Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Japanese Art, Porno Puns, and Life Writing with Illness


Japanese Art, Porno Puns, and Life Writing with Illness

By Casey Douglass




Last night, I watched most of a documentary about Japanese art, about how nature is so pivotal to it, and how it inspired some of the greatest creations throughout Japanese history. The fact that I only watched most of the documentary isn’t a negative review by the way, I was just too tired to watch it all.

Thinking about it this morning led to a flight of fancy about what it might be like to actually visit the places that were shown, such as the Bonsai museum and Mount Fuji. I fancied that if it ever happened, I might even try my hand at travel writing, and wondered at what it would feel like to actually have something exciting to share, by way of words, pictures and video.

Of course, me being me, my flight of fancy soon became a morbid rumination on my health issues, and how a trip to Japan would likely be some kind of suicide. Oh, that’s reminded me of another place I’d have liked to visit, Aokigahara, the suicide forest near Mount Fuji. Not to partake, but just to experience the place. (VICE did a nice little 30 min documentary about Aokigahara, well worth a watch, if you are interested).

The result of my thoughts was in how frustrating it is to not be able to experience life in a way that would help me to have material to write about. I can’t even consume entertainment in any kind of normal way, which is a bit of a fucker for someone who likes to review stuff. I read books at a rate of ten pages or so a time, and then have to rest. I watch films in two sittings, often needing to lay down half way through. I can only listen to around 40 mins of music a day as any more just tires me. And as far as video-games, even one that might have around six hours of content would take me at least three or four days to pace myself through. It’s not ideal and it’s damned frustrating.

All I am left with is my own internal experience (sounds like a title for a posh porno “Internal Experience 2: The Physical”) or writing fiction. Dealing with those in an arse-about-face manner (sorry, still in naughty porn pun mode), fiction is dandy but is even harder to make progress with than the non-fiction stuff. Even if you create something pretty decent, you’ll still be lucky if A) more than ten people read it and B) you make more than a tenner if you pop it up on Kindle.

As far as the internal experience stuff, who really cares? Unless you are setting yourself up as someone with “the answers” and writing hackneyed listicles like “7 Ways to Beat Anxiety Fast” and “12 Must Have Mental Health Tools” (god I fucking hate listicles, but I find it very amusing that my spellchecker suggests testicles as an alternative. Even computers can detect bollocks it seems), people won’t read it. I also refuse to set myself up as some kind of expert on anything. Not because of the backlash against experts in this age of rising ignorance, but because I don’t have the answers, and I wouldn’t bullshit my way through an article about something that I couldn’t backup with my own experience. I know stuff, I write about that stuff, but I’m not prepared to “market it” in the guise of some holy grail of “this will solve your problems” and then adding “Why not take my course?” (Everyone and their aunty seems to think you have to offer some kind of course on your website now. Just fuck off. Really.)

Anyway, internal experience. I spend a lot of time alone, struggling through the day. Unless I create some kind of twisted fiction story out of that, with imaginary beings that live in the corners and are at war with each other. “Oh, we don’t go into corner four in the spare-room, the O’Cleefes murdered one of the Spitzers there, so they are forever at war with the third cupboard from the fridge in the kitchen!”. As The Cumshots (great band) say in one of their songs, “These four walls, that's my society”. If I start basing fiction in them, I couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t go loopy. Loopier anyway.

I don’t know what the whole point of this post was. Partly, just to write something and get the juices flowing (not in a porno way). Partly, to have something to focus on for awhile, and partly, (more parts than a gore movie so far), partly, in the hope that my mind might throw up some sort of answer. Sadly, I’m shit out of luck on that count. As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you are having a good day or night, whatever you are upto. Unless you are writing listicles.


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