“I’ve never wanted anybody more than I wanted you. The only thing I ever really loved, was hurting you.”
Inspiration often strikes at the most inopportune moments. As a writer or artist you can spend weeks floating through life on autopilot trying to piece together where you take a story next, or even what story you wish to tackle next. Then, you’ll find yourself sitting in your work space with an eight hour day stretched out before you when suddenly everything just falls into place and all you want to do is start putting pen to paper and catching the fire burning inside of you.
Today was one of those days. And it all started with the opening lines of this post by vocalist Corey Taylor. The lyrics are ripped from a song released in 2004 by Slipknot titled The Nameless (yep. It’s a music post today), and for the past ten years I’ve found myself continuously returning to this track with a sense of wonder and the thought that there was something I was missing in its construction. On the surface level the song is grotesque. It swings wildly between the adoration and loathing of a lover. Lines of obsession and abhorrence collide in a frenzied cacophony of sound that builds to multiple crescendos before giving way to Taylor lovingly singing the lines above before the frenzy erupts all over again.
It’s frantic, it’s unpredictable, and with the exception of those two lines it’s so conventionally Slipknot that their very inclusion has played at my mind for a decade. Then today as I sat at my desk humming them to myself on repeat and debating where to head next in my creative endeavours they suddenly made sense. There is no lover. Taylor’s not singing about anyone other than himself, or at least in my interpretation he’s not. To me, the song is about a relationship between Taylor and the creative genius in him. It’s almost as though he’s referencing the earliest inclinations of the genius concept, in which one was believed not to be a genius, but to have a genius: a divine entity external to their own being that helped them in their creative practices. Seriously, look it up. A genius in its purest form isn’t a human being, it’s an entity separate to us; a concept that allowed early artists and writers to maintain their own humility when admiration was bestowed upon their work.
But I digress…. Here I was sitting at work with a storm surging through my head as a decade of thought patterns collided and made perfect sense. Taylor’s singing to his genius. He’s crafted an entire song around the loving and loathing that takes place within his mind’s eye as he creates. Here is a man torn between the idea that he wants to create. He wants it more than anything in the world. But he also wants to hurt and destroy the genius inside his head that often leaves him so isolated and distressed. It’s a tragic love story told by a man totally aware of his own shortcomings and one that resonates all too well with me.
I often find myself in a similar headspace. I want to create. I want to write. And I want it more than anything in the world. I’d give anything to carve out a place in the literary world and spend my days crafting literature. Yet at times all I want to do is tear apart everything that I have created and hurt the writer in me. Sadly I’m not yet at that point in my career where writing is my livelihood. I’d love it to be, but I’ve got a long road ahead of me yet. Until that time I’ll continuously work at my craft and I’ll ride out those moments of destructive indifference to my own genius. But thanks to the most unlikely of sources, I’m now more aware of my own inner torments. And I’m thankful that I’m not alone.