Religion is the Most Common Form of Absurdism

Grant Maierhofer

Tonight in class I wrote an absurdist little ditty that I’ve taken quite the liking to. It harkens to Samuel Beckett more than anyone else, and I’ve lately been realizing what a huge imperative I have to approach literature through the glasses of men like him if I hope truly to have an impact.

When writing with an absurdist bent, you’re essentially throwing ink at a slab of paper and using your mind to form it into something, as opposed to using your mind prior to the fact and forming it as you write. That’s how I like to think of it anyway. Absurdist approaches when writing fiction have always begun with something quite senseless, but it’s that which lets me continue on even believing in what I’m doing, and it’s that which lets me believe in the absurd approach to life all the more.

I was not put on this earth to be rational, I’ve realized this. I don’t do well when everything goes entirely according to some plan, and I don’t work well under the everyday parameters of the world around me. This does not mean I’ll approach every day as though it were something painted by Rene Magritte, I have my fundamentals as well—I must eat, sleep, seek counsel on occasion, that sort of thing—but when it comes to my approach of art—and therein my approach to existence—I must do it with a twinge of the abstract, or the poetic in mind, for all life must eventually be siphoned through this funnel of nonsense to finally make any level of sense, and to remain rational one’s entire life is to live a fruitless, and unhappy existence.

Religion is the most common form of absurdism. After that we’ve psychoanalysis, and any vast range of spirituality too endless to relate here; but make no mistake, these approaches to life—i.e. prayer, talking to some fictive being, etc.—are absolutely acts of the absurd, and must be treated as such. God makes a decent dance partner if you’re willing to shut your fucking eyes and stop thinking so realistically about how you look on the dance floor. But for me it’s something beyond god now, and must always be for the duration of my stay on earth. It’s an interplanetary sort of chaos, a dancing with Pluto, an excursion into the red clouds of night chasing my own tail, that sort of thing, and one entity in the sky simply will not do to satiate my thirst for this nonexistence, this un-approach.

I’ll be applying for a contest to have my book published in the morning, and my hope is that I can win. I’ve published The Persistence of Crows online, and it’s been reviewed quite positively, however it’s still all wrong for me. I wrote the book to give to someone else someday and have them carry it through the paces of publishing. I have no interest in business, I have no interest in sales, in Twitter, in the internet at large, and pretending I do as an act of self-promotion has proven most traumatic for my psyche; as a result I hope to be let out of this terrifying cage someday soon—to be published by another, to be taken under the faithful wings of some modest press and encouraged to write again, to write more, and to write always, that is the dream, dear friends, that is the dream.

I’m moving home in a few weeks. I’ve begun the application process for the university in my hometown in Wisconsin, where they’ve a creative writing program that will suffice, I’m sure. I simply have no zeal for Chicago anymore, no real passion for the program in which I find myself enrolled, and all this notwithstanding, I’m simply unhappy here. I need to breathe for a semester without the burden of rent and loans and money money money looming over my head.

I’ve just surpassed the 10,000-word mark in this collection of journals, and I’m starting to think it might go on this way for quite a while. Perhaps someday it will be published, that’d make sense. It all started, as you know, as a result of reading Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton, a book I found myself floored by, as well as comforted and inspired. Someday this may just be the Journal of an Unpublished Young Man I’d always hoped it’d be.

I hope to impart some wisdom here as a result; for I can assure you that I’m most certainly unpublished as we’re speaking here.

I’ve just drunk a pot of coffee, and am currently listening to a piano rendition of Bach’s Air on the G string, something sparse, and just the ticket for an evening of high-mindedness. I’ve needed this, frankly, what with the depression as a result of quitting my antidepressants (of course…) and the overall pallor of leaving school to start anew. I’ve been watching far too much television, unable to do much else, and it’s time I get back to this sort of thing.

April 1, 2012 6:57 pm

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