Chronicles of Dysfunction
My name is Will. Recently my family and I relocated from Washington, DC to a country hollow outside Charlottesville, Virginia. We live in a farmhouse on a hill enveloped by woods and deafening silence. I spend most of my days in a barn exhuming and dusting off creative writing aspirations that I spent nearly two decades in the city burying beneath an accidental career, a hyperactive social life and rivers of alcohol. While I wish I could say I wrote the book on being highly functional – because it would mean I actually wrote something – I was more of a copycat relying on crutches to project vibes of having my shit together. I might have pulled off the charade for another decade or two, but just when the walls seemed to be closing in, when the insomnia peaked and the breath of demons burned hot on my neck, my wife accepted a job at a vineyard in Virginia Wine Country and the cocktail of our life was shaken. At long last I’d have time and space to reflect and resurrect the half-baked novel I'd started so many years ago during a brief spell on the wagon. Finally the chance to summon my muse and pour onto a keyboard the internal monologue I’ve long and self-importantly considered profound and laden with wit. Yes, I’d recover and reassemble the pieces of myself lost in the swirl of city life, cease with the staring into my phone and get to writing.
Two months in, that notion is playing out like most things – simple in theory, a nightmare in practice. ‘Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it,’ goes the old adage. So far I’ve discovered that too much time alone with my thoughts can be quite terrifying and maddening. Did I really just think that? What kind of monster would think that? I have to admit that I sometimes crave the distractions of DC's din and grind. In that shuffle, I could parlay excuses such as time crunch – I’m so busy is a mantra too often chanted – for not asking myself the hard questions. Or I could tip a bottle of brown water. When you fool yourself into believing that what you’re doing is what you always wanted, having imprisoned your dreams in a dungeon for so long, the farce becomes your reality, and you will defend it. It’s a perverse version of Stockholm syndrome, where you stand up for the iteration of yourself that you never wanted to be in the first place out of some twisted sense of loyalty. Suddenly I’m revolting against myself, storming my own Bastille to free the hostage, to shift the paradigm. This is the uphill battle in front of me – synthesizing who I was and who I am, and not losing my mind in the process.
Inevitably country life will transform me and with time it will feel less dramatic than a revolution of multiple personalities. And maybe I’ll write something worth reading somewhere along the line. In the meantime, if for nothing else than to purge the bile of that internal monologue, Country Feedback will be: my scratch paper, my junk drawer of observations, my exorcism, stabs at fiction as thinly veiled autobiography, slices of blatant autobiography, fists full of pasta thrown against the wall.