On Melancholy

“I was in the woods, and I hadn’t gotten the memo. I wanted my melancholy atypical, nonconformist, kinky. In other words I didn’t want any melancholy at all, but my circumstances made it impossible, because I had to share them with someone else. ”

–Anahid Nersessian

Melancholy is a type of grieving.

It is claustrophobic.

It is incomplete.

It cannot ever be completed.

There is a circle; but you somehow still cannot get back to the other side.

There is always the negative shadow of the signifier, there is always the ghost lurking in the signified; now you are within both, playing with a badly dealt hand.

Your reproach is that of lack, and you revile the nature of time, or more specifically, how time and you do not get along.

Abdication of lost time, abdication of loss itself, and your loss most specifically: this is death. Your loss is death too.

You write about it with majesty, and yet the inevitability of it all gets no respect in your story.

Inevitability is the truly bad character of your story; the hidden puppet master pulling the strings to make you realize that King Arthur wasn’t as committed with free will as you once thought.

As long as you keep talking or writing or producing.

As long as you miserate on failure and fraud and stay in this space, the fleeting nature of the thing and all those other things that are long since gone have been delayed in their step.

The lost object is lost, and now you are too.

Disconsolation.

Maladaptive behviour; how do we avoid the elusive concept of pain?

This concept that many don’t seem to regard as shared or actually happening to others;

How can you be sure it is even happening to you?

When is it actually happening?

Are you even at that part yet?

Have you actually started mourning?

We do this as an alternative to losing it.

Rage, anger, violence.

Instead we do this inward death dance.

Until we can’t.

Neither of these options actually contribute to a genuine establishment of self-awareness.

Self-awareness is making peace with time.

Self-awareness is your body, and mine.

In remembering, you lift a boulder up the hill, and even if this hill seems to keep going upward and upward, you are doing more than the other you that is forgetting.

And if you can crack a smile–

Keats felt it necessary to grasp anguish, crack it open and spread it across the floor, and show how its patterns blend together with the patterns of our ecology.

He felt he was accomplishing something by showing the marriage of reality and melancholy as one.

This is real stuff;

do not let yourself get lost in the symbolism of “death-moths” and “downy-owls.”

This is you

in your bed

on your computer

with a light on

feeling things.

Melancholy is, in part, the invention of a false history and false characters and false settings.

It is fabricated authorship.

The ghost of the author produces the ghost of the reader.

The ghastly wind; we can’t be together.

This chill.

This chill is what makes it so we all can’t be together.

A nightmare of a grecian urn;

in history and circumstance,

the miseried and the miserable,

until another day.

A writer, producer, and musician from San Francisco, PJ Zettle serves as publisher for Sunflower Station Press. He performs under the name DJ Ghosting. His novel "Terrible People" will be out in 2022.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published.