Today, I was walking around with an ice cream cone and listening to music and looking around at people and thinking.
Yes, this system we’ve created is absurd. It’s absurd, but it’s created out of confusion. Because if we stop and just sit with ourselves, all we’re left with is a whole lot of questions. What are we here for. Is anything real. Are we real.
A lot of the things we do are frustrating, but they are a life. And yes, I spend a lot of time thinking in my own head, but when I do, I hear a little whisper that says “this is your life.” And sometimes it aches. And sometimes it rejoices. And I always come back to this Faulkner quote, this quote alone is one of the reasons I adore Faulkner:
“You get born and you try this and you don't know why only you keep on trying it and you are born at the same time with a lot of other people, all mixed up with them, like trying to, having to, move your arms and legs with strings only the same strings are hitched to all the other arms and legs and the others all trying and they don't know why either except that the strings are all in one another's way like five or six people all trying to make a rug on the same loom only each one wants to weave his own pattern into the rug; and it can't matter, you know that, or the Ones that set up the loom would have arranged things a little better, and yet it must matter because you keep on trying or having to keep on trying and then all of a sudden it's all over”… (most places that cite this quote stop here, but it’s not over! That’s not all!) “and all you have left is a block of stone with scratches on it provided there was someone to remember to have the marble scratched and set up or had time to, and it rains on it and the sun shines on it and after a while they dont even remember the name and what the scratches were trying to tell, and it doesn’t matter. And so maybe if you could go to someone, the stranger the better, and give them something — a scrap of paper — something, anything, it not to mean anything in itself and them not even to read it or keep it, not even bother to throw it away or destroy it, at least it would be something just because it would have happened, be remembered even if only from passing from one hand to another, one mind to another, and it would be at least a scratch, something, something that might make a mark on something that was for the reason that it can die someday, while the block of stone cant be is because it never can become was because it cant ever die or perish” (127-128) from Absalom, Absalom
So many of our issues boil down to a fear of mortality. A fear of the unknown. And I’m not exempt. It’s so easy to intellectualize all of it, but I’m still afraid. Of being forgotten. Of not existing. If we’ve built a system that necessitates people be in pain for it to keep moving, we’ve built it to be Faulkner’s gravestone. We’ve built it to simultaneously distract ourselves and prove that we were here.
But who are we trying to convince.
Who are we pleading to be remembered by.
And I’m no better, I’m doing the latter half of the excerpt — literally running around hiding pieces of myself in bookstore crevices in the hopes that someone will find it and that my art will take up a little bit of their mind. Maybe it’s my way of fighting solipsism. Maybe it’s a distraction from a life none of us understand.
But this is it. We were all children once. We are all going to die someday.
This is our life. And it is a gift. It is a gift to be alive.