002 | On Being An Essayist
I've woken up and realised I think I might be an essayist.
Am I about to become extinct, or is there a revolution around the corner about to happen?
I looked up 'essayist' on Wikipedia. I know, not exactly a reliable source, but good enough. One sentence says:
'Essays are commonly used as literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.'
Sounds about right. Something concise.
My attention has never been good—the idea of writing a complete book - intimidating.
Yet a book is a collection of chapters. For all intent and purpose, short essays.
Where it goes off the rails for me is fiction. Writing fiction is not a collection of short essays. Each chapter has to feed into and weave through the story, which defines the book.
That feels like far too much work. I am, by default, lazy even though I work hard. Put in extreme hours.
I'm sure there's an essay in there.
Something along the lines of 'The Struggle to Be Lazy'. I could lay the blame on Protestantism or asceticism.
Philosophies of self-flagellation. Doctrines of denial and self-abuse.
Not self-abuse in a pleasurable way, like onanism. No, not like that at all. Self-abuse in the 'I'm not good enough. I am but a miserable sinner.'
Pain and hardship are in. Pleasure and decadence are out.
What boring times we do live in.
Even the atheists and pagans who claim to reject the Christian god appear driven by its morality.
It is a twisted, anti-life morality forced on the world through abuse, pillage, theft and destruction.
All in the crusade of righteousness and being saved in the name of a human, no different than you.
I appeared to have meandered away from the discussion on essays and being an essayist. Instead, writing the beginning of an inflammatory essay. There's irony.
Ding, ding. All change.
I like the thought I have found my place within the refined literary world and neatly pigeonholed as an essayist. Am I being sarcastic?
I'm experiencing sensory impressions of tobacco smoke, opium dens, dark Victorian streets, smog and soot, pickpocketing urchins, prostitutes and flâneurs.
‘There were opium dens where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.’ Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Grey.
When I type essayist into Google, it returns a waterfall of depressing results.
All academic. All dry. All dead.
All focused on school kids having to conform to the authoritarian schooling curriculum that passes as education.
The Cambridge dictionary says an essay is: 'a short piece of writing on a particular subject, especially one done by students as part of the work for a course.'
Bloody hell. The literati usurpers have stolen a sacred art form and turned it into a damn coffin.
Ding, ding. All change.
My sense impression of the word is something that appears forgotten.
Didn't essayists incite revolution and compose lyrical prose that praises beauty, wonder, and mystery? Sing love songs and croon passionate poems. Explore contrarian and heretical ideas.
In the era of short attention spans, essayists and essays could come back.
Wrestle the art away from the boring grammarians who espouse neat protocols and dead words.
Let us enliven the essay with fire and passion, lust and desire, liberty and death.