Surrender to the NightLast night was kind of a stiff mellow horror show, to be perfectly honest. No real monsters or demons, evil occurrences on the dance floor or heartless treachery happening at the bar, just the slow numb noooo that comes from realizing that I may be trapped inside this concrete area code with the rest of you bland policy wonks. You know who you are, deep in your shy beige-carpeted hearts.
My man Charlie and I usually default to dive bars and smoky hipster enclaves, the sort of places where the chicks all have "interesting" homemade haircuts and the dudes are vegan but look like they've never had a green vegetable in their entire anemic existence. In the spirit of aggressively expanding the social horizons we met up at Panache and man what a hardcore drooling yawnfest that turned out to be.
In life the answer should always be "yes," you should say "yes" to everything and try as much as you can every chance you get but I got to tell you in all honesty that most of the time the ROI is pretty piss-poor. You get some magic moments but man, usually you end up getting drunk and bored around a bunch of strangers. Last night, shall we say, did not fall far outside the old bell-curve.
The man of the hour and star of the show turned out to be this dude and a brown suede jacket with a map on the inside who does rolling publicity performances for political candidates. He had a small crowd of cold pretty women in thrall with the story of his appearing on CNN dressed in a furry beaver costume for a rally protesting a perceived misallocation of government funds to prevent beaver damage.
Was I frustrated? Yes. Jealous? Absolutely. I am a storyteller extraordinaire and my ego is a green hungry dragon that craves constant belly scratches from as many people as possible. To have my stage stolen by such an obvious rookie is a cosmic insult of the highest order and the dragon is in a high state of apoplectic fury.
You see, at times I am a reincarnated zombie god, a chattering klanging ratlling magic phoenix that stitches stars into magic fabric stapled together with words, spewing the tapestry over and under entire cities. I need people, lots of people, thousands of people to look up into their polluted sky and surrender to that night, to settle down comfortably for a long winter's nap under the sparkling velvet blankets that fly out of my soul. They need to know, these people, they got to understand that they are cold and tired and it's time to stop chasing it, stop catching cabs and trains from parties to bars and looking looking looking to dance with similar strangers, to just lie down and surrender to my night.
And man, I have been taking this message to the people in the street one by one ever since that greedy dragon god cracked out its golden egg deep within the belly of my brain. Writing down the dragon and spraying him across the world in ink and pixels is a more effective delivery mechanism but it keeps me trapped in a cluttered room, sitting here in the dim dark daytime pressing buttons and never seeing that mysterious public that hangs hiding around every corner.
Chuck Palahniuk said it best when he said
The worst part of writing ... is the fear of wasting your life behind a keyboard. The idea that, dying, you'll realize you only ever lived on paper. Your only adventures were make-believe and while the world fought and kissed, you sat in some dark room, masturbating and making money.
It's that fear that gets me out and keeps me cranking, drinking laps around this town through endless curtains of boring people. It's the hope that one day, one way or another, I'll connect somehow and and all this frantic frenetic verbal energy will find a home that can hold it. It's the dream of real adventure, that magic conversation with a guy from beyond the stars or a lady with psychedelic magic deep in her pores -- that real, earth-shaking human connection that you never get from writing -- that's what I want, and it hurts every time I cast the nets onto empty, dying oceans. This satisfaction of connection can't come from one human. No man is big enough to wrangle my multitudes. There's just the hope that somewhere, outside my apartment and beyond the world of shuffling, dreamless sleep, I can find something, whatever that is.
Then it's time to stop taking my own cabs and trains and realize that it's me, I'm the one that needs to stop chasing that hope and just come back to my rumpled, unmade futon and surrender to the night.