When there’s nothing left to burn,
you have to set yourself on fire
— the prophet torquil campbell
I had googled the above quote, which is part song lyric and part rallying cry for a disenfranchised electorate, just to see where it led me. I have a long list of Essential Things I Need To Get Done, so coming up with creative ways to stall has become a priority.
That is what led me to subwayphilosophy.wordpress.com. It’s one of a hundred billion discarded blogs on the internet, someone’s internal musings kept I suppose as a diary and an exercise in hanging onto sanity in a crazy world. Sometimes you write to survive.
One of her blog posts had used the title “when there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.” If you told me nothing about a person other than that they chose this as a title, I could tell you we would get along just fine. The post is about an old boyfriend who had written her to ask “do you need to be content to be happy?” It’s a lovely post with an interesting message. I was smitten.
I read the other day that you can judge a book by reading the 112th page independently. If page 112 grabs you, it’s a keeper. I think random blog posts are the same way. Given that I have a Long List of Essential Things I Need To Get Done, I started reading.
Mid-20s, professional writer of some sort, serial job changer. Likes Spoon. Writes stuff like “I keep my thinking cap next to my drinking cap” and “Three quarters of the way through we reached up our hands to stop everything but by then it was too late, by then things had been set in motion and there was nothing but a Sisyphusian sigh and the memories of what we had and the knowledge that what was to come might not fit into the photo frame, might not look the same under these new conditions, and now that you mention it yes our hands look bonier and the knuckles not so plush, but that’s not what we meant when we said we were growing up, that’s not what we wanted when we wanted something at all.”
She shared her life and love and frustration and drunken binges and dreams on a daily basis over several years. She is a fan of David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” And yes, she relentlessly rides the subway, where I suppose much of the blog originates.
The blog begins in 2007 as she begins her roller-coaster career in publishing and writing the Great American Novel. Too many boyfriends, too much booze, too many ping-pong balls in her head. The last entry is September 2013. She’s in a dentist’s chair. The drugs have just kicked in. She drifts off … forever.
There’s no name, no forwarding address, no goodbye. Just seven years of someone’s life and dreams, a little message in a bottle floating up on the shores of the interwebz.
Did she find her true love? Did her novel get published? Did she find the right job as a professional writer? We’ll never know. The blog. just. ends.
That’s the worst thing, and the best, about blogs. They’re not MEANT to be forever. You just go along for the ride. Where the hell IS the vegan antihero these days? and my hidden pony? “your baby smells like my cat.” priceless.
I hope someday that happens with my blog. Someone will be looking up margarine recipes and stumble across this place. They’ll read a couple of posts, pour a cup of coffee, and go back to the the beginning. Scenes From the Sun Ray Park! Let’s see where this goes!
I hope she found what she was looking for. I hope we all do.
And maybe I need to get back to “Infinite Jest.” 82,000 pages coule be just the thing to put off a long list of Essential Things I Need To Get Done …