Absurdity is the catalyst that drives us to change, the fuel for transformation. Simon Hawk is ready to make a change, to be absurd. Will you join him?
Warning: This is not a funny post, satirical article, or witty letter. This is just the truth – my truth – and may get a little dark.
Absurdity is the soul of change. A wise man once hammered out those very words, etching them in the collective consciousness of the internet with the same permanence that sees old GeoCities sites still available through internet archives. In context, this rather handsome individual of deep and resounding discernment said:
Satire matters because absurdity is the soul of change. It’s not until we can laugh at our foibles, our eccentricities, and our mistakes that we can move on to better things. Satire matters because it is the exemplification of the right to free expression. Satire matters because not only is it inherently divisive, but it holds the key to atonement with those who hold views divergent from our own. Satire matters because it brings hypocrisy – that of the satire’s target and its author – to light.
I had no idea how right I was. Especially that last sentence. Egads, this last year has been hellacious, like riding a roller coaster, only instead of being comfortably seated in the last car (some people like the first car, but you get the best yanked-over-the-top sensation from the last!), it’s your job to drag the train of carts up each rise, then catch it from behind and keep it from plummeting down each fall at breakneck speeds. On every level, the last twelve months have been being trying, and I’m not just talking about for me.
What is that old Chinese curse? “May you live in interesting times.” We live in interesting times, alright. We live in times of absurdity.
On the global theater, we’ve seen increased tensions in the Middle East, with ISIS members murdering those who won’t join by the scores, enacting their violence in ways that would make the Marquis de Sade blush. On a cultural level, we’ve lost icons such as Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Prince, people who did not merely entertain us, but who challenged us to think our own thoughts rather than be dragged along by the currents of the popular mindset. Here in the States, our latest presidential race has come down to a liar, a fool, and Donald Trump. (I would have called him something else, but his name alone evokes such a broad disparity of emotions in readers that it becomes and effective epithet.) And don’t get me started on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Paging Helena Handbasket. Ms. Handbasket, it seems the world is going to you.
Things have been wonky on a personal level, too. No, there haven’t been any major deaths or dismemberments (as far as I know everyone still has all their bits still attached!), nor have my molecules revolted against one another in a microscopic civil war. And while this global absurdity hasn’t yet kicked down my door, there have been a thousand needles poking me from within the confines of my own life, shadowy beasts creeping up from the darkness beneath the veneer of the humor-loving fat-and-happy me. The most tenacious of these creatures has a name we all know: Depression.
Depression is the absurdity within. It is the demon whose claws are buried three inches into the soul not because it fought for its hold, but because it forces a person into a state of passive submission, digging those daggers into the heart with tacit permission – and sometimes active assistance – from the victim themselves. Depression is a master of the snowball effect. Once it starts, it rolls onward, growing larger and and more daunting with each thought, all the while encouraging its victim to pile on more dirty, compacted snow for it to add to its ever-burgeoning mass.
The beast is a stealthy figure, obscuring itself behind your memories and your thoughts, insinuating itself into every aspect of your life. It makes itself your shadow, sewn to your feet by strands of your own imagination; where you walk, it walks, and where you hide, it hides. Many who suffer from its virulent ministrations are clueless as to its presence, and those who know they are its victims still have a difficult time shaking off its presence.
See? I told you it might get a little dark. Heck, that was so steeped in shadows I swear I heard Batman mutter, “I am the night.”
I know from firsthand experience just how dark it is. My war with depression has been waged on the battlefield of my mind for over two decades; most days it feels as though I gain no ground. This last year, especially the last six months, has been a grueling reminder of how out of control life can spin. It has hit on every front, breaking down my confidence and leaving me all but helpless. Each rejected resume, every ignored job application, all the letters of intent sent out and answered with a resounding “NO” made me question my value, my ability to contribute.
But as dark as Depression might be, the wily creature is an absurdity unto itself, and because it is an absurdity, the embodiment of things that should not be, it is a catalyst for change, a call for transition. It demands the victim make a choice: change or wither away into a husk.
This is the choice presented to me. Either find the strength to change or wither away to a soulless cadaver. I choose to be strong. To survive. To thrive. To move forward.
Or at least sideways.
To find my place.
So now, after hundreds of resumes and cover letters written, after scores of attempts at finding where I belong, I have come to a conclusion – one I discussed just over a year ago. As I said in that article: I have two skills, two marketable talents, things I do with enough panache to be considered reasonably above average. I write and I speak. Heck, I’m not even particularly funny. I just write things and say words, and I aim to make one (or both) of those of those things a grand player in my search for change.
But I’ve taken this route alone, and I’ve failed, so I’m asking for your help.
Up in the top right hand corner of this page, there’s a little graphic with the words “Support Knozzle on Patreon”. This what I’m asking from you. Support Knozzle – support me – on Patreon. Don’t know what Patreon is? As I said in a previous editorial:
A long time ago writers didn’t sell their works. Instead, they were paid through the generosity of wealthy patrons to whom, in turn, books and poems and plays were dedicated.
Which explains why such dedications tended to be so stuffed with flattery.
Well… Patreon is sort of like that. You play the part of the wealthy patron (even if you’re not wealthy!) and I play the part of the writer. In other words, you (and others like you) donate a small amount to keep me doing what I do. On the individual level, people who donate might get small rewards – “Thank You” notes or invites to Google Hangout Q&As or the odd fur-bearing tropical fruit.
As those small amounts start to build toward something that resembles a living wage and I reach certain milestones, I make changes that benefit both me and my readers, like adding a podcast by octogenarian Melvin Kingfisher, or posting a video of me dressed in a pink gorilla suit doing handstands in downtown Wichita. (Don’t be silly. First, I’m way too large for your average gorilla suit. Second, even at my best, I’ve never been able to manage a handstand. But I’m okay with pink. Real men can wear pink and never bat a long, dark eyelash.)
What I’m saying is I want to build a future, to create something wild and vivid and fun and… who knows? Put words to paper, maybe write something to make people laugh, to brighten someone’s day. From there, who knows where it could go? I have the basics for a studio set up already, so maybe podcasting (with Melvin Kingfisher!) or even YouTube videos. The vision is bigger than just Knozzle, of course, but I’d rather take some small steps now in order to be certain my footing is strong when I begin to make larger leaps.
Of course, this is its own absurdity. Can some guy careening headlong into his middle years really start over, really make something out of mere words? Is it possible to create success out of air so thin? What does the future have in store for me?
Can I go from one absurdity to another?
This is the beginning of a new journey. If you want to come along, drop me a line here at the site, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Or, if you’re so inclined, check out my Patreon page and lend a hand.