The writing was good. The idea was good. The characters were complex and the plot was intriguing. The tagline was punchy and I could see it on the future cover. I could see the cover. Nothing wrong with the story nor even its execution on the page. Yet, there was no drive. Every day, going to the electronic page was like crawling through a trench while an impotent war was continuing overhead and my legs were pinned back by a shut bear trap…which is great for the illusion of a suffering artist but poor for the art. Writing is the gateway of life for me. While working on this particular project, I read less, was less interested in art, was impotent to get moving and felt no desire to do much else.
The lowest day was spent staring at the screen with plenty of ideas but no will: a priest before the wine who can't be bothered to do the transubstantiation bit. I was a Tory MP unable to rip off the poor, a salesman who couldn’t lie, a comedian without a tongue.
I was trudging through Hubert Selby Jr’s Requiem for a Dream, reading it at a glacial pace not because it lacked any urgency, or majesty, or even the pleasure for the achievement of taking the reader to worlds they may not have ever been to, but because of my state of mind. Not even feeling like reading it, but desperately wanting to, I took a bath and listened to a documentary about Selby Jr. While listening there were two things which were said which made the creative energy, which I believe we all have, linger longer than it had done in months. That energy had been dormant and no matter how many trips to my desk I took, it hadn't been moving.
The two things spoken about: a professor described Selby Jr’s work like a Hieronymus Bosch painting, and the second was from Selby Jr himself who said that Last Exit to Brooklyn was Brooklyn of the soul. Those two things broke through, explaining both how Selby Jr showed life which was both there and not, and that there was an orchestration of madness in his work, showing the chaos of life as magnificently as the paintings of Bosch.
Since those two points hit to something I wasn’t aware of, I stopped the project I’d been trying to work on and started something new. There are still the same old pressures of writing (mostly, time) but the flow achieved is as good as ever and the characters coming to life want to stick around. I want them to stick around too.
Inside of everyone is their inner monkey. The inner monkey is that eternal being the world doesn’t see, yet perhaps should. The inner monkey is the eternal being that flows with the least resistance, that gathers the nearest fruit, that won’t hunt at all. Everyone’s inner monkey has the capacity to evolve, not in the sense of a huge leap from primate to man but in the sense of moving from one caress of doziness to another.
When I was younger all my inner monkey wanted to do was play computer games. When I was older all it wanted to do was masturbate. It evolved again to wanting to play computer games and masturbate. Nowadays, all it wants to do is hang out with my girlfriend, read and play records. Nothing else. The inner monkey doesn’t want to work, doesn’t want to see anyone else, doesn’t want to walk, stroll, run, nor any other activity which deviates from its holy trinity.
More often than not, whatever vestige of a person is shown to the world has to have a talk with their inner monkey. The vestige of a person who has made friends, seduced others, had success and yearns for those good old things like respect and money has to have a talk with their inner monkey. It has to remove the bottle from the hairy hand and take the needle off the record to whisper, for you never want to shout at the inner monkey, and say: Hey. I know you’re having fun. I know your blood is like butter and your bones are like marshmallow but it’s time to tell you…it’s time to cajole you…it’s time to announce…you’ve got to create. For the pleasure not to become pain, for the rest not to become restlessness, for the desire not to die…you’ve got to create.
Sometimes the inner monkey listens.
ASTON. You said you wanted me to get you up.