So occasionally this happens to me: I start reading something and begin to hate myself and the author with equal fervor. The process is identical across authors and genres. I begin reading. I’m struck by the brilliance of the writing. I realize there is no way I could ever touch that level. The hatred flows.
How dare they be so damn good?
How dare I consider myself a writer?
Logic much? Not noticeably.
The current object of enjoyment/hatred is Russell Brand’s “Revolution.” Argh! How could he have so much articulate smartass between the covers of one book?
Irrational self-hatred is a theme in my life much like yellow in “The Great Gatsby.” (One of the first literary bits which awakened self-hatred.)
For years I wrote off the manic intensity of jealousy as an annoying quirk. Recent events have caused me to reconsider. As I mentioned in A Declaration of War, I decided to take an unfortunate event and leverage it to the advantage of my dream of being a full-time writer.
Ten days into the experiment I can confidently report that the opportunity to pursue my dreams has left me standing frozen, terrified, and twitching. I feel a bit sick all the time. Going to bed looks good. Opening bills looks good. Taking the weed whacker to the back forty looks positively delightful.
I’m not going to say that self-hatred is causing my inertia. I’m not going to attribute my inertia to something else and then say that’s causing self-hatred. The chicken and the egg conundrum is one more way to avoid the issue.
Yesterday–Shabbat–I sat and read Ashrei during Mincha. Those of you who are familiar with the siddur know that reading Psalm 145 (Ashrei) is not exactly an unusual occurrence. Even those of us who pray sporadically know Ashrei really well because it is right there in two out of three of the daily prayers.
Yesterday, though, something struck me about. I decided the psalm comes in two sections. The first section basically goes to great length and employs extensive synonyms and parallelism to say that we should always be talking about how wonderful The Ineffable is and was.
Then there is a bridge. Malchutcha malchut olamim…Your kingdom is a kingdom of all eternities…
Following the bridge, the psalm talks about Divine assistance in the present and future tenses. My favorite: You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with its desire.
I realized one interpretation of the psalm is that the whole thing is talking about need and desire. The most effective approach to having needs and desires is to concentrate on the miraculous preservation of my existence to date. My job is to focus on that. The Universe’s job is to provide for me “in the proper time.”
I’m going to posit that my ability to pursue my dreams is dependent on an attitude of praise and wonder and let my actions flow from that space. Let’s see where this gets us.
Oh yeah–the picture accompanying this post: It is talking to me right now about how holes in a perfect object may simply reveal more depth. It’s all about perspective.