The Consuming

(These are photos of ants dragging a dead scorpion along the sidewalk. In case you were wondering.)

An ant is stronger than an elephant. These ones were headed down the sidewalk in a flattening heat. I was walking my a pile of books, my camera and laptop, feeling incapacitated and maybe part of this was weight.

There are writers who are not afraid of the long sentences edging out in front of them, into the greyish light of a story still composing itself. An ant must be, i think, unafraid because—They say—an ant lacks self-conception, or lacks self.

I am afraid to write because I am afraid of cold water and how when I fall-jump into it, my heart for a moment stops and my lungs seize up. What is it that threatens to consume you? Anger can eat like a fire but it has only freed me. But trails winding through dense brush of the imaginary—pretended futures, pretended confrontations, other lives in which i believe i would not be afraid, would never be disliked or distrusted, where I would not have to choose—these, yes, they have eaten me. The compulsive escape. The blackhole of nonbeing, nonasserting, nonacting. Fictions of the mind and of paperback novels, videogames, television…where fantasy is not play but desperate, looking for a final way, a key to a door.

I fear this then, and it’s true the line is so thin between the liar and the storyteller. Fear the storyteller who constructs closed and apathetic worlds. I have bound myself up in overarticulated truths, priding an obsessive “real”-life honesty, while running to numb in the circuitry of another and divorced place. Run towards the liar then, and become her. Because it is the liar who breaks open the real, weaving through it garlands of the possible, of the maybe, the feared and the hoped-for. It is the liar, who we should make our lover and our prince, because she understands how dry and debilitated are the facts, like raw tinder—because, while the storyteller is locked in metaphor, apart from us, a servant to reality, the liar lights a match and lets it fall.

There being more than one “consuming”.

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