Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Another taste

It’s like I said, I want to believe in something. It’s just that there’s nothing out there to believe in. Nothing that pulls all the madness together and wraps it up in a nice little package, with an attractive little red bow. Nothing that tells me how God can love a healthy child born in to a middle-class suburban family, a child born with cancer, and a child born into a war-ravaged country, all equally. How can a God allows the routine slaughter of innocents claim to love his creations with all his heart?

When a parent tries that game, he goes to jail.

When a father explains that the reason he killed his son is because he loved him, he goes to the electric chair, or he goes for psychiatric evaluation.

God is a mass murderer.

God is a psychopath.

But no one can hold him to it, because even if he exists, you can’t track him down. You can’t drag him into court or drop him onto a sofa in a psychiatrist’s office.

If God exists, and if he’s nuts, well, he’s still in charge of it all.

There’s a madman at the wheel.

When you come to that conclusion, as it’s the only conclusion you can really come to, I assure you that it’s a whole lot easier, and a whole lot safer, to just believe in nothing at all.

Which is to say, simply stop believing.

God goes into the closet, along with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming, and Happily-Ever-Afters.

But when you grow up with faith – and not just faith in God, but faith in all that stuff – every time you lose a little bit of it, you get left a little emptier inside. It leaves a hollow little hole in your heart, or in your soul, where dust and cobwebs collect.

And as the years go on, you keep losing more and more. And the hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

There is no Santa Claus, the hole gets bigger.

There is no Easter Bunny, the hole gets bigger.

There are no good guys or bad guys, just different ideologies, the hole gets bigger.

God doesn’t love you any more or any less than anything else in the world, including children with cancer, and flattened cats on the side of the road, and dead 14-year olds in high school cafeterias, and the AIDS virus, and hepatitis, and algae, and sub-atomic particles.

The hole gets bigger.

Pretty soon, you start to feel like all that’s left inside is that hole, and you wonder if anything will ever start to fill the hole back in again, or if your life is just going to be spent listing piece after piece of yourself.

I’m smart enough to know that I’m not old enough to be sure. But I’ll tell you this: It’s not looking good.

It’s not hard to imagine some future version of myself, aged and bitter, and sad and lonely, with my insides so hollowed out that I can’t feel anything at all anymore. There’s no joy or sadness, no love or hatred, just blank indifference to any and everything around me.

Dead on the inside, just waiting for the outside to catch up.

Just waiting for the body to figure out what the heart already knows.

That there’s nothing.


Nothing worth believing in, nothing worth fighting for, nothing worth dying for, nothing worth living for.

That we were the ones in charge, that we were the ones behind the wheel, that we were the ones given an empty canvas, and what we painted onto it was brutal and red and violent and angry and perverse. That we are the masters of our own destinies, and as those masters, we have damned ourselves to hell.

And that hell is this: Life in the 21st century.

So yeah, it’s fair to say that I wished I could believe in something. Take my word for it, believing in nothing at all is no goddamn fun.

The blog's been kind of vacant lately, so I thought I'd make up for it with another chunk of the novel, taken this time from the portion that I wrote tonight.

Still working on it, technically, in the background, while writing this blog post, but I don't think I've got much of it left in me for tonight.

Current word count: 27,712.

300 more words to break the 28,000 mark and maintain my nightly average of 2,000 words.

I should be able to do that.

NIce surprise -- I thought I was further away than that.

I'm trying to get past the second-act jitters. The feeling that, having put out about 1/3 of the novel's total, it's only a matter of time until things turn sour. It's been going too well, too smoothly, too effectively. It can't keep going like this.

These feelings persist in spite of the fact that I have a pretty good idea of how it's ending (with one of two climaxes in mind -- one being more of an anti-climax, in some ways) as well as a pretty good idea of what's going to happen between then and there.

If I can get through this chapter, I'll be fine.

This chapter had so much stuff in it, so much important stuff -- the pressing on of the love-story angle, the revelation of the cult-leader, and -- the part I'm most concerned about now -- the cult leader's first chance at sharing his manifesto.

His well-oiled spiritual fantasies.

I'm not going to get to that tonight, thank God. I won't let myself. Because I need a clear head for it, and I need to start my evening's writing binge with it. I need to be on the ball, firing on all cylinders, and right now I'm not.

I wrote a good chunk of the manifesto in the car the other day. I wish I'd had a recorder with me, as some of it was pretty good, and I know with my luck it'll never be that good again. Or, if it is, it'll somehow not actually feel that good. It'll feel like a bad photocopy of the original idea, and I'll always kick myself for not capturing the first, pure moment of the idea's creation.

C'est la vie, I guess.

Sayla vee.

Back to work now. 300 words to go for tonight, if I can get out 300 words before it's manifesto time.



Sheryl-Lynn said...

This novel seems fairly bleak. I hope you have some ups to make the downs bigger?

Todd said...

Ups? What are those?

Honestly, I'm probably too stuck in the middle of it to tell if there are ups and downs, though it's certainly leaning heavily on the downs, of that I can be pretty certain. It's hard to uplift a character whose mind and body are kind of disintegrating from a lack of sleep.