The Boxes

I think the ugly buggers are trying to kill me.

It’s like mud-wrestling with your past. Except the mud just piles up, toweringly stupid and spectacular in its sheer mud-ness, always intimidating, sassing back: “You’ll never take me down!”

So I’ve been fighting back. Because now I have the time and resources to torch the Piles of Sorrow accumulating over the past eight years, so I can move on to better things.

And I’ve had two other thoughts on my mind lately: Why March 1989 might’ve been a before-unrecognized personal breakthrough, and how the current death of conversation affects us all.

So, conversation. It’s dead. Now you can text, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, tweet—and that’s all bullshit. I’ll go to social media to catch up, maybe, but rarely converse.

It doesn’t help that small talk exhausts me—making it and hearing it. I want to go for substance every. Single. Time.

But that preference, I discovered, exhausts people. They fear the consequences of “a deep discussion.” They feel boxed in. Can you blame them? It’s the conversational equivalent of saying, “Hey, can you come over tonight and help move some heavy furniture out of my apartment?”

So maybe we need to find a way to reinvent the art of conversation.

Because some of the most delightful moments of my life were spent there.


March 1, 1989.

The journal states, “…this is a critical month. I’m likely to be annoyed if I’m pestered by anyone—family or friends [as] I’ve made some headway on pages of my script, but I realize that the process can bog down at any point—I can drop whatever I’m doing in the middle of a sentence—the smallest distraction pulls me away. It’s ONLY by a sheer, square-jawed force of will that I COMPLETE anything! I’m a willing victim of daydream or reverie—I know it’s important, but I realize how lost it all is if I don’t take vision from head to hand.”

I was feeling alone, writing that goddamn draft of a movie project I had no idea would make any difference to anyone but me. I confessed to the journal:

“I don’t know if my solitude is a curse or a gift—most of the married, child-rearing couples I know would kill to have my freedom and solitude—but what they don’t realize is what I make up for in ‘quality time for myself,’ I lose in ‘social skills’ with others. …it’s where your priorities lie.”

So, even then I had boxes unopened, un … inspected.


Now, now, now.

You can live in the past. Or even the future. But I’m convinced the past has answers to the now. I’ve just gotta slow down and listen to what it has to say. That might be an important step toward reinventing conversation.

And some of that past could be buried in a box.

If you’re curious, you might think, “What is this? What does it really mean?”

That’s a great place to start: curiosity. When it gets jucy, it fans out. It connects instantaneously with all the other parts of your life.

[I have no idea where this is going. Guess I’ll just keep going.]

So, I got curious again. Particularly about Thursday, March 2, 1989. I picked up the journal for that year and highlighted this passage:

“There are two worlds—still. One, the physical realities—work, car, snow, rent, telephone, etc.—all operating quite well enough on their own—but not necessarily in sync with the other world—the one that always has been and forever will be—in my head. That world is varied and vast, the world of the ‘Moon’ script (as well as other scripts—why do I do that? I’m supposed to be working on one thing at a time—Moon now—but I’m always jumping ahead in my mind toward some other scene or story idea). …I wish I would defer thinking about it for now and return to the project at hand: Moon!

Here’s the deal: The Muse Is Fickle.

And the Muse is super-jealous. If you’re “occupied” with another creative idea, she drunk-dials you in the middle of the night, chockful of crazy new ideas. It’s just how she rolls.

As a creative person, I used to let her run roughshod over me. And she (including the rest of the fucking world, I suppose) does her best to keep me distracted.

On March 8, 1989, of course it had to snow. Nearly a foot of it fell in Hopkins, Minn., where I was then living. Still, I was hopeful I’d finish the screenplay and be spending my 30th birthday that November in Britain. It was early enough in the year to feel hopeful.

Now, in late August 2017, that kind of hope would make me feel downright giddy.

Here, the boxes hulk in corners, closets, filled up with musty papers and photos of people I no longer recognize. I want all of it gone. But I don’t want to fall into despair about it either.

So I’m cheered by what I wrote back on March 12, 1989.

It was a Sunday. I declared to the journal that I hated them. Now Sundays are my refuge. That Sunday I went to see a film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit and wondered if my movie would ever be made. That day I visited high school buddy Theron Hollingsworth after he’d finished his DJ shift at radio station WLKX in Forest Lake.

We had a conversation.

You know, in person. Like humans used to do.

Then, later, I wrote in the journal:

“…the despair I’d felt all through 1987 and recognized in a different key in 1988 hasn’t held me in ’89 so far—there’s too many wonderful things to do—I feel I’m earning my wings and I want to be worthy of some future ‘inheritance.’ I don’t really know what I’m saying—I suppose in a sense I’m tired of taking ‘No’ for an answer to anything in life … it’s all too short for that.”

Amen, my young friend.

You just keep on digging out of those goddamn boxes.

~ by completelyinthedark on August 25, 2017.

One Response to “The Boxes”

  1. Reblogged this on Completely in the Dark and commented:

    Unfortunately, still buried in boxes. Returning to new CITD posts in another week, picking back up in 1989 and the second trip I made to England that autumn. Happy New Year, reader friends! MM


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