Soul Sucking Literary Suicide.

It’s been a year. Twenty Six posts. Roughly twenty six thousand words.
Half a novel.
Each entry a tiny sample of things running past and present in my head.

The sentimental crap, easy for me. Most people will tell you I’m a softie.
On the other hand, I’ve had a really difficult time writing humor.
Humor is based on quick whit. A sharp tongue.
Unfortunately my processing and delivery is dull.

So I’ve concentrated on stories that have some sort of punch line, some sort of ethical kernel. Something small, added up, that makes our crazy ass lives just a bit more meaningful.
Its been therapeutic.
Maybe not for you. Maybe not for anyone else, really.
But for me, it helps keep my head on straight.
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I had a Professor once tell me “is what you’re trying to say really important?”
In the grand scheme, not at all. And it hurt digesting this as truth.
That comment resonated for awhile.
Taking it personal, it kept me silenced for years.
But that wasn’t his point.
More so: make words count.

Therein lies the art of the Aphorism.
Like this one, by Henry David Thoreau:
“How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.”

Since my discovery (or more so the stumbling upon), these little bursts of info offer a quick impetus.
Those lines of witty common sense that punch you in the gut.
You think, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that.”
Or, you simply get chills from it being such an honest selection of words.

It’s real life in a nutshell.
Maybe more so a land mine of knowledge.
When read, it explodes.
Instead of death, you’re enlightened.
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For post number Twenty Seven, I was going to call it a day.
That was my original plan twelve months ago.
Write for a year. Write short stories that were quick to the point: an extended aphorism.
In retrospect, to be able to look back at a collection of hundreds of hours spent on something tangible.
To feel a sense of productivity.
Then go out with a bang.

But to get there, I suffer this:
Every week, sitting here at my computer.
Tapping regurgitated notes that, for the most part, never make sense.

Hours getting pissed while brainstorming, putting myself into a stupor, having to hide my shitty mood.
The writing, the rough drafting.
And then the dreaded editing process.

It’s something my wife and I have fought over for more than a decade.
Her: an editor by trade. A word surgeon. An amputator of language.
And me, the amputee who despises seeing his words bone sawed.
To watch them disappear into the digital ether.
Its torturous.
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This past weekend, I took a few days to visit my brother in Manhattan.
A seven mile island, it’s a massive city condensed.
Functioning.
Efficiency in motion.
I felt the pressure to produce something.

I’d wake up early in the morning to read, in hopes to get some sort of inspiration. To search for that ignition, that spark of subjective association.

Meandering through the city by day, I’d post up late night, jotting away, filling my notebook with jumble.
Nothing came to fruition.
Just pages of nonsensical anecdotes.
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On Friday night I took a break to visit the MOMA. Its seven floors packed with tourists like myself.
The others; a mash of stuffy, suited old men, and droves of fine arts students, chasing the dreaded hipsters posing as museum docents.

Wading through the fog of pretentiousness, I did my best to appreciate High Art.
I know little about it. But I know what pieces conjure an amiable feeling for me.
In particular, the works we know to be arduous.
The ones most time consuming, the one most soul sucking.

The hall opened up onto The special exhibit. A collection of long dead Post Impressionists.
And in the center, like a beacon summoning aesthetes, was The Scream.
One of four versions by Edvard Munch.
People crowded the painting, its glass visor reflecting dozens of camera flashes.

On the canvas, the artist’s strokes, thick and heavy, as if executed with a crayon.
Blue swirls downward.
Orange streaks lateral.
This version, the most iconic, the most colorful, worth One Hundred and Twenty million.
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In the corner, tucked in by itself, hung Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte.
You’ve seen it. Men in their fin de siecle bowlers, the women holding parasols, each fully dressed, completely unsuited for Sunday at the beach.

It never occurred to me that Georges Seurat painted in dots.
Pointillism I discovered, a technique he coined.
So much detail in small specks of paint.
The Island of Grand Jatte is one canvas, an estimated six point four million dots.
This beach scene took him two years to finish: It’s the epitome of the utter consumption of time.

I stood there in the corner alone, amongst hundreds of people spread throughout the room.
As the herds shuffled towards the Van Gogh’s, the Cezanne’s, I felt a connection to Seurat.
His years at the easel. His trial and error.
I empathized, not so much with the Art but with the Artist.
His pain in attaining subjective perfection.
He as his worst critic.
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On my last morning in Manhattan, my notes came together to formulate what’s written above.
Might I have wasted a year?
Were all these posts best suited in a personal journal?
Maybe.

But like my ingestion of Seurat and his work,
If I had someone, reciprocating,
tucked in a corner on their computer screen,
appreciating just a minutiae of what I’d written,
and feeling an ounce of empathy,
then to me, it was worth all the frustrations, pain, and time it takes to write.

Thanks to The Least Most for the opportunity to share this.
Thanks to you for reading.
Here’s to another year.

Matt Coplon

Work by day. Ride by evening. Write by night.