Almost two years into my current job and I have found myself slipping deeper into the abyss of the rank-and-file life. Time has become exceptionally difficult to manage, and with the work load physically taking a toll on me, the only time left for myself when I get home is being devoted to either my vices or to sleep (which in the context of a weekend, can be a luxurious vice in itself).
This loss of time – or mismanagement – has put a strain on my creative output. I feel less than before and “feeling” for all its dangers, has always been my reliable source of inspiration. Reading has similarly taken a backseat and I fear this change poses an even greater danger. Without the grace of prose and the consolation of poetry, my pursuit of a life of letters and of life itself is in jeopardy.
My writing has suffered greatly. My words, once sharpened by the enthusiasm brimming from an idealistic young man, has turned blunt with the hollow air of pragmatism, its edges softened by the anxieties of the modern world, its charge defused by shaky hands reeling from useless, senseless anticipation. It appears to me now lifeless as a gunned deer, majestic in death but its wild body spread on the grass, life bleeding onto the fertile ground.
Everything about my world now reminds me of a hunter, that with every re-coil of my legs, I fear some shadow in the forest’s recesses – a meeting, a Saturday shift, overtime, family, friends, grief – wait patiently to shoot the sprinting buck of my soul. Deep within, the battle is for eloquence. So many words have formed and flourished in my head but I cannot find the will and energy to put them down, arrange them as they should, savour the scaffolding of a draft, and give birth to the finality of a work. All my joys and pains – they simply linger, restless for they have not found their resting place as a whole; pointless as a memory to recall, a past waiting to be eroded by, who else, but time.
Now, more than ever, it is only the commute that offers a sanctuary of time. Between work and home, there is the traffic which suspends even a flicker of a second. Inside jampack trains and buses, and across the routines they ply, there is at least time, and the privacy of my thoughts I can jot down on any paper I can use – bus tickets, receipts, a torn page – or even on the canvass of technology. Bullet points. Words. Reminders. Afterthoughts. Emails. Objects useful when I finally return to the life of letters and recover the loss of time by rekindling an effort to finish a work.
But when will I return to it completely, and find myself bewitched by the charm I had discovered as an adolescent – that is the seduction of seeming immortality, the notion what you write could outlive you – to find myself immersed wholly in the grace of the life of letters?