March 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve been driven down to you, bloggy, because the only thing on the table was an Australia Post catalogue which looked too boring to contemplate, and because I was sleepily composing a Facebook update while I prepared breakfast, which escaped the practical bounds of length in prose available in that forum. I’m sort of ‘off’ Facebook anyway. Blogs, at least, appeal to seekers. There is something about thrusting my manic rubbish on other people: it’s optimised as an occasional thing, like dark spirits, jazz and my parents.
This is going to have to be quick, because I’m late for The Horror as it is, but the most defining feature of my life at present is that I am living an approximation of what I deeply wanted for a very, very long time and I am not enjoying it. I did also ‘dream’ of going to NIDA for a while, as a kid. Acting and writing were my two loves, and the order in which I pursued these things seemed unquestionably clear – acting is largely a young person’s game, and writing should probably not be undertaken without experience. But I pursued acting privately in the end, rather than making it my degree. I struggled with the fact that I found actors, on the whole, to be quite stupid. I never really wanted to sacrifice a ‘proper’ education to pursue being on the telly, and like many, harboured a romantic notion of ‘college’ that I possibly got from an embarrassing American show originating on same. More likely, though, it was a result of the suffering and persecution I endured at school for being smart. There needed to be an end point to that, filled with justification.
So you can fill in the interim years. I largely had no idea what I was supposed to do with the essence of life that the culture deemed was reverberating in and around my young form, so I joined a movement. A very nineties movement as it turns out – the pragmatic political centre. Deal makers. Nope, I was not originally a party leftie; I drifted that way gradually over time in a kind of freak upstream movement, like a maturing trout. At the time I found the left to be a haven of rigid ideology, insane idealism, pretentious socialism and personal axe-grinding. The centre was more closely aligned with the goals of the Labour Movement, which was at that time ironically spent, and practically, I needed a job. Internationally I was finding myself a reluctant and depressed Realist (I wanted to believe actors could overcome self interest, but found it difficult to do so), and combined with the fact that most of the far left seemed to think simple bathing was capitalist repression, I felt as secure as I could be in my own judgement. I wanted to do it – life that is – there and then, like a stock broker rich under 30; I didn’t want lost and experimental formative years full of semi-permanent errors. But I had them. It’s easy enough to look back now and think that undertaking political activism in this country was all a mistake, that I was somehow in love with myself as an Australian story and moreso with tropes of my own family – nights crouched in the flickering beam of a documentary on the Rank Arena TV; the mysterious misery and fate of my father which was tied to a complex international conservative agenda; the idea that we were altogether engaged in a dignified struggle. I understand my friends who say they feel like they were cheated at a very personal level by the image of ourselves sold to us by a political organisation which really only ever needed us for legitimacy. I think we all could have forgiven anything except love. But, tellingly, it was only part of a larger conspiracy of social and commercial lies, including family itself – mine was to become a bed of hostility over my class betrayal – romantic love, and possibly, returning me to my point, education.
I believed in education so principally that I undertook all kinds of ostensibly naf projects – like campaigning, marching, negotiating – on behalf of the movement as a whole and neglected my own studies. Could this institution, too, have betrayed me with a deceptive legion of kitsch? I like to think that at this point I can only see the trees in the wood. I believe in the system. But basically, I don’t want to go. I should be there right now. I’d like an ideological mate, but there are no candidates, which in old fashioned terms means I “probably don’t belong”. The wanton bastardry of the sentences has a weak clutching effect on my gut. My philosophy class is like being slapped on the leg with a wet paper towel: I would like, very much, to stop warbling and have an actual fight. I’m bored, I’m not doing really well any more. Study was supposed to fill the void I can see is otherwise likely to dominate my later life, but it has become just one more thing that doesn’t warrant that kind of passion. I wish I could paint, or something, but I think it’s over. This was it, no more creative arts. I’m going to have to start considering some kind of job.