What a thing it is to sit down and write every day.

I don’t know if it’s all that difficult, though I suppose it’s more difficult than most things. Then again, I think often and hard about whether or not it really is any more difficult than most things, and I suspect it’s really not — it’s just that writers have a way of romanticizing whatever it is they’re doing, making it seem as if it’s hard work, when it might not be.

I guess that thinking is hard work, in as much as most people don’t spend a terribly long time thinking about things at all during the day, except of course when they have to, and to sit there and get into some zone that they are not normally in, to tap into a kind of creative thrust or imaginative mode, that can be like work.

Then again, I also attribute it to a kind of daydreaming. And if daydreaming is, I find, not that difficult to get into, then the act of writing itself should not be that difficult to get into.

Each day, I think, I should like to get into something creative, something that sort of stretches me a little bit. Sometimes it’s a rhyme that I might write, or a song, other times a story, and occasionally it’s a tweet or a blog post. I do know that focused thought is sometimes hard to accomplish, and that may account for how unwieldy most art seems these days.

In that way, perhaps it is an accurate reflection of the way life really is for people, how disjointed their thought processes really are. Music and movies and television are fragmented, sort of piecemeal, because everything that people do is piecemeal. Nobody sits down now and reads a 700 page novel, for who has time for that shit, what with their work and their kids and their husbands and the other bullshit they can distract themselves with.

I don’t imagine that most people want to engage in any kind of heavy thinking, mostly because when they have time to relax, they are most likely looking to, in some kind of way, just escape. That is a theme and a thing that I need to keep in mind more, the idea of escapism.

I need to think of escapism more in terms of my own work, but also more in terms of what other people want out of pretty much everything. I suspect that creative and scripted content is so popular nowadays largely because of that — that people mostly want to escape and not have to deal, so long as they aren’t required to, with the real world.

Perhaps there was a time, and maybe that time itself was mostly the product of some kind of romanticized fictionalization, but there was a time, maybe the 60’s or 70’s, when people were politically-charged and socially-aware. Not that people aren’t now, just that it feels a little different than it once was.

There was a story in the news recently — a man had returned to civilization after being wrongfully-imprisoned for something like forty years, and when he got out, the first thing he said he noticed was how inward-facing everything had become. How everything had become about the self, the individual, the person at the core of the thing that was either happening, happening to them, or happening to others.

It was as if people had wrestled the central narrative of life, and how we are linked, and made it so that everything linked back to them. We’d gotten so selfish. Even when things were about others, we found ways to make them about us. That was a big shift. A big enough shift that he noticed it, and heck, he hadn’t been out in the world since 1970 or something like that.

That is a common theme, you see, in fiction and in storytelling; that of the man or woman returned, the person who comes back to some place they once were, some place they left, only to find that is no longer as it once was. And that experience, living through it, coming to know it once again, it’s powerful, because the reader or viewer, they too know what it feels like, more often than not, to go back somewhere they once left and no longer know it; or, at the very least, they should find it interesting enough to want to know what it feels like.

I’m not sure if that makes any particular sense, though I don’t ever hope that in these journals, should I ever read them again, that anything will ever make sense. I suppose that, in some ways, contentment made me, for years, not journal enough. And now, I journal almost every day, or at least enough days where it feels as if I am journaling a lot.

I don’t find it that hard to do, though it does take some effort, sometimes, just to sit down and do it. I don’t know why time is so hard to find, because it’s not like I’m doing all that much, but I do know that when I finally get to it, my interior monologue, that is, the thing that runs through my head pretty much all day long, seemingly pours out of me, like a waterfall or something.

I wonder then, because I am particularly cognizant of this thought process, if, by the process of thinking so hard about things, and constantly dealing with this ongoing narrative in my head, if I am not, in some ways, always writing, even if I’m not necessarily typing it.

I surmise that writing is, in many ways, just a written version of extended thought, or in some cases spoken storytelling, and that whether the words are being spoken out loud, or the words are being thought, we are always doing a kind of writing, even if the words are not exactly making their way onto a page.

It is as if, in some ways, there is always a tape recorder running in our heads, and we do our best to, at later times, go back and transcribe some of those experiences, so that they make some kind of coherent sense. For it is also true of thought, that it is not always very organized.

I suppose that the more organized one’s thought process is, the better their writing is, for conciseness of thought, of reigning in ideas and keeping them on track, that is the power of a great writer, of a great storyteller, no matter the medium.

We should always keep in mind the image that of the rambling man in a bar, the old guy with the long grey hair tossed astride a shiny balding head, telling wild stories, perhaps some of them even amazing, and how we often ignore him, not because of how he looks, but how fucking frazzled and incoherent he actually seems.

I never want to be that guy. I also, strangely, always want to be that guy.

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.