Indecipherable metaphorical palimpsest: Letting go of past ideas

I’ve been here, writing at the top of a blank screen, three or four times already. You, reader, wouldn’t know that.  (Even if many people read this post, we read it one mind at a time. Each mind’s on its own, reading-wise, right?)

And I put an idea out there — that I write my journals so I can get ideas out of my mind, so my thinking doesn’t burden others by me telling them all of my ideas — and that’s an idea I had earlier today, and it’s sorta inert. By inert, I mean, it’s … it’s sorta done already. I don’t want to deal in done-ideas; I wanna have new ideas.

I want to write what I don’t know about already (even that’s an old idea). I had an idea a few minutes (and at least one start-over) ago that I don’t have to know where I’m going as I write, that I could really just be as open as possible to new ideas and whatnot. And then that thought seemed worth holding onto, until I realized I was holding onto it and by do doing, I was not being open and fresh and ready to receive new ideas — sitting on the cusp of a new idea.

Metaphors are inept, but then, so are all words. Words are not ept.

But I’ve been critical of words before, too. It’s New Year’s Eve now and I don’t feel very much like looking back or looking forward — I will say this idea that comes to mind from when I thought it yesterday: that I’ll complete my 40th year of living this year, and I had a feeling yesterday, as a salesman at the electronic store explained Windows 8’s “charms” to me (not the program’s charm, but its actual usable features uncharmingly called “charms,” apparently), that I am …

See, it doesn’t matter what I thought, because it was just a thought and it was fleeting, and so I can let it fleet. Also, a charms criticism reference made in 2013 is probably dumb, and so I’ll probably take it out, and if I leave this line in, this text will be hard to read — that revisability aspect of writing can make it some indecipherable metaphorical palimpsest …

And I’m now spiraling into meta-writing and personal self-criticism. Moving on.

So, you know, or should I say, just so you know, I reminded myself today that I don’t really need to feel old as I approach 40. It’s a cliche to think that turning 40 matters.

Someone recently asked me why I write things down — this was at our local diner and I had a piece of paper out and was noting things I heard — for instance, an older lady actually, unironically, used “crick” instead of “creek,” a typical Midwesternism — I felt I was documenting some actual usage. I told my questioner that it’s interesting to pay attention to overhearing others and noting some things, because it makes me realize how much cliche people use (myself not excepted).

And we use cliches and familiar expressions because these things can facilitate communication of meaning. An older man at the diner last week said, “I can’t say enough good things about” a local hospital, where (I’m presuming) he was recently treated, and treated well. I imagine this man trying to say enough good things … standing at a street corner and uttering praises, maybe as someone utters prayers. But that’s me, and I have a tendency to be what some call a “smart-ass,” and I take words apart as if words meant nothing, as if communication were impossible, but of course I’m aware of language weirdness but I also write as if language could convey stuff.

Eh, what are ya gonna do? I’ve also thought lately that it was … I don’t remember what it was that I thought lately. At any rate, it’s past, no? And I’m trying to stay present. I’m carrying on this monologue, straight from my brain-parts to your brain parts. Oh, here is my idea from a day ago: that there can be sentences whose meanings can’t both be true — say, “This stapler is made of metal” and “This stapler is not made of metal” and these two statements don’t try to resolve their discrepancy — it’s only within a reader’s mind that these two statements would feel/seem discrepant, and then we may feel we need to discern which statement is real (and if we’re gonna get technical, which, why not?, we might examine the definitions of the nouns and verbs above — what does it mean to be “made of” something?).

And yeah … I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s damned freeing to not know. To not-know may mean to let go. Writing piles up in books or online, or wherever, and nobody really needs it, probably. Sartre’s dead, my dad’s dead, and I’ll be dead one day. But those too are just ideas — hell, Sartre’s just an idea.

And now I’m boring myself. I’m at 800-some words. I could edit this down to make that last sentence a lie. I could take out every other word as a sort of avant-garde experiment. I could just publish this post in the middle of this sentence. But I didn’t.

 

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