They say no one person can do it all
But you want to in your head
But you can't be Shakespeare and you can't be Joyce
So what is left instead
You're stuck with yourself and a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment this wonderful fire
Started up again
- Lou Read, Magic and Loss
* * *
St. John of the Cross wrote of the Dark Night of the Soul, the painful and frightening transit of the soul leaving behind its earthly attachments in order to find and be reunited with God. Lou Reed does something similar, only he describes the transit of your fucked in the head attachments being burned up in the process of being fully awake and alive, the process of you finding and being reunited with your soul.
St. John of the Cross.
* * *
The deepest frustration we fucked fuckers experience is being stuck with ourselves. The habit, sewn into every thought or act, of believing we were meant for more than we've shown, but are utterly clueless as to how that transformation occurs. We are often aesthetes, critics, gossips and guttersnipes always with a clever damning of someone who, you know, actually did something in the world. We have refined tastes in others' efforts because we cannot manage any effort other than to have an opinion. To quote the great Clint Eastwood, "Opinions are like assholes. everyone has one." And you can live on this threshold quite admirably, in full delusion with no nightmares waking you in the middle of the night wondering where all the time has gone.
If this is you, bully for you. Have another toddy and go back to sleep.
But for the rest of us fuckers we enjoy none of the snippy delusion of critics and couch-loungers. No, we take that feeling of having missed the boat and ramp up the self-flagellation because we know we could have done better if only, if only, if only... Now, instead of being what ever it was we thought we could be in and of ourselves, we compare ourselves to Shakespeare and Joyce and are disgusted with our pitiable gifts. We suffer the comparison because it is suits our low opinion of our abilities to be adjudged against others than to simply work and leave the judging to others - those guttersnipes and gossips sipping dirty martinis and wondering why you even bother.
This is the rage that can and does hurt you.
This is the rage fills you with self-loathing because... what? you haven't written Dubliners?
Dude, someone already did that. Move on.
* * *
The wisdom of Lou is summed up in five words: YOU ARE STUCK WITH YOURSELF. This is the ground floor of experience. Quit running from it or trying to deny it. Stop. It just fucks you up. Stop. You are not nothing but you and that's all the material you get to work with. And here's the news: it is solely up to you what you make of it.
You want to do it all.
You want to quit starting over and just be in the game.
You want the fire to either destroy you or light your way.
I know the dark night can last years, a lifetime, in fact, without finding that connection. But, let me ask you, what else are you going to do? You are too smart to settle down on the couch and wait for time to wash you away. You care far too much about what might yet be done to be a dweller on the threshold. Yet you are fucked and stuck and going nowhere because there is no evidence to support your claim that you could still bring this round, still use the fire to light your way. No such evidence is coming, my dear friend. It cannot come from without. It is just between you and your soul and a soul that's come alive needs no other justification.
* * *
You need to get started again, because just this moment this wonderful fire...