The only downside to this project, which has been one of the most exhilarating things that I've done in a while, is that it's pretty much not going to go anywhere. Oh sure, I could change the names; Matt Murdock could be Mark Murdoch, whatever. But the concept of Daredevil is so central to the story, and the characters' interaction with each other, that there's no way it'd remain what it is if I changed it. So I'm resigned to it just sort of dying, definitely in my hard drive and perhaps somewhere on the Internet, once it's finally finished.
The upside, however, is that it's giving me the confidence that I don't think I ever had to really write. Write something longer than an incomplete short story (I have too many of those lying around). Write a story that matters from start to finish, a story that explores themes and ideas that I find interesting, and not giving up on the characters, or the story, even when I don't know where it's going. And, really, write. Just write. Write every day, write even when you're not inspired, write especially when you're inspired and the words flow like water in a stream, and this feeling, like I'm doing exactly what I'm meant to do, is incomparable and irreplaceable.
So in this regard, I really feel that the PhD and all that it implies is a second-best option. And because I know it is true, I don't think I can ever shake the regret, always latent, that I didn't have the courage to pursue what I really want to do - write; that is, write fiction - much earlier. The upside, I suppose, is that it's never too late, right? I don't know. Maybe. We will see.
The point of this entry is something else. The point of this entry is a job interview with a university in Hong Kong that I had at 3.30am last Tuesday, and the vague possibility that I might be in Hong Kong for a year if they offer it and if I accept it, and for some reason, recurring nightmares of NEB.
It seems that I dream about him every month without fail. The latest one was a mere variation on the same theme: a longing, a hopeful heart, a dead-end desire, an inchoate relationship. We made plans to meet after something; he never got back to me.
I told E about the dream. He told me that he's not thrilled about Hong Kong because NEB is there (amongst other reasons). He said that he wasn't confident that I would be able to resist him if he were in front of me now. He said that the chemistry and connection would always be there.
All of this is not untrue. As Rui once said, NEB is my Kryptonite. I have a weakness for him, or more accurately, what he represents, that I can't seem to expel completely. I know all the reasons it was never real with him, all the reasons it would never have worked, regardless of distance, of time, of emotional trauma that I was too proud to accommodate, of scars from the past that would probably never completely heal. I know that he is a fantasy.
But it was - is - an intoxicating one. And that's the problem, isn't it? I struggle with the banality of stability, of normality, of a man who is good for me, with whom I am grounded; a man who gives me a relationship that is sustainable, good, and above all, real. I want the things that I don't have, and now that I have the stability that I thought I wanted, I start to resent it and mistake it for stagnation.
I don't know why, much less what I can do to change it, if I can change it. Perhaps I should simply accept that this is a part of me, and will always be; and figure out a way to manage it. This being, of course, my restlessness, my retreating into a fantasy world and ignoring what is real, my perpetual yearning for the kind of moments that I had with NEB - the type that seem life-altering, where time doesn't exist, in which you are spread wide open and he knows every single bit of you without needing to say a word. The connection, the chemistry - so astounding and delightful in dark corners, but so pale and frail in the harsh light of the day.
Hold on to what is real. Write to indulge in fantasies. Makes sense, doesn't it?