Sunday, October 24, 2004

One Hundred Demons 

A writing exercise adapted -- badly -- from a Zen painting exercise as described in Lynda Barry's comic strip collection One! Hundred! Demons!, a "work of autobifictionography" which actually doesn't contain 100 of anything, and neither does this list, though I did get just over halfway there. Anyway, here are the things that plague me, or at least all I was able to think of during a self-imposed 30 minute time limit. It may be far from the original exercise, but if listing them will help me let them go, then at least the exercise is consistent with Zen as I understand it, which is probably wrong.

• mosquitoes
• drowning
• the thought that one day I might need to run really fast and my legs won’t work or I’ll be running in molasses or something
• not being able to wake up from a dream
• that dreams might be real
• going to bed and never waking up
• putting my hand in something warm and squishy in the dark
• accidentally rolling over on the dog or baby in my sleep
• saying something stupid in a social or professional situation
• having to explain myself to people smarter or more powerful than me, especially authority figures
• having a booger on my face all day and no one says anything
• people laughing at me behind my back
• the unseen
• the unknown
• the unsaid
• the inescapable
• war
• environmental disaster
• not leaving things better than I found them
• not noticing creeping cumulative dangers until it’s too late to do anything about their effect
• giving up on things because they're too hard
• losing track of myself in the midst of the chaos
• procrastinating
• not dealing with things I'm supposed to
• my aching back
• being broken
• mysterious aches and pains
• I could have cancer or something and not know until it was too late
• dismissing mysterious aches and pains as natural and then finding out later that I could have done something to fix myself by now it's too late
• Willow falling out of a tree or something
• letting Willow fall out of a tree or something
• Willow losing her trust of me forever because I let her fall out of a tree or something
• something might happen to Darcie and then I'd have to deal with it all on my own
• seeing some old girlfriend and realizing I made the wrong choice
• being unable to recognize a crush for the real thing, which I've already got
• getting lost in the moment and making some irrevocable decision
• remembering times when I should have done the right thing but didn't because I was too cowardly
• kids who grow up unloved
• being the only one who could have made a difference in some kids life and never realizing it
• never finding the time or moment to make the difference
• spreading myself too thin
• losing everyone
• being alone
• being in charge
• forgetting to say "I love you" that one last time and then the person I love getting run over by a truck or something
• not being able to fix everything
• that my worst critics are right
• that I might be inherently less worthy of love and respect than other people
• knowing that I'll never have time to learn everything about everything
• worrying that I'm spending my time on the wrong things without knowing it
• everything turning out just fine, and all this worrying was for nothing

Of course, lest one think I am constantly consumed with my demons, let me point out that I'm on weekend library duty today, which is crushingly boring, that we all have demons in our closet...and that the relationship we have with our demons is often murky and unresolvable. The very existence of Barry's own musing on the nature of our abhorrences speaks to this, I think, so a relevant panel from her abovementioned collection would be an appropriate place to end up:

posted by boyhowdy | 1:46 PM |

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