Well… this is kinda awkward… Why am I spending time publishing essays on a blog? Procrastination? Maybe. I am in the middle of writing a dissertation, have a novel manuscript to revise, and so much poetry to begin submitting (to say nothing of the academic articles I could be writing!). But mostly I’m worn out from composing editorial essays and social critiques in my head to just leave them there.
The words join together there in my mind and they merge with the images, and these together join with the emotions they all provoke. They skulk about in my mind, passing through neurons in an endless stream of held-back conversations, and the cumulative effect makes me want to run around screaming at the top of my voice, like my skin is vibrating with the energy of outrage and I can feel the heat of pent-up fury radiating from my core. It’s an intense pressure in my head, like my brain is pressing on my skull all around, filled past full with untenable distress. These days it’s come to feel somewhat like a multi-front psychosomatic guerrilla campaign, so it’s time to get these thoughts out before my skull explodes like Chernobyl’s fourth reactor.
It’s not that I really think anyone is particularly interested in what I have to say. Who the hell am I? Just some other white guy from the Midwest, by the looks of it. But, at the same time, over the years so many people who have read my work have told me (though I tend to think most of it is just people looking for something to say) that my perspective is unique, usually ahead of the curve and worth saying. And it’s never been only those who liked me or agreed with my arguments. A few months ago I was talking to a professor whom I quite like who, again, was telling me the usual lines about the quality of my thoughts and writing style, but she also pointed out that I have an ability to articulate opaque experiences in a relatable way. Talk about relatable articulation! That finally broke through, about 25 years after I’d started to hear these things, and it occurred to me that maybe all those people hadn’t all been bullshitting me.
But if I truly have any talent in me and if I have managed to cultivate any skills￼, then I have a duty to use them in the interest of as many people as possible. I’ve come to recognize that this duty is placed on each of us as human beings, but also that the possibility of ever acting on it is foreclosed for so many of us by the realities of industrial capitalism and entrenched systems of bigotry, so much so that the vast majority of us never realize that some of the weight they feel is this unrecognized duty placed on them as human beings.
So on the one hand, I’ve been doing a disservice to myself by believing that what I have to say doesn’t matter, and, on the other, a disservice to everyone around me by staying silent. Maybe I’m the only one who will read my editorials, but at the very least even that is a step toward rectifying the many ways that I have undercut myself and hidden away what is worthwhile within me despite the growing need for people like me to step up and do we can to help as many as we can. We don’t have to live like this, and anyone who realizes that has a profound duty to make for the helm to right this ship that threatens to capsize in otherwise calm waters.
I’m also fairly convinced that some of the things I say here could be helpful to others in their own development. I’m thinking in particular of what I have to say about my experience of the world as a neurodivergent, gay, queer man. For one thing I’ll be talking about queering genders and how that is different from sexual orientation. But more particularly my experience of AD/HD and what I’ve taken to flippantly describing as being “lightly autistic” (“just, like, a sprinkling, you know, a smattering” I sometimes add, making the gesture of sprinkling sugar over a lump of dough). I’ll also be posting about depression, anxiety, and trauma—for example, I’ve been crafting an essay in my head for several years now about my childhood experience of a kind of pre-traumatic-stress disorder, the experience of knowing I was gay and dealing in advance with the trauma of having to come out eventually.
Some of the essays and editorials here will infuriate you; others will uplift you; some may even motivate you; and still others will trigger that nod of recognition that passes between two individuals of like minds at surprising moments. Maybe one or two of these little essays might even help you navigate your experience in a more informed way. Any positive impact made in the right directions through these posts is justification enough in my mind.
At the same time, this is not self-promotion either. I’m not so naive to not recognize the risk posed by voicing an opinion from my particularly communitarian and egalitarian perspective: it will make me a target among many who are at the call of oligarchs, and thus any potential audience for my books will be limited. I don’t know why I’m doing this other than because people keep telling me to and because I feel this strange sense like I owe it to myself and to people whom I’ve never met and to many of those whom I have. So here goes. This is going to be one hell of a turbulent ride.
To start with, I’m going to post the essays that I’ve collected over the last month and a half after I finally started to type them out. Let them be a little primer to the posts to come.
I hope this becomes a place for conversations. Add your voice to a conversation, or help start one, by commenting and sharing your perspective. I know my ideas are not always as fully worked out in every minute aspect, that’s the nature of being human: I hope a robust group of commentators will correct the deficiencies inherent in my position with the strengths of your own.
Ps. Since I’m sure there’s some kind of legal bs to do with this, and I’m about useful CYA, all the views expressed in my posts are my own and should not be taken as representative of any institution, group or individual other than myself.
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