If Thoughts Were Random, We’d All Worship at the Altar Ego

I don’t quite know what to do with myself in the wee hours of the morning these days. In days gone by, I’d get up and write. But my bum spine/arm/neck/elbow conspire with my flagging creativity to turn me away from the “pen.” Pen sounds better than keyboard; more romantic, anyway. Instead of pounding away at the keys in the morning, lately I’ve gently pushed the mouse to maneuver the cursor around the screen and simply “clicked” on items of interest. There’s no creativity in that. There’s no sense of adventure in reading the words of newly-minted baby reporters fresh out of journalism school. But there it is. I squandered my productive years in search of my creative niche, only to find it filled with the quick-setting cement of advancing age. The most bothersome aspect of my disinterest in (and physical problems with) writing is the fact that it corresponds with a waning interest in things that used to excite me. Even my recent fascination with the concept of timebanking represents a muted version of the old me, the me who would have jumped all over the concept and sought out with rabid zeal anyone willing to listen to me speak of the idea. The new me—the me with a much-dulled interest in almost everything—wishes someone else would take the idea and run with it. Ach! Even typing these few words this morning is akin to swimming with lead weights attached to each of my fingers. If lethargy is a malady, I think I suffer from the terminal variety of the disease. Caffeine is doing nothing for me this morning. Perhaps I should try a shot of good whiskey. No, that’s not an option, as there’s no good whiskey (or bad, for that matter) in the house.  I feel as if I have discovered and moved to the mystical town of my own making—Struggles, Arkansas. I’m the proprietor of the Fourth Estate Tavern, Calypso Kneeblood. My brothers, Fletcher and James, are out in the world, one attempting to save us from nuclear annihilation and the other probing the darkest corners of our souls. I, on the other hand, am satisfied to serve pork congee and dark beer for breakfast to early morning customers who barely cling to sanity by the tips of their fingernails in a broken little town whose future is even more bleak than its past. These last few sentences suggest I may still have a little “oomph” in my writing chops. Maybe. Or maybe I’m just writing an epitaph about the death of creative thought. I should return to my little story about Struggles, Arkansas and try to write about how it changes from a fulsome existence to a place where there’s at least a shred of hope peeking out from beneath the detritus of ruined lives and wasted opportunities. But for that to happen, I have to believe Struggles, Arkansas wants to and can change. As long as Trump is in the White House—no, as long as the corpulent vermin lives and breathes—there’s no room for hope in Struggles, Arkansas, nor indeed in all of the earth on which we depend for our every need. I could write about his demise, couldn’t I? I could dream with words about his extinction when melting glaciers flood his luxury estate, drowning him in a sea of offshore oil unleashed by the icy currents. Or, I could practice meditation with which I cast off the ugliness of the world around me and focus exclusively on to goodness within and without. Yeah, that’s the ticket. And my blood pressure will benefit with the latter approach, perhaps falling to within the new “normal” limits.

If there were even a single piece of bread in the house, I’d make myself a piece of toast now. But there isn’t and I won’t. Instead, I’ll explore the depths of the refrigerator for something entirely unsuited for breakfast. That will take my mind off the collapse of western civilization for a while.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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