Underthecurrent


24 June, 2010 19:14
June 24, 2010, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m self conscious about this. About writing. So self conscious it took me years to get around to publishing poetry and despite constant prodding from professors, total absence from the academic arena

[Although part of this is because I don’t really believe in the academe as being something that worthwhile. Today’s academics are yesterday’s scribes. Genius does not require refereed journals for dissemination, if anything academia today lends credence to a lot of stuff that isn’t that worthwhile. And degree inflation is an increasing problem – why is a Masters required for the kind of rigourous study that should make up a Bachelors? Because Masters equals money, for both the professor and the school. The only one who loses in the equation may be the student – but this is all open to debate.]

But back to writing. Just because someone’s writing is sort of cliche and overwrought, that doesn’t make it inauthentic, it makes it… annoying? I’m not a writer, but I write a lot, I guess, periodically anyways, and I worry my voice is too bland at best and annoying at worst. This comes up when I read a particular travelogue of someone I used to know, whose writing style is simultaneously raw and not very self aware. The sort of zero-sum stuff that feels pretentious and embarrassing in retrospect. It takes one to know one.

I’d like to put together something that I felt comfortable sharing more but I’m not sure that will ever happen. Hilariously, the other week, my technically non adept mother mentioned she found blogggin, I forget the exact phrase, but it was something like narcissistic. Then she looked at me with wide eyes and said “wait, you’ve never had a blog, have you?”

*

This year may go down as the year a lot of people I know stopped drinking or admitted drinking problems. Through my life I’ve known so many people with substance abuse issues that I don’t react to it in absolutes anymore. As in, I now believe, controversial as it is, there are sort-of alcoholics, and full blown raging ones. I think there are some people who should never get involved with hard drugs, some people who develop unhealthy flirtations with them for awhile, and some people who can step in and out of that scene as easily has changing hair colour.

I may take a lot of crap for this, but one common thread I’ve found among people I’ve known who tend to develop debilitating drinking problems is incredible selfishness. Not all, but many. Whether it’s cause or effect remains an open question, based on the variable prefrontal lobe effects of long term aggressive alcohol consumption, but the result is consistent. It’s why, for me, it’s hard to stamp “disease” on the thing and call it a day, it absolves people too much of the ability to make choices. Typically, the drinking problem personality I’ve met is golden and gracious when they’re not being self centered, almost magnetic, but whenever life is even a little hard lapses into a mode of thinking lacking any self reflection. They ruminate endlessly and become relatively unable to have interest in anyone outside themselves. Of course, it’s possible I attract a certain kind of person and no generalizations are without exceptions, but the similarities strike me over and over again.

(I think for most people cognitive behavioral approaches are an option. It’s why people can be happy in places with relatively difficult circumstances – framing, reactions and responses. It’s also why desensitization is so profound in treating and managing anxiety.)

Everyone needs different things in life, we all cultivate our own fields; each has it’s own characteristics. I remember driving with my grandfather where he would pull over and point out, as a result of the scrub in the ditch, the likely quality of the soil, how easily it would produce a certain kind of crop. You can’t change yourself anymore than you can change dirt, but you can fertilize your mind in preparation, recognize capacity and plant the right crops, consider rotation to provide rest, and pray for just the right amount of precipitation. Luck and rain, luck and rain.

Smoky Robinson – The Tracks of My Tears

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