Above: On the Way – Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, 2013.
First of all, you should never be writing more than you read. On that note, go the fuck to sleep.
I’ve taken six naps today, what have you been up to?
Capitalism is a hell of a drug, given time. We work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and work and if you work hard enough?
Who has been the most places? Who has traveled many roads? Who can tell the most stories? Who has worked hard and who has worked smart and who has experienced all and climbed the ladder to freedom and maybe did something worthwhile on the way? It is all nonsense. Individualist masochism, shoving and pulling the hair of your victims, your friends, a roundtable of the screaming deaf.
Remember the gas station clerk. Remember the sixty-five-year-old nightly diner waitress. Remember every car you pass on the street. Remember every city in every state in every continent of the world. Remember your parents and your grandparents. Remember yourself.
I will never be the dad in a family movie who learns, through rigorous existentialism, to value his family over his work.
There is the woman and her field of grapes, with her dirty hands, and her possessions, her throat and her grapes ripped out by wolves. The son, his hands clumsy and his own sense of love stranded in an open field, finds nothing but his mother’s corpse which has been ruined by grapes and ruined by wolves who eat the grapes and ruined by his brothers who, unambitious for the sake of her vineyard and her labor, had left them to the wolves. The son left behind would see his brothers as the culprit, the brothers would think that of the grapes, and the police would blame wolves who didn’t have a chance.
On Twitter (an advertisement), you will think you have fallen behind. In movies (an advertisement), you will see a canopy with no trees and think there must be something I’m missing in those woods, something that gets me on the canopy before I am strangled to death by vines. And in doing this, you already forgot about the trees, the vines that they sprout, and why they want to strangle you in the first place.
I don’t know if I can ever enjoy writing essays. There is enthusiasm in fiction where I can wander, lose myself in abstraction and find answers or questions without feeling reality’s cold tongue against my cheek or its heavy hands on my waist. To write about real life is to write about despair. Whatever harmony there is in a cheap suburban novel is lost on me. There is no harmony here, Herzog said so himself. There is an ocean in each one of us, maybe, and in another lifetime that ocean has manifested itself into the environment. But I don’t know if there is any energy or willpower left in me to help it manifest in my lifetime.
To manifest! To feel irresolute about your productions or your endless, choiceless action is to have your own ego devour you. You are a body. You eat, you drink, you sleep, you love sometimes, some things, and you work moderately as “labor focuses the mind.” Or distracts it. There is no greater being to become by immense output. “Productivity breeds innovation!” But no innovation is worth the broken bodies or twisted spines paving its path.
To fear death is the work of a man’s ego. Fear of losing his power in the world, fear of losing his sex, his flag, his house of cotton.
Remember the hungry man still tossing his people food for the old dog.
Remember the last laugh you had.
Remember those kids all squeezing into the same booth at Waffle House, and how the landsmen complained, just to spit their acid out and laugh about it later.
Remember the moment you fell asleep on the road.
Remember that sad tradition of coming home again.
There will be another road trip, you think to yourself. And just then, traditions fade as you drift to sleep, that same sleep that you slept on the road before, surrounded by trees and untended fields of grapes.