Monday, 26 July 2010

No Sleep - Myth of Sisyphus

I'm listening to Blonde on Blonde on a warm rainy morning, after I cleaned the room and found about 7 socks under my bed. I love the rain, it makes a morning. I could do without it being so warm. I think I'm so warm because I've been moving about, and the hoover heated up the small room, but the window – as always – is wide open, and I think it's 17 degrees today.

I'm tired a little bit; I woke up around noon. I couldn't sleep again last night, it's probably the same thing I had about 2 years ago in Preston when I had a big manic episode that lasted about a month and I hardly slept or ate and I just got drunk and wrote. I wrote a lot of poems back then, most aren't that good, but I still have some in my collection now, which I'm still working on.

Anyway, I was crowded with thoughts and trying to write my first novel, which I couldn't do and it drove me mad. I kept looking into Naked Lunch and then into Catcher in the Rye, seeing how two very different writers can write so differently in the first person. I was stuck with this terrible terrible piece of writing I just couldn't have in the novel, so got rid of it, leaving me with nothing again, because I keep starting again. And back again 2 years ago, with my dissertation, which drove me crazy, and I re-wrote the whole thing at least 3 times. I thought, forget it, I'm not writing it simply because I'm actually not writing it. I was sat there staring forward, and then the bad thing happened.

There's a poem I've written called 12:24 am, in which I travel 35 miles to see a girl. I began to think about her. (Because it was written about a real person). I then found on my laptop old MSN conversations that had been saved somehow. I read over them and it was a terrible feeling. We were quite close. And now we're not. Thing is, at the end of the poem I write something about her going to Falmouth, this was our plan, to go together and do our Masters Degree down south, but we didn't. Now I've found out, not only is she getting married, but she has the same plan with that new guy. To move down south with him.

I wonder what would have happened if we had gone. I mean, the Masters I'm doing now has improved my writing so much, I'm much more well read, and I have some new friends. I probably wouldn't have any of that had I moved away because I would have been drooling over her all day, whining about her all the time like a lonely puppy. Such an idiot. Still, I was thinking about the other people I knew in Preston, and it depressed me to think it's been 2 years since I've seen them, and they're all split up anyway, since Uni finished and everyone went home. All scattered over England like seeds in the soil. One girl has gone to Australia. One guy is now in Canada.

I felt like doing a Rimbaud and quitting writing altogether. 60% of the time I don't get much enjoyment out of writing, it's just something I'm compulsed to do. However, people do say writing is a method of relieving stresses and things like that, maybe it's the writing that driving me crazy. I know I'm not going to quit, I'll always have the compulsion to write something, because I'll always think of it. I suppose I should get my poetry published and then my novel, and then I'll think about it.

I read over some of Albert Camus, who wrote The Stranger (L'tranger). This is one of his novels, in which he talks in relation about The Myth of Sisyphus. It is about the Absurd life of man, and the acceptance of the Absurd as something to support the idea of life or living a meaningless life. So, to accept your life is meaningless, you in effect, accept the absurdity of your situation, and thus you are free to be contented.

Sisyphus was a Greek myth who put Death in chains so no human had to experience death, which defied the Gods, and therefore, angered them. Death escaped from Sisyphus, and so he had to die. However, Sisyphus escaped the Underworld, but as the Gods were still angry with him, they punished him to push a large rock up a mountain, once at the top, the rock rolls down, and he has to start over again.

Camus uses this Greek myth as an example of the Absurd notion that life is, indeed, meaningless, but if you only accept that meaninglessness then you are freed to experience contented acceptence. Just as if Sisyphus would have acknowledged the absurd situation he was in, he would be have been fine. “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

I think Camus also made three examples of absurd people, or “The Absurd Man.” The Lover, one who is a serial seducer like Don Juan. He does this because he lived a passionate life to the fullest, as he recognises life to be short-lived.

The Warrior is the man who sees life and death as one thing, and chooses action over contemplation; he wants to engage in human history and become something after life by laying down his life for what he believes in.

The Actor, one who becomes a number of different personalities to achieve fame. “Appearing creates being.”


Gerry Boyd said...

well, that's some clear lucid writing right there. not sure why you're hunting in other writers while your own voice rings so clearly.

Cole said...

I agree Mike, I enjoyed reading your post. I appreciate your candid and personal story. Sometimes our passions drive us all a little mad at times, but by understanding our limitations and abilities we can keep ourselves balanced. As for your lost love, life didn't push you in that direction for a reason I am sure, it is your journey to find which direction to go in now, all the while as you said not taking life too seriously. Don't be too hard on your work, be free.

Take care