I sat alone at the bar contemplating life and the bartender’s bare legs and everything else swept past without my knowledge, without my understanding, for I was lost on that current and was happily lost, pleased with myself and contented in thought without restraint and the world continued to pass me by for an hour, two hours, three or four drinks, I’d lost count, there is nothing so noble (nor elucidating) as losing count and yet not feeling the effects of the alcohol, not absorbed in anything save the self and rumination and the paths upon which the self propels me. Two years ago I sat in the same bar on the same day thinking different thoughts (drinking different drinks) and my appearance had changed and yet not. On that day I’d had four or five drinks (I forget now), I was still that person with the twitching eye and the black hat and the sore muscles and what the fuck. But the bartender was there just as she always is (just as she is now) and the lights in the place are dim enough for me to see clearly, without regard for my appearance, for all that matters is thought and contemplation and deep labored breaths and the thirst I always feel for a beer or two or perhaps three (I’d prefer to lose count) and those smooth legs beginning down at the soiled ground and rising to a place warm and unseen and no doubt soft and salty, but then again I should probably refrain from such thoughts, as I’m married, and I lied just now, there is no bartender, or there is a bartender but it’s a male bartender wearing pants rather than a female in shorts (as I’d imagined) and so I must come clean, I must admit my lie and restate the obvious fact that nothing is what it seems, either for a reader or a writer, nothing is ever what it seems. In the future I’ll discard such nonsense as it swirls about the canopy of my mind, I’ll write about something that matters, I’ll feel inspired and the inspiration will cast me to a place far and clean and clear and thus my mind will follow, I’ll write about important matters and I’ll explore the hardships that plague others or the hardships I’ve encountered through the years and the infinite whispers, the hardships and the methods I’ve discovered to combat them, and if not combat them then accept them, and if not the hardships then the malaise, the depression (though I despise that term), the melancholy. I appreciate music but only a select few types of music (whatever marks the soul of the listener with the scars of he or she who’s created the music, just as with all forms of art), and thankfully an example of those scars plays from the speakers overhead and it all reminds me of another winter in another time but at this same bar with a different bartender and someone else’s legs (different drinks) and I sit here thinking of that other time and how there have been so many other times in this particular bar, I’ve carried the torch for this place for a decade or better. My typewriter (wireless computer) is like an instrument, I weave chords and percussive rhythms in haste and one of these days I’ll write something meaningful again, I’ll have nothing to worry about and my words will immortalize me (different words). When the future arrives I’ll know it, it will be too stark and recognizable to pass me by, unlike the present, which flings past like so much molecular warfare, down there in the trenches, literal and figurative, and now I’m not entirely sure in which direction my destiny points. Words fling past and ricochet far too quickly for my taste or my comprehension of them (different words) and I try to capture the words before I can no longer, I do not want to be left behind by the words and perhaps my attempt at understanding fails me because I’m simply not capable, I don’t have the strength or intellect nor the fortitude and so I must refine my game, if I must call it that, refine my skills and sharpen my sword, so to speak. Nobody will read this, and that’s fine with me, perhaps it’s not meant to be read except only by a select few, just like my novels (different stories), or such is the fate the novels thus far, a select few prone to thought and fear and trembling and all attitudes of despair, no, give them a bit more credit, find a current for them to ride that doesn’t include me, for they are different and have paid their own fare on this route, they are perhaps more capable of living a life without self-disgust, self-disregard, capable of reading many things that inspire and provide sustenance of some kind, when the same should be said about my novels (different flavors), if only other people could read them, for I do not waste my time and I do not feel a need to justify my life via any means other than in the words, for it is always and only in the words, it is in the peculiar pattern of words on the page in which I exist, solely on the page where the breathing occurs (different breaths) and the dreams live and die and tomorrow will be a better day and the blood that courses finds reason to continue its course just as I continue to read to breathe to write to continue living this farcical dance.
TJ McAvoy Fiction, literature, prose, writing 4 Minutes
Published by TJ McAvoy
Primary influences, in no particular order: Chandler, Voltaire, Saramago, Borges, John Coltrane, Nietzsche, Ricardo Piglia, Emerson, George V. Higgins, Manuel Puig, D.F. Wallace, Cortázar, Denis Johnson, Michelangelo, Italo Calvino, Cormac McCarthy, Melville, Keith Jarrett, J-Dilla, Roberto Bolaño, and Don DeLillo. View all posts by TJ McAvoy
One thought on “Subtle differences”
Hey, I really liked what you wrote. It’s funny I find myself reading this shortly after you wrote it. I have so many questions and it’s hard to find answers. Reading this helps me understand that I am not alone. I have also caught myself writing long paragraphs not knowing if anybody would read them, but now you know that there are people who read your work. Keep it up, it is something that is true to you and that is what matters. Keep it up ! Thanks