In Conversation with… Sabian Wilde

Marketing Lecturer. Writer. Music Bod. Claims to have coined 'Perthonality'

Imp of the Perverse

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So it wasn’t that I was doing anything bad or destructive that I didn’t want to acknowledge.

Nor was it that I just wanted to ignore that I was doing nothing.

I was treading water, plain and simple… and that feels like progress.

We all have patterns, and mine is usually to work through the crisis point, make sure everyone’s OK and then self-destruct. Yeah, the irony that my self-destruction has often meant other people end up *not* being OK has not escaped me. I’m a irony magnet, me.

And August pretty much began with several concurrent crises, any one of which would normally have been enough for me to be a wreck by now.  I think that having them all happen at once has finally helped me reach some perspective, to help me see out from my own personal nightmare… hmm… maybe that’s why I’m having so many of those when I’m asleep now, because I’m not letting them in during the day.

In Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, the hero is beset with what he calls The Imp Of The Perverse — that voice in your ear that tells you to fuck shit up, to hell with it, see what happens, it couldn’t get worse. Survive enough of these episodes and somehow it becomes an easier and easier voice to follow… but that’s part of an argument I have probably already expressed here somewhere — classify yourself as a survivor and you’ll tend to be reckless just to prove it.

But anyway… treading water… In the past, I have always attempted to swim against the tide of misfortune, only to drown when I’m out of the rip because I’m too tired to care anymore.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been treading water — holding a specific place in my emotional current and not wanting to move… that’s what getting older seems to be doing to me most annoyingly — I get ‘stuck’.

My partner had a big fight last Friday, where she stopped just short of calling me a loser — but only just. I have been holding my place, but meanwhile the rest of the world just gets further and further away, and I have lost sight of things that were important to me, such as my work and my training course.

In an aside, my partner also went on to quote me as saying she was the most ambitious person I had ever met, and it’s true, said years ago in one of my deliberate, precise exploitations of ambiguity. So after years of thinking I’d meant it well, last Friday is when I tell her that wanting everything is not the same as achieving it.

So it wasn’t the nicest fight, and it could have been the end of us if I’d let it, but that’s the test really, isn’t it?

So I’ve been trying to work hard since Friday night.

Wrote a story for Beat on Saturday, finished my coursework on Sunday, took all my notes on the novel and actually started writing it on Monday, conducted and transcribed another interview today.

So I’m making my way back to the shore… but like hell I’m going for a run along the beach when I get there…

Someone get me a towel, a coffee and a cigarette.

How’s that for ambition?

Written by Xab

Tuesday, September 21, 2004 at 4:29 pm

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