“What would there be in a story of happiness? Only what destroys it can be told.” André Gide
As much as we all hate clichés, I believe clichés are clichés for a reason. I abhor having to use one here, but one cannot deny their power in describing the world such as it is. All of this is to say that there are basically two kinds of people in the world, people who hope against hope that happiness is real and can be had, and people who have abandoned all hope – in other words, miserable people. We call these miserable people ‘writers.’
Fortunately, writers tent to be quiet in their personal interactions but what often passes for quiet introspection is actually a cauldron of rage and pain that typically vents its volcanic fury at the keyboard. Writers live in a constant hell that we don’t complain about for fear of being too obvious, choosing instead to create fantasies out of our misery so that others can participate in our dark inner world. Cliché number two: Misery loves company. Writers know, however subconsciously but sometimes overtly, that happiness is ultimately an illusion and therefore resign to destroy it by projecting nuclear destruction through our fingertips. Consider if you will how much the average consumer hates a happy ending. This is simply because despite everything, reality cannot be denied. No matter how many stories are created to obfuscate the horrible truth, everyone knows that even if the man and woman ride off into the sunset together, the Sun will still explode someday, even if that someday is billions of years from now.
Writers do not intend to be the way they are; it’s an ‘either you’ve got it or you don’t’ kind of thing. None of us are born intending their soul to be so black no light can escape, and a black hole cannot simply wish its nature away. And being born of rage and pain naturally must feed itself, so writers look to the darkest corners of what humanity they have to try and find a out. It’s a losing battle to be sure, but no one can live a life of utter truth and bear to take another step, let alone get out of bed another day.
Fighting the losing battle is probably what wounds the most and makes writers even more furious, mostly at ourselves. But the ego must find a way for our bodies to survive – writers are biological creatures after all – and so we create alternate realities of better and worse to channel our energy simply to avoid exploding. If this sounds overly pessimistic, maybe it is, but keep in mind a writer is saying this. It’s just that if you think about the most positive stories there are, those stories ultimately rely upon hope, the only possible salvation. There are no stories about the sheer beauty of a moment because moments are fleeting. (I apologize for letting the cat out of the bag if this is news to you; I have just flagrantly disregarded that quiet agreement among all of us not to say that.) If there were ever such a thing as a happy writer, that would be a writer who tried once, felt themselves getting too close to the truth, got up from their keyboard, slammed half a bottle of Jack and never looked back.
You can’t make a writer happy; they are a hopeless lot. Fury, rage, pain and sorrow – these things are in our nature. I’m fond of paraphrasing the beliefs of the famous occultist Aleister Crowley in regards to writers – do not make a man go against his nature or disaster will ensue. Okay, maybe it can’t get all that much worse for a writer, but by allowing us our craft you keep the pin in the grenade by letting out the pressure a bit at a time. Any happiness, any small, momentary victory in whatever form it may take may serve as a temporary respite, but no nurturing can overcome the nature of a writer, which is wrath however subtle. You can show a monster kindness, but this monster will respond by figuring out a way to tear you to pieces while cleverly making you complicit. This is the best a non-writer can hope for, this hallmark of a ‘good’ writer. And there it is again, the word ‘hope.’
If there’s anything writers themselves hope for – or should hope for – it’s a worthy ending. The end matters since what we want is an end to the agony. We’re already filled with an infinite sorrow inside, why make it worse? Nothing pains me more than when I rush an ending or get it wrong; I do it so often I sometimes feel someone should flog me. Perhaps that is self-loathing manifesting itself, forcing sequels out of our heads because writers are nothing if not masochists. Perhaps there is no such thing as an ending? This should be considered; there are no endings, just beginnings of ending. The ultimate end, the grand finale, only comes when the Sun explodes. So until the Sun explodes, well, I guess my brethren and I are just going to keep writing, exposing and sharing our pain, and hopefully ripping you to pieces while we do it.
All Rights Reserved © March 2017 John J Vinacci