Proof of Life, Twenty-Eighteen

proof of life twenty eighteen 1280

Not dead yet.

I joked on twitter that this is a recurring entry on this, a 16 year collection of things written that is roughly covered by the term ‘blog’ (so naturally I dubbed it a ‘Journal’). The rest of the recurring entries are threats that I’m getting back to writing fiction.

I have a fifteen-year-long career in Not Writing now. A TED Talk is imminent.

Thought of something the other day, a story, filed the idea diligently in the Google motherbrain like a good boy, because paper and .TXT files are for a younger me who knew where all his bodies were buried, and now all I require is that the one-line description be searchable from a single box in my phone that I can’t seem to wish away from my hand. Even calling it a phone in Twenty-Eighteen seems disingenuous. It holds my social life. It delivers my daily thing to feel unfocused anxiety over. It takes pictures, but, I discovered yesterday after much googling, less well than the average digital camera, in Twenty-Eighteen. The phone holds my wishlist for cameras I may not buy because I inevitably will need a new phone. For keeping lists.

I don’t know if it’s a good story idea. This would not have stopped me in Oh-Two, or Oh-Three, but in Twenty-Eighteen I have to compete with what TV has become, which is a series of lists of series, that everyone must already have seen the day they’re out. A movie I was looking forward to seeing in a theatre showed up on Netflix today. A movie I did go see in a theatre left me unsatisfied. I would have gladly traded. Nowadays I worry, vaguely, that anything I’m coming up with must be a faint echo of something I heard about that’s on TV, some hot episode of some hot anthology that people won’t dare talk about a week and a half from now because it’s all too old, and they’ve moved on, and don’t you know we aren’t talking series a week and a half from now, because there are More Important Issues, that day.

I bought a book to write it in, which is uncharacteristic. All my fiction writing happened because I had access to a computer and I was 17 and bored. I had notebooks for far longer, all that ended up in them was schoolwork and a few doodles. And yet, I bought the book because it wasn’t my phone, it wasn’t a place where I put down lists and add grains of chiseled rice to my social media mound, where More Important Issue (Twenty-Eighteen edition) was not pouring onto my screen while I tried to make a nonsensical Thread Tweet about that hot series from two months ago that nobody talks about. I didn’t get the book to write in, I got it so that writing might exist.

I talked, on twitter, that having 16 years of you online in a paginated form is a good snapshot of other selves you wanted to be: the writer, the photographer, the (ugh) financially successful blogger. Now I buy books and earmark projects on them, in permanent marker, hoping that I’ll do them now that there’s some skin in the game. It’s a small patch of skin, some cheap notebooks and sketchbooks, but it’s more skin than in the old days of furtive entries either in notebooks or .TXT files. And it’s not without some success. Away from here — though frankly only truly appreciated by the silent archive of your own URL — I finished (finished!) a couple of sketchbooks over the years, and plugged away at others with enough satisfaction that I wouldn’t mind abandoning them with what’s there. It made me wonder if the same method could be applied to fiction. So far it hasn’t amounted to much, but at least there’s a book, and a story to tell.


By Vishal

I design & create beautiful, useful, and not-so-useful things that delight.