cluttered wall with posters and stairs

THE KILLING OF ALL DISTRACTIONS

Have you ever just… thought? Not just regular, day-to-day thoughts, but actual, concentrated thoughts that ask the questions you’re afraid to ask and answer the questions you’re afraid to answer:

What am I doing here?

Why am I doing what I’m doing?

What do I actually want if I strip away my insecurities, my fears and the influence and pressures of other people?

I tried this exercise but other useless thoughts kept getting in the way. I felt like I was a child in a busy playground, trying to concentrate on the slippery slide but then constantly being distracted by the swings, and then the rocking horse, and then the sandpit, and then my yelling parents, and then the countless other children.

I’ve rarely taken the time to ask, Why? and then, Why? again, and then, Why? once more.

People who master their thoughts are probably masters of life. If you could somehow strip your thoughts of outside influences, insecurities, emotions and distractions, you’d probably find the truth of who you really are and what you actually want—kind of like cleaning out your entire home and only leaving behind what’s important, and then holding whatever it is that’s important with your dear life.

What are you distracted by?

Why do you keep distracting yourself?

What are you afraid of?

I found that just as how distracted and afraid I was of the truth in my thoughts, I was also distracted and afraid of the truth in my writing. I called myself a writer but only ever spent a grain of my life actually doing the writing.

As I thought about these things I found myself in a studio one day. It smelt of paint and beer and sweat. There was a large window in the middle of one of the walls, and a thick stream of light shone through it, appearing as if it was trying to burn a small portion of the wooden floor. Although the smell of fresh paint dominated the entire studio, I couldn’t find paint anywhere. There were no paintbrushes, there was no canvas. All there was in the room was a table and a chair in front of the table, as well as the thick beam of sunlight. I sat down in front of the table, looked around and adjusted myself. I placed my computer on the table and began writing about fat people who were in love:

Once upon a time a fat man fell in love with a fat woman. He loved her so much that he felt she deserved the best of everything, including the best, purest love one could ever receive. But what was this ‘pure’ love? All he knew was that this pure love was a love without frills or distraction, a love that was sort of like a diamond: an indestructible stone, compressed and purified with time and effort. It took him years of hard work to discover exactly what this pure love involved, but when he finally did, he excitedly gave this new found pure love to her on a silver platter.

“Why didn’t you give me this love before, when I needed it most?” the fat woman asked him. She was on the verge of tears. “It’s too late,” she said, pushing the platter away.

“I didn’t realise that pure love took time to prepare,” was all the fat man could say.

The fat woman looked at him one more time before standing up to go. She glanced at the pure love on the platter with what looked like a tinge of regret, wiped her eye and hurried off. The fat man, in his love for her, let her go without a fight, even if he knew he would never recover from her leaving him. He watched her walk away and never contacted her again.

 

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Book I’m reading: Killing Commendatore

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