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Posted: June 3, 2010 in graffiti living
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I went to sleep full of questions about writing and Japan. In my dreams a documentary voice over narrated the answers to some of my questions. When I woke up I wrote down what little I could remember without the aid of tea. I am incapable of speaking to anyone until I’ve had a cup of tea, so I’m amused that I wrote anything at all. This is what greeted me in my notebook when I came back to read it:

Dream voice solution to what to do about writing and Japan, which I’d asked it to answer the night before: “Treat everything as though it has been covered in rain.” It said some other stuff too along the lines of cover it in rain, in other words water all your problems, feed and nourish them, or water the things you want in your life, pay attention to them. But what of the first and more prominent line – treat everything as though it has been covered in rain? How does that apply to writing first and then to Japan?

Writing – your work has been drenched, it’s raining outside even now, there has been a leak in the roof and all of your pages are now soaked. Dry them out, salvage what you can. Type up and throw away what’s left. Let go of things that are irreparably damaged. But first and foremost dry out, write up (digitise) or scan in, and get rid of. Throw away old notebooks once you’ve rescued them. So that they don’t go mouldy. Do the same to your books. Your work has become water damaged, it needs heat and light and warmth and care and attention to nurse it back to health. And actually, as dream thoughts go, that makes a lot of sense and would also be quite a fun entry point back into writing. Raking over my old words and turning them into new ones – progressing the evolution of these notebooks as I go over them, like Beethoven. You change things rather than just type it up. And otherwise you burn the rest. But yes, I’ll be going through and throwing out those old notebooks.

Now, how about how it relates to Japan – treat everything as though it has been covered in rain. My Japan thoughts and dreams have gotten a good soaking. This can be both good for them, like you feed a plant. And has made them feel like they have been drowned, or at least that’s how it made me feel about them. Rain has hit them – they’ve come into contact with reality, that doesn’t meant that they won’t happen, just that no plan ever survives contact with reality without changing and evolution.

You have to be willing to be flexible in order to achieve your dreams. The first and foremost part of it for you is to live in Japan, that above all else. So the where how why and what will change over time, but first and foremost just concentrate on getting your foot in the door, blag your way in even, and pick up the skills you need as you go along. You may very well end up in a joke job, where you are there as the token English person to speak with them, wheeled out on special occasions – so what, enjoy it, embrace it. But also, remember, you’re not going over there to teach you’re going over there as a writer, and teaching is just one of the many things you could do when out there. You don’t have to worry about making it as a teacher, just making it as a writer and making enough to get by and finding a way to stay there. Hell, become a house husband even. Whatever.

The point is your dreams have come into contact with reality, that doesn’t mean they’ve gotten pissed on. You just need to dry them off and keep going. Make sure they don’t get cold. Give them heat and warmth and light again. Give them shelter from the storm, they have been too bare exposed to the elements. Warm them a little, dress them for the weather. Give them sensible shoes, and a seafaring hat. In practical terms that means dusting myself off, forgetting about or not stressing about the work and study opportunities that I’ve already applied for and any other jobs that have fortuitously been thrown across my path, but do so without investing yourself in or worrying about the outcome. What will be will be. And in the meantime also gain ground at work and change your circumstances there so that you can write, and look to move out into [secret location #1] or [secret location #2] again. Even though neither is fully your friend, you will find a place for you. And you will write in it.

And in the meantime write too. That’s the illusion, you see, that you have to get your life all perfect and your ducks lined up in a row before you can write. Bullshit. Write now, write anyway, and keep pushing on with that no matter what the circumstances of your life. And morph those circumstances to write and to suit your life and your writing, not the other way around. Write to live, live to write.

So in the end even Japan comes down to writing, that is why it has to take second place. But the realisation that you’re going over to Japan as a writer and not as an ex-writer was a powerful one. You’re not going out there to die, just to shuffle the decks so that you can live. But you’re shuffling the decks even now and even here, and fuck what everyone else thinks. You know that you’ve been right all along, and in your heart of hearts know that you’re living on borrowed time, but it’s time that has been freely given to you because someone somewhere still believes that you have what it takes to get your work done, and it is still needed for the cause. You don’t even have to know what cause that is, just know that it exists and it is out there waiting for you to live. Get your work done first and foremost and the rest will fall into place around that. You’ve made it clear that you want to live in Japan. Now make it abundantly clear that you want to write.

Reading back over the above, I think I really should have had that cup of tea! 😛

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Comments
  1. clvr_witch says:

    I think, if you had stopped for that cuppa, you may not have been so in touch with what you had learned from your dream. Of course, there is the distinct probability that I’m applying my flaws to your psyche, too. 🙂

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