You’ve reached the bitter end if you’re considering whether or not you should return to ranting about skin disorders and the apocalypse on a stage, in front of just enough people to warrant doing so, but not quite enough to garner major publicity or ever go on vacation and/or buy candles.
The short answer is that if you don’t want something to exist, don’t do it. The long answer is longer.
It also involves synecdoche. If you are not familiar with American Rhetoric or Charlie Kaufman’s filmography, synecdoche is a figure of speech in which the part is substituted for the whole or vice versa. So for example: ‘take thy face hence” (Shakespeare), as opposed to “take thyself (body, mind, soul) hence” or “let’s get the hell out” as opposed to “let’s get our endangered bodies (as agents of absolute destruction and imminent demise) out.”
As a figure of speech, this appears a subtle and slightly antiquated means of abbreviation (see “I will BRB” or “I am FUBAR” as slightly twisted modern counterparts). Meaning requires less and less space. The smaller it is, the bigger it gets. Take it or leave it, relative to your proximity to poetic justice as concerns clarity in communication.
However, taken as reality of the mind as it synthesizes and decides, synecdoche outgrows its rhetorical self. It also grows to include some big ideas well beyond the scope of this writing. Like Time.
At any given moment, there are options. Sometimes, these options are discrete. We employ a turn signal, in order to signify a greater direction and means of directing, or we don’t. We feed the cat in order to keep it breathing, or we don’t. We grasp a smaller part of living as a means of representing life. We do this on a daily basis; subconsciously, or with minimal thought.
Likewise, as we exit the theatre pursued by a bear we calculate the time it takes to manually unlock the ‘98 Toyota Camry we’ve enlisted as our tour vehicle, within which our cello, merch case (thrifted), and kitten hologram are packed. We need these articles (to survive?) and by a not particularly subtle twist of fate the City of New York is simultaneously about to tow said car (‘bearly’ conscious of the ensuing mayhem) and we are broke, flat broke, we need said articles to perform and potentially make enough money to potentially retrieve said car if potentially impounded. However, there is a bus not 6 feet from where we run. The door to said bus is open. We are currently carrying a metrocard with precisely enough balance for a single fare in our purse, and we think “despite our better judgement” and realize that we are not sure which option “despite our better judgement” refers back to. Perhaps we keep running. There is a chance the bear will get hit by oncoming traffic. We may need the metrocard to travel uptown to borrow money from someone who by now is most assuredly sick of us and our incessant need to borrow money because these types of scenarios “just keep happening.”
Which survival do we choose? Which representation of survival is accurate? The part not only serves as a representation of the whole, it veritably is the whole, insofar as the alternative is a whole lot of you on Canal st. represented by a series of parts.
If this isn’t enough, consider the consequences when survival itself is unclear.
(Let’s say I stole one or more of the following drugs from your medicine cabinet: Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Tramadol, Codeine, Xanax, Valium, Lorazepam, and as a last resort, Ibuprofen. The long answer might be that I didn’t know how to survive. I substituted short-term function, a temporary means to get by, for life as a whole. I was unable to comprehend survival apart from myself, divorced from living. I cultivated a life devoid of options. I consistently misconstrued escaping for surviving. I created suffering in order to create life. My suffering outgrew my own means to survive, and so I inflicted it upon you.
The short answer would be that I am extremely sorry. I was sick. I was too intent on murdering my life to comprehend that survival, outside the perimeters of certain death, is defined by levels of honesty, generosity, and respect towards other human beings, for one is dehumanized without another).
Life can be confusing. While living necessitates survival, survival does not necessitate living. We find a source of life mired in the complications of merely surviving, and it is negligible whether or not the part may be separated from the whole without dragging the whole thing down. We might superimpose the fact that motivation and intention are only made visible through the passage of time and reach the very counter-intuitive conclusion that survival requires inaction. A pause, a break. A slowing down of time, really. Which is precisely what takes place while you are performing on stage. It’s also what takes place when you are high. So maybe there you have it.
Remove all the parts and you’re left with this: You live by surviving yourself. The whole of the part is made whole in parting.
Maybe you can relate to part of this. Maybe you are able to see the missing part with which this writing might catapult into wholeness, surviving itself and thereby becoming livable. And yet, maybe not. Maybe what’s missed was never there to begin with. Maybe what’s missing was already there and lived; a figment, hallucination, cataract.
With that I bid the part of you reading this farewell.
At least for the moment.
My sincerest apologies.