Once again, I have nothing.
And while most of my favorite bloggers would rather keep to themselves these annoying and now-repetitive admissions of failure, here I am nurturing the frustration and feeding it fat for everyone to read.
Critic Anis Shivani writes: “The individual fiction writer would have to be strong enough to take the moral offensive against writing that deludes the reader into thinking that his private ignominies are worth celebration and memorialization.”
I’m not a fiction writer — I exclusively write on this blog — and neither am I imploring readers to celebrate my ignominies (at least not explicitly, I think, because the desire must be buried deep within the cumulonimbus clutter of my id; charot lang sa id). But I do agree with Shivani’s stance against the current setup in which “no coherent narrative is possible…except the narrative of the private self, cut off from external nourishment.” Ganda ampota.
Shivani profiles the contemporary writer as “vaguely liberal” who “doesn’t have a grasp of politics” and is scared to write “anything offensive to any constituency.” He also confronts the fiction writer’s “denial of language’s possibilities…daring into no unpredictable verbal territory.” And he says this too, which I will quote at length in case nobody feels inclined to read the entire piece:
“Then what is fiction for? To write one more time about the sister who suffered abuse at the hands of the father, the mother who goes not gently into the night of Alzheimer’s disease, the husband who philanders and the wife who refuses emotion? One more time, in the same toneless, placid, paternalizing style, dotted with little points of light that threaten to emerge as dire epiphanies?”
Hay, Mang Anis. Same dude who once spoke ill of writers like Amy Tan and Junot Diaz. Often I agree with him, sometimes I don’t, but I generally echo his sentiment against encouraging writers to wrongly believe that “every insight is valid” and celebrating them for being apolitical as if neutrality isn’t already a political statement on its own.
So now, tonight, I write this mema post because I am burdened by some emotional weight. Some nights I feel down and sometimes I write about it. But sometimes, like tonight, I don’t. Because sometimes, like tonight, I am not in the mood to verbalize and give shape to these amorphous monsters. And sometimes, like tonight, the weight is unbelievably heavy that I’d rather think of something else, do something else, be somewhere else.
So tonight I essentially copy-paste what Mang Anis already wrote, at the risk of doing what he very clearly detests. And maybe tonight — after years of trying to take care of my already fragile pair of lungs — I might go out for a smoke. #