowered mental functioning and creative ability, anorgasmia, and weight gain. It seemed worth it at the time. Then grad school started. I needed every spare neuron in order to master the intricacies of reading and speaking Japanese well enough in order to do my research, plus my job at the time required quite a bit of attention as I was digitally repairing damaged books and art prints. That coincided with me losing my medical coverage. I decided to kick both habits at once and get a clearer head.
Immediately the old demons started coming back to fore. Immobilizing depression alternating with waves of blithe energy that generated hours of writing and research. Alienating mood swings where I would get into rages at seminars and walk out of class. And most of all the fear, the fear of going out of seeing new people, of even speaking for fear that all my eccentricity and mercurial behavior would drive people off instead of enchant them.
I had developed enough control and ability to carry on my work, and in fact harness the insane energy and ability to make wide ranging connections between disparate data points to do some groundbreaking research. My inability to socialize properly and my own feelings of inadequacy were what made it impossible for me to follow up on it and get the Ph.D, despite the fact that if I pushed for it, I probably could have gotten the free ride. Either way, I think more grad school would have been worse for me in the long run, and despite the fact that I’m proud of my research findings and loved what I studied, I consider grad school a mistake, instead of going whole-heartedly into the creative arena or finding a real trade.
I assed around for a year and then went to Japan, which was a lot of fun and very illuminating on a whole number of levels. In Japan is where I got into the whole Game blog thing. Still, I didn’t put any of it into practice. I guess I was too entranced by finally being in Japan, a place that had enthralled me since childhood. During this time, however, now that I had free time to read and write what I pleased instead of the historical intricacies of Meiji to Showa Era Shinto, I found I could no longer write poetry and fiction was a painful drawn out process rather than effortless and joyful like it was before.
It was only a few months ago when I finally put my finger on it. I need people and a healthy social life in order for me to put my visions to the page. People to read and critique, people to laugh or groan, people to *react* period. It was the physicality of their presence that fueled me in those days.
There’s none of it now, and if anything I’m worse than before. I’m gonna have to do it without drugs this time around. I know it’s possible. I’ve been able to hold a job and not attract negative attention through sheer self-control. I also know that many of the same things that haunt me when harnessed correctly make me desired. The intensity, the improvisational ability, the humor and impromptu uninhibited desire to turn something mundane into a piece of pointed social art.
The key is to break through the fear and malaise, to initiate without the terror of misunderstanding and rejection. To stop fucking shoegazing in my room while reading Game blogs and thinking “Dude, you can do that, you can do that without even thinking about it or analyzing it, in fact you’re restraining yourself from doing that. You could be a player if you wanted.”
I don’t want to be a player in that sense, however, as my aspirations go far beyond getting laid (though it’s a nice thing no doubt). I want to be grand and creative. I want that feeling I had, spinning a yarn where everyone was leaning over the bar, saying “and then what happened?” when I pause to drink.
Of course I’m no longer in college, and even when I was in it, writing is still a very solitary and quiet pursuit. It’s just then and there, you have others who do it as well with dreams and aspirations of their own. You wrote, you shared, you performed. As an ostensible grown-up it’s much damn harder to find that sorta camaraderie, and even if you do, there’s a certain lack of purity and energy that’s lacking. Writing stories and verse is simply something that doesn’t fit very well in this world of adults.
There are, however, other places.
I never got into music when I was young. Most of it was my sheer inability to focus long enough to practice and my own bad attitude. Some of it however, was my father. My dad is a musician. Not one of those dabblers. Like a bona fide gigging recorded musician. He can pretty much pick up an instrument and get a feel for it pretty quickly. When you’re a kid, there’s nothing more discouraging than playing something ineptly for your Dad then having him correct you by picking it up and playing it better than you did. Granted, it was to show me how to play it better rather than show off, but you know how it is when you’re a kid. In any case, it would be impossible for me to ever be as technically good as he is, just through sheer genetics and time investment. But it also illuminates other things as well. Despite being shy and socially awkward himself (though of a much different type than myself) he’s never lacked people, due to the fact he’s a performer. Music is something that a person can cultivate their entire life. On the plus side, one can still write and do it as well, and he admittedly can’t write lyrics so that’s one thing where I’m better than him.
So when I picked up that ukulele and started strumming it, I felt a lightness and joyfulness I haven’t felt since I left Japan. I also saw a way out of my problem. And I felt the first honest stirrings of poetry and fiction for the first time in ages. Of course the thing is, I’m still a long way from getting good enough to play on stage, much less compose something new. But it is getting me out. And that’s the big thing.
And between the constant practicing, writing and attempts to bring vitality back to my life, I must bid the world of the net adieu. It’s not that I’m disenchanted with you. I just think it’s high time I start putting ideas into practice. And that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Seeya when I seeya.