Dredging for the internal obstacles

Monday, November 8, 2010

6:15 AM., but we’re off DST, so the sun is just below the horizon

I have been stuck in neutral since Neil left. Not because he left, but since. I don’t feel like doing anything. And yet it is conceptually so easy to finish this book. Why not do it? Guys, what robot is holding me back, here?

If you will stay in the “overwhelm” feeling, we’ll show you.

All right. It’s all too much? Too many notes? Too great a responsibility?

Keep dredging.

It amounts to the usual “I can’t do this” that I experience before anything new that I do.


And that goes back as far as I can remember.

No it doesn’t. You didn’t have it as a child. When did you develop/program/acquire/become captured by it?

When I had daydreams on one hand and reality on the other and couldn’t reconcile them.

Farther. It is rooted in competition.

I couldn’t compete at anything physical. Nor anything social: I didn’t participate, didn’t fit in, didn’t know the rules – and scorned it as kids stuff anyway, because I was living among adult stuff, or my understanding of it, anyway – what I was reading.

Stay in the feeling. You should have excelled at schoolwork – why did you not?

Rebellion. Un-sorted-out resentment. But – come to think of it – that wasn’t the first stage, was it? Why did I hate doing homework? Why did I put it off till the last minute, or get away without doing it, if I could? It had to do with being at home and not wanting to be reminded of school, maybe.

No, it had more to do with force-feeding.

Stuff I was made to learn though I had no interest in it?

Your life was not your own. This doesn’t mean that anybody’s life ever is, but you had strands within you that weren’t used to regimentation.

That’s right. The strands that responded to cowboy shows. Not the plots so much as the vision of freedom – freedom from ties and freedom to roam and freedom to be lonely – always an attraction there, for some reason.

That’s wandering from the point. Remember the resentment and the frustration.

Yes, I heard the word frustration. What is that all about?

What was frustrated?

My whole life.

Just so. Explore that, and don’t worry about coming to a conclusion. Stay in the feeling.

The disconnect between what I felt I was and what showed was absolute. I couldn’t act what I felt I was, and I certainly wasn’t treated as I felt I was. I was an old man in a kid’s body and emotions.

All this, remember, before John F. Kennedy was killed.

Oh yes.

So how did stalling on homework – and other chores – result from these factors?

“It’s not fair!” is what I hear.

Continue, staying in the emotion, or at least staying in touch with it.

I wasn’t getting what I needed or deserved. I didn’t fit in, and it was made plain to me that that was my defect, not that of others. Asthma I came to take for granted as a condition of my life. After mom rebuked me for saying “why me?” one day, I never again thought it, as far as I know. Certainly I never again said it. Too bad I didn’t know to ask it non-rhetorically, expecting to get an answer.

But it was your isolation and social ignorance that marked you, and your continual barrage of criticism from your parents.

And my continually fighting with John and Joe, too.

What about “it’s not fair?”

I wanted to be treated as I felt, not as I presented.

You wanted people to see you better than you could see yourself, internally, and not see what you couldn’t see very well, externally.

I suppose so. I certainly felt isolated.

So why rebellion?

Well, it wasn’t fair. It isn’t fair that somebody doesn’t get what he needs and ought to be able to count on getting. The only thing is, I couldn’t see how it looked, and couldn’t see that of course it was fair if viewed from a different time-scale. But that would be asking too much of a kid. My father certainly didn’t understand me. And I didn’t make any effort to understand him, either – nor did I make any effort to explain myself (even if I had known what to explain).

There was a sense of disconnect, too. I identified with Churchill’s life, and then with John F. Kennedy’s. I expected somehow to be translated into that kind of life – by making money from books, I thought – when I was “just a little older.” But there was never any connection now. And then when JFK was killed somehow I was killed, and the future was killed, and I still thought I’d emulate (re-create, I suppose) his career, but didn’t know anything about how to go about it.

I never felt I could actually do anything I wanted to do. There was never a practical link between my dreams and reality. I was trying to live – no I wasn’t. I started to say, I was trying to live my dream, but really I was trying to hold my dream against the time it would come true, but my actual life was dwarfed, meaningless, unsatisfying, purposeless.

So where is your incentive to accomplish anything?

Oh, you don’t have to tell me. I knew long ago that the only reason I could write editorials fluently and well is because I didn’t care about them. If I had cared I would have locked up as I did when I contemplated my novel. Individual editorials I could and did write excellently, but the form was merely writing on water, so it didn’t paralyze me by its importance.

Sound familiar?

Oh yes – but that doesn’t automatically unlock mechanism.

It does if you re-save the files changed.

Well, yes. So let’s say this. When you see me engaged in matters that seem to you important and in fact potentially transformative, it is not appropriate (if it ever was) to say, “that’s too big for you; you’re only…” Instead, use your discernment to help me keep an eye on my audience so that we may do our best.

That should do it.

Yes it should. Congratulations.

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