I found that when the objective of sex was removed from the game, I began to address women with something akin to honesty. No longer did I go out of my way to impress them, to seduce them to the idea that I might be a reasonable bed partner. I simply was, and they simply were, and we let be be the finality of seem.
On October 13th of that year, I had a revelation. I realized that perhaps I was not meant to be with another. Perhaps God or the universe wanted me to be alone, for the rest of my life. At that moment, I was cool. I even said so. I found a quiet spot, hit my knees in prayer, and said, "God, if you want me to be alone, I am okay with it. I'm easy. You make the call."
The very next day I met my wife.
Writing requires a reader. I don't know that reader anymore. I don't know what to write anymore. First of all, I've already felt myself pulling away from screenplays, even though I enjoyed some success with them in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Screenplays seem like a low art these days. The primal idea of "movies" as opposed to "film" or "cinema" is the standard. Good things aren't being made; even the stuff touted as good is somehow shallow, empty, and lacking. The Oscars each year are shell game, a sham.
Do I want to contribute to that?
Second, I wonder if writing is even in my blood anymore. Because I no longer know my reader. I can no longer see him or her, sitting in a theater or reading my my novel during a long flight. I don't know what to write.
I don't know if I am really a writer at all.
So I have made the decision to let the writing go. To surrender it. Not to abandon, but to surrender to God, the universe, or whatever is running the show. To no longer acquiesce to an idea of writer without the real gut-burn of passion, which seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs at the moment.
I let my writing go. I turn my attention instead to spirit. To meditation.
What do the words want? I don't know. I only know I tire of being their bitch. I tire of the good advice of well-intentioned others. I am tired of waiting for the burn, tired of absorbing the shit of the world, tired of sitting in the darkened room before the reflective screen, of looking at the crowded page, and wondering, wondering, wondering ... What is my place in all of it?
Today, I have a job. It is an empty, dispassionate job, a job that pays according to what you put into it. Without passion, I often put in the bare minimum. There are tales of those on spiritual quests who retreat to manual labor, who hide from the world of duty and calling and simply revert to something primitive.
My job requires too much knowledge to be primitive but not enough creativity to be anything other than what it is—the grunt work of the slightly more educated.
Here I am.
There I was.
Worrying about labels and definitions, creating lies for the people I have met.
What do I do?
I do this other thing that sounds romantic but is really quite the opposite. I pay the bills. I call myself a writer, you see, even when I don't write, even when I devote most of my energy to my shitty little bill-paying occupation, which makes enough money (when I do it well) to keep my wife from getting too upset with me.
I am tired. But you know, if I surrender the writing, perhaps something new will appear. Perhaps there is a secret abundance hidden in all of it. The only way to find out is to empty myself, to give myself over to that guiding source.
And so the adventure begins …
Meanwhile, there are bills to pay.