Please throw away your old receipts, bank statements and high school report cards, but never, never –NEVER throw away your old love letters, your diaries and that literary garbage you couldn’t publish when you didn’t know better.
Because I heeded my own advice I’m not stuck trying to figure out what to write for the second tangential story arc of House of Dyes.
So here’s the deal, I started struggling with insomnia when I was seventeen.
After doing my homework and everyone was asleep, I’d sneak into the living room and turn on the TV. Because of a standing ‘no-TV-on-a-school-night policy, I’d mute the TV and just watch the pictures.
Now this wasn’t a surefire remedy for my sleeplessness, but when it worked, Oh, there was no greater satisfaction than waking up with a cramped neck and seeing the TV on static. It was as erotic as it was scary.
At seventeen, I felt infinite, the future was still a secret, I could be the things that dreams are made of. problem is, all I had were nightmares… so I started writing them down as short stories, satires, parodies, whatever.
As some form of experimental therapy; a kind of running commentary for the things that scared me — that is the main theme of everything I write — I write the things that scare me.
I think that’s what any art should encompass — upsetting people, not in the literal gross-out sense, but in a way that makes people poke holes in the vacancy they call their humanity (or sanity, or both).
I wanted to write about my sleeplessness and my fear of the dark and my loneliness, but I couldn’t quit finger the context, or come up with an interesting enough premise. So it got me thinking, what if?
What if in the story I was blind? What if, through the muted TV, I could glimpse at deaths before they happened? What if one day I saw my own death and no matter what I did I couldn’t stop it?
I tried to write about my own precognition. Problem was I knew nothing about being blind, and no matter how hard I trained and simulated a kind of blindness by closing my eyes and walking around, stumbling into stuff, it wouldn’t come out how I wanted. I knew nothing about precognition, and was too caught up in academia to figure it out.
I wasn’t deterred. I wrote a couple of pages. They were horrible.
I put the story aside and promised to never return to it, but I did — like eight years later.
A lot hasn’t changed, for one I still struggle with insomnia, I don’t know how to deal any better than when I was 17. I don’t have the forewithal to go stumbling about in open fields trying to simulate a blind experience, I don’t know much about precognition outside the little bit of writing I’ve done on the subject of haruspex, am not even sure if that counts.
The main thing that has changed is I don’t need permission to write it, and am not as afraid of confronting the question of mortality and predestination, mine or otherwise, as when I was seventeen.
I don’t feel any more infinite than I felt when I was seventeen, thing is I don’t need to. That’s what gives me the forewithal to write this story the best way I can — as an attempt to breach the bounds of infinity…