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  • Sometimes, when everything seems to be falling from my control into this oblivion, I will read to myself.
    But not just anything - I’ll read my own writing.
    There’s a certain, specific type of narcissism in that, teetering vertiginously on the line between disdain and pride. I read and read and read. Essays, scientific reports, short stories, monologues, reviews and analyses, scripts; anything and everything these shuttering hands and this screaming head has created, out of some sick act of consummation, a process that was set out in blindness, and results in an involuntary, almost inevitable, catharsis. I read it out loud. One page in front of the other.
    I read and read and read. Until my voice is so hoarse that it sounds like I am speaking in an crackling vinyl stereo - until I curse myself because I know I have a choir recital in the morning. Until those innocuous, insidious black glyphs on the page cease to form images, evoke emotions, any more. Until their roar and their croon has become so staggeringly arrogant that it fades into a wretched white noise. Until the words die. Wither, shrivel, and die.
    There’s a sadistic satisfaction in that. Slaughter. Murder. Infanticide, even (Because they're children, sort of. No?)
    Simultaneously an act that is powerful and the pathetic, vicious and the vulnerable. To wear out, to learn to become apathetic to, the sound of your own voice - not just the aural quality of it, but your bumbling, bloated aesthetic. And in the end, I am shaking.
    Because it is at once a reaffirmation and a rhetorical question. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t slept decently for over a month, and eat sporadically and voraciously. Or maybe I’m still suffering remnants of my flu fever in this deceptive, double-sunset, clear-sky-hailing, biting, nipping, meretricious, weather. Or maybe I’m just shaking because it’s been nearly a year of this. This self-loathing. This self-flagellation. A manifestation of an attitude that’s been festering away for a decade and a half.
    No one to blame, and yet everyone - a finger always ready to point, with fierce intransigence, but wavering as it sweeps upwards to deliver the final blow. The aborted pollice verso. Because they should stay where they are. By your side. Not pointing, but just there. Accusatory by their very presence. You. It’s your own fault. Your own fault.
    You silly girl. Incredible how those last three words can echo with such distinctly different melodies, just from a gentle shift in nuance. A minute tuning. I suppose that’s why we’re so fond of adverbs, isn’t it? To avoid misrepresentation, misunderstanding. Or perhaps it’s just that we only ever possess metaphors of things, never the elemental thing itself - perhaps we can only ever attempt to pool, infuse, comprehend, each others’ insulated experiences. Desperately, like doomed lovers, or something else equally visceral and hyperbolic. That’s Nietzsche right there. Huxley too. Aren’t I a clever duck. Another nice epithet. So unabashedly patronising; as though poultry could ever be connotative to intelligence.
    Studied insolence. Sometimes that’s all I seem to be capable of.
    Listen, I’ve done it again. I’ve given birth to another mangled, gorgeous thing. I’ve read it out loud again. Because I am so self-absorbed. It always wins. My words, my voice - it always wins. Was there a competition, a confrontation in the first place? I am delirious. I am corrupted. Is that so bad, I wonder? Madness is genius and all that tosh.
    But ignorance is bliss, too - if we’re going to be trite.
    How is it that I always feel as though I’m writing for an audience. No question-mark necessary there; it’s too imperious for so insipid a query. Nor for this one either: how long has it been that I’ve felt, however subconsciously, that there was a camera following my every thought and movement. How long that pervasive affectation. I’d like to say that it’s my only flaw, but that would be an outright lie. No - in truth, I wouldn’t like to say that at all. Why do we use that as a preamble? Would it not be sufficient to just begin with ‘to say’? The return of the question-mark. Those and the semi-colon are my friends. Introducing, a concatenation - and yet it is in its own way as deformed and stunted as the sentences that it pits.
    I am determined to not stray anywhere near my lonely bed, surrounded by the clutter of teen (or not really, by any archetypical accounts) distraction, because if I do I know that I will swallow all this down as hard as I can, watching it warily as it bobs up to the surface, half-comical, half-sinister, like a lethal game of snap apple.
    I am going to write a half-arsed debating speech about paid maternity leave, and a C-level essay on Australia’s change in diplomatic attitudes and attentions over the course of WWII, and then I will to bed. If only for two hours. Then up again, to force a dry breakfast down my gullet in the name of sacred nutrition, bear the glare of a weary mother with eyes not welling but rather glazed over with hurt and acrimony, spending an hour momentarily cleansed by the pitch and dynamics of choral music, before being shattered by a meeting with the Dean of Senior Schooling, an impromptu and unpleasant national science exam, and then the general frenetic drudgery of school - broken only when I bring home a fellow student to work on debating, a passenger, in both the automotive sense and the metaphorical sense, an alien in the home, borne in a guileless, bemused lysosome, adrift in a world that has immediately been falsified, calcified, the alchemy now theatrically lairy in the face of external judgement. Then shower, then uniform, then drive, then unfamiliar ugly campus, then start-the-timer, then humiliation and resignation, then to a takeaway to devour an abominably inauthentic Sicilian pasta dish, then finally home to reenter the womb, if only one forged from delusion, and fall, catatonic, into the sullied linen.
    How I have deviated from the original point. It’s laughable to think that this was ever going to be conceptually coherent, anyhow. Words. Studied insolence. Et cetera, et cetera. You’ll find in my writing a lot of terms are repeated. Forgive me - I try to avoid this at all costs, for vanity’s sake, but I tend to become fond of the pangs and blips that certain words produce in me, as though it is through recitation, like a mantra, I can rid them of their enigma, stitch up my circuitboards with wordy twine and silk, accumulate a file on them in my parlance database, tagged, complete with all the necessary skulls and quivering arrows.
    Words will always win. Words are the pulse, the stories, that breathe life into my existence.
    When the very last dies, then I swear in all honesty, that I shall die too.
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