art of nothing

The Art of Nothing

by Mollie Duvall

Art of Nothing

Dear,

It is Saturday and I am obsessed with the arc in a story.

Let me start over by saying the fickle obsession hasn’t grown into a so called “problem” yet and at every glance a person will find a way to say that humility comes in regular shapes and sizes. Perhaps, it bags its own groceries or even paints its very own toes. It does this to iconically display a varying right or degree of neutrality. Maybe, by staying in the middle ground, we never have to fall short of dancing a wild night in the background or the shadows.

I am in the foreground now.

It is Saturday now, the day of Saturn and here I am busy again taking photographs of my disheveled dresser. The lighting is on point, Instagram will love this I think to myself.

This illness is ever apparent as it runs its needling fingers across a creased forehead. Desire and perseverance are my grounding forefathers while decay is in the details. What is my daily task? As I said before, it isn’t an issue yet. But today, I am supposed to roll the sheets back over my pungent body with the advice of society to only fall short of just one simple to-do. More like to don’t.

I have let the past two years slip aside as I googled emails of famous people. No, I typed in how to get my ideas known. Last week I tried inputting what it takes to make my memoir relatable. Maybe this last one will do the trick while I putter away on the keyboard something along the lines of true stories into film. Should I just search for The Art of Nothing?

You may seem confused now, as am I.

But it hasn’t become a problem, I think. My phone, for all reasons we may believe, will always be just an accessory. Gadgets like these are disposable and can certainly vanish. I’ve got a life loaded into some technology driven carry along. Carrying it to the store to buy bananas on Wednesday. On Thursday dropping by to pick up almond milk from the fridge shelf I know too well now because we are in the foreground. I am in the foreground.

Nearly 6 p.m. and Reddit is not on fire anymore, nor is Facebook or my WordPress stats. A culture inside this screen has failed me, and I roll back over. The mundane is killing my hashtag generation, and I am dying.

Once I was dead, or so I thought. The children I babysat were ghosts and the only way to bring back my body was to fill a bath full of lavender salts while lighting the proper candles just to soak for exactly one hour. This event found its way in between hospitalization number three and four. Yet again I repeat to myself this is no problem. This is the reality I have chosen.

My sister had come to visit last Christmas. After some talking she mentioned that my history was never my fault, it was strictly hereditary. My choices and actions had very little to do with a self-inflicted scenario but the chemistry of my brain does all the hard work. I wish she knew the whole story.

I wish I knew the rest of the story.

Approaching 6:15 p.m. now, I roll over once again. I wonder what he is doing today. That guy, the one from seven years ago. The one with the blonde long hair. In my dreams last night, I apologized once again. I knocked on his door and his roommate answered. We sat together for hours just discussing the timeline from here to there. In my dreams, I can be a simple median in the road. A middle ground from one side to the other. A median is always balanced.

I do often wonder about where the future may take me. That is how one might describe the foreground or the present nature of a subject. Hopefully off the millennial rollercoaster is the landing destination.

I’ll buy my ticket now, please.

Glancing over at the storyboard sitting upon my desk I read down the list of events from age twelve to twenty-nine. I think to myself, they will most likely believe I am the lion they thought me out to be. If I share the details, that is. What can I leave out?

After closing an application, I open WordPress again and check the statistics. No one is reading it. I close it and open Instagram, no one has commented. I roll over a third time because now it is 6:30 p.m.

Didn’t I make plans this evening?

Oh, that’s right, a night at a friend’s to watch the newest episode of Saturday Night Live. What kind of conversation am I bringing to the table tonight? I scroll down the feed in my brain. I don’t think I’ll share the fact that I searched for Harmony Korine’s email for two hours again today. I also won’t let my close companions know about the brief time I took twenty separate photos of my dresser. For the record, the way clothes piled carefully mounting my chest of drawers is very fascinating.

My cat walks in the room, pushing the door ajar.

We relax on Saturday, right? I don’t feel so relaxed at the moment though, I feel more malaise and confused. The ever constant scrolling on my mobile with my thumb is tiring. I’d probably better take a nap.

Love really isn’t a problem for most people, it’s just an obsession.

Piled up next to me is a stack of books as tall as my green translucent lamp. One of those that you might fill with seashells or marbles. Mine is empty, yet still. I pull out a book and knock over the entire stack. This one looks half-read. Half-read like the rest of them.

In the foreground, we read books to their entirety.

I might as well get on the train to career land now. I am approaching my thirties. The empty glasses of water, dirty socks in my floor and cat in my lap all direct me into searching for a job. Giving it five minutes, I close my phone again. This is nearly exhausting, almost.

Maybe it’s narcissism, no, the doctors always said it was a state of psychosis. That’s my reality I suppose, mentally unwilling to accept that. But the loneliness of my self-love is really only found in the pages of some self-help book on my nightstand. Supposedly, that’s where I can find my love. On Saturday, it’s in the memories of a past. My own predicament is this, I suppose. I have found a very loving relationship in the obsession with my mistakes and decisions. It’s nearly a form of happiness.

I’ve got to finish that memoir.

Turning on the phone in my lap, I enter something quick in the google bar. Best memoirs of all time are typed. I scroll, scroll, scroll and click on a couple of the results. These are relevant, my inner turmoil is not. Closing the phone, I let out a big sick of unappreciation for my story.

It’s got to have an arc.

Every take, whether it be long or short has some kind of hump it saddles over. A long-awaited breath taker that leaves the viewer surprised or relieved usually follows a series of climatic events. This is all I have learned from safari today. Also, from that professional man who told me that my story must have an arc.

Can acceptance of ill will be an arc? Can the overbearing child in me find a way to do that? Also, can I acknowledge that perhaps I have already done this?

The truth is that my arc in the foreground is this to you. I find you courageous. With coffee breath your stupidity is every time you might open your mouth. Your excessive sweating and swearing are atrocious. Only you know how this obsession predicament is for survival, and damn you if you don’t believe you had found it.

Your arc is real.

Sincerely,

About the Author

Mollie Duvall

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Just a 29 year old female with a dream to pursue the world ahead.