Monday, October 21, 2013

What 1000 abortions feels like (Taiga boards and reminiscence)

            In the weight of the ice lay taiga boards. Across the bluing sky lay the taiga boards. With too large, inflated hands I had to search for the taiga boards. Underneath the bluing sky the taiga boards lay

There they were. There I was. Taiga boards, taiga boards. Dripping with the sap mixture, dripping with pine sap and bone ash and metal shavings which worm their way into my skin when I touch them.
            The father’s rotting teeth wobbled in their hasty moors. Docked into the flash of his mouth and wobbling about in the turning tide of his mouth. I could feel the breath on my leather mask. It was not yet light out, the turning branches left scrapes of dark on the sky. Each rustle of air left cuts on my cheeks.

There they were, there it was. The taiga boards.
The father and the son, set out in the middle of the forest. The son’s leather mask chafed his face and the father’s teeth rattled in the moorings. Dacks of flesh where the yellow sat.

There was the son and the father and the things between them. A crippled cabin far set into the woods. His teeth were red from chewing betel, spit on the floor the floor too was a wash of blood. The son’s hands were large, a leather mask warped over his face, the catgut seams sticking out.

I have no one to blame but myself for this lack of entropy, this lack of energy.

The snow sat and sat on the house and over the house and in the crooks between the branches. Bent over the stove the son heated a wire which he used to burn off the growths on his legs. They came up in the bend beneath his knees. He would spend an hour every morning burning off the growths before he went out to gather the taiga boards. He would wait until the father would get up and out of bed and scream at him from across the room. He was always waking up drunk and smelling like the dust that gathered and burned on top of the stove after a good electrical storm. The son would always wish the father’s kerosene tank would get hit by one of the bolts. It was metal and high enough. It would set alight and pour down on the father’s bed and burn him to dust like the dust that gathered on the stove and burned. When the father would stop yelling, only then would the son go out to gather the boards. He would load up the cart.

An open mouth. Teeth tethered like rusting ships to a rotting dock. The voice and the stench from the hole were one and the same, the smell of those rotting teeth and the sounds it created just two modal expressions of the same idea. Days of this, from when the sun rose late to when the father had drunk enough pine liquor to settle himself into the molding pile of blankets by the fire. There was no weather, just sheet after falling sheet of ice which lay over the permafrost. Pine needles buried under crusts of blackened snow and under that were the precious taiga boards. When he ran out of money for the pine liquor the father sent the son out to collect the taiga boards, strapping a harness to the boy and a sled to the harness. The boy would go out - his body-sheet sticking on snags and the few rocks which were exposed – and dig the taiga boards out with his bare hands. It was not infrequently that patches of frost bitten flesh would blossom on his fingers and palms. These would start blue, then purple, then black and green, then a wriggling white as the maggots lived on it. When the maggots left - turning into the bottle flies which lived out in the stable on the horse’s asses - there would be little white pits where the living flesh formed a barrier. Soon enough the boy’s hands were cratered all around, a new kind of flesh which did not turn blue, or black, a new kind of flesh which was like a pitted stone and was good for pulling up the taiga boards.
 The boards had been buried in the snow. When the son would come back to their shack and the father had woken from his alcohol sleep the father would tell stories about the taiga boards and where they came from. Every story was different.
Once he told this story: The taiga boards were from the floors of the killing camps they had here during the true reign, fifteen or twenty years ago.
Another time he told this story: The taiga boards are from a walkway they were building to the far north, a way to move goods up to a religious station.
He told other stories too.
The son would wipe his leather mask down with mink oil before going out into the taiga to keep the leather from freezing to his face. The board would strap to his shoulders. The straps were bull’s leather and froze into separate triangles.

I want to write another novel. I want to start another novel right now. I want my days to be filled by this other world where things are as complete (no, more complete) then the things in this world. I want to build this house and live in it but it is like I have lost my tools. Like the only materials I have to build this house with are mud and shit. I sty to stack this as well as I can but it all just falls into itself and my hands are cold and wet and don’t work, will not build, won’t do what I tell them. I want to have something to point to every day and say ‘look! This is what I have done, this is a small piece of me which is now in the world. I’m not the kind of person that sits around and watched conspiracy videos on youtube all day. I’m the kind of person that is productive and writes novels har-ta-tar! and I can’t. I’m not doing this right now I’m just doing the youtube part which, honestly is pretty depressing. And It’s like I want to get over it, I will try anything to make it past this awkward point but I’m not sure where to start. I’m getting good sleep, eating well, eating good food, drinking coffee and I get about two hundred words and it just dies, or I get distracted by doing somehting else.

The darkness. There was only darkness really for all I could remember. The mask bit against my face when I went out into the taiga. Out in the taiga were the taiga boards. They were what we wanted more than anything, we wanted the taiga boards so we could make the lying down machines. I would gather the taiga boards after the father had fallen asleep. He would wake as the sun dawned its sliver of red light, those few precious moments before it settled back down under the horizon, he would wake in a start and start yelling immediately, screaming at the branches and the taiga boards. Screaming at the only thing which held us together here, the taiga boards. I think they could hear, the taiga boards, they could hear how we hated them. They knew we hated them, but that we needed them. These boards. ‘How did they know?’ You might ask, ‘Being Boards how could they know?

I sit down. I stare at the computer. I try to type something. I get up. I check the rice. I chat with my girlfriend. I watch a video. I search for someone I had a class with once or twice during college. I look at their photos, I look at their siblings I get up. I stretch my back. I walk around. I look out the window. I sit down. I try to type. I feel like shit. I can’t type. There is a block in my head. I look at the word count. Less than a thousand words. I start a new paragraph. It is different from the previous paragraph but about the same thing. I think back to what I was writing earlier this year. It feel like a different person. I chat with my girlfriend. I get up. I check the rice. I turn off the light. I sit down. I look up a video called ‘Strange creature in victorian sewer’. I get distracted. Twenty minutes go by. I get up. I make some food. I sit down. I look into where ‘Power Rangers’ came from. I watch the original Japanese series. Another ten minutes goes by. I look at the clock. It is almost four o’clock. I have done almost nothing today. I try to write. Nothing comes out. No. That’s wrong. Something comes out but it is awful. I want to throw it away. The music stops. I go to Pandora and click the ‘I’m still listening’ button. I think about going for a walk. I don’t want to leave because if I’m out walking then I am not working, not writing, which is bad. Half an hour goes by, I have written nothing. I think back on how if I had gone for a half hour walk I would have written just the same amount (zero words) but would have gotten out of the house for a little and might have some ideas for stuff to write. I look at more facebook profiles. I look at the two people who liked a review I wrote. They look like generic white people. I feel a little bad about calling them generic white people. I’m a generic white person. No, I’m Jewish, so I’m not totally white. Right? I think about ‘Darkness Visible’ Styron’s novella about going sober and getting depression. I remember how happy I felt when I read it. I read it the second day I lived in a house called the ‘Toy House’ in college. That second day I was in the house all alone, horribly hungover and surrounded by books. It was a few weeks before school started and none of my friends were around. I found darkness visible, read it more or less in one sitting, in one chair. I’m pretty sure the day started out sunny, and the sun had set by the time I finished. I don’t know why but reading that book filled me with this pleasure I have had only a hand full of times in my life. It was this totally free, unencumbered pleasure with no single source. There sort of pleasure used to happen to me about once a year but I have not felt it in a while. After I finished reading the book I lay on the floor and listened to ’22 Jazz funk greats’ while wearing headphones. The house was so quiet. I turned all the lights off and there was just this steady light from outside. Listening to that album all alone really freaked me out. After the album ended I went upstairs to sleep. I left the lights on because I was still freaked out by the album, but also I was probably just anxious from the last bits of the hangover (you know that hangover anxiety?) Then next morning I felt more or less normal, I think. I can’t remember that well though.

What if I can never write again though? What if that was my one novel, I wrote it, did the best I could, but for its sheer naivety it is simply unpublishable. And then that was it? I just have no more? Like what if I will never be able to link ideas like I did with BA? What if my mind will just degrade further and and further and I just never come up with anything as interesting as that (scary still is how uninteresting BA must seem to others, where all these little connections which were all inside my head are never demonstrated in the novel and so there is this whole chunk which is missing? What if that is the case? What if I am one of these people that just pops out the one and tries for years and years to recreate it and just never does? Just had that one little flash of creativity and then burned it out? What happens then? What do I do?

I just…writing just does not sound that exciting right now. As terrible as it sounds, but that is just the way I feel. Like those people at the end of marathons who want to finish, god they want to finish so bad, but everything within them is revolting against it, is just saying ‘NO! NO MORE! We are done and you have to deal with it’ That is how I feel. I want to be productive but each time I start it just fizzles out, is not enjoyable. How could it be that short? I hardly got nine months in. I got like three or four pieces published and then it’s like the noise coming out of a balloon and the balloon just sort of sputtering away and falling into a puddle of rain water. 

No comments:

Post a Comment