Thursday October 28th 2004, 12:10 am
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

Just when the external drama was becoming fairly minimal (despite the contingency). Just when I was feeling I had, at the very least, a firm grasp on the long list of contingencies. Just when I felt I basically knew what was up what was on what was next. Bless her: ‘I’ve moved into my new house and need to close down my storage unit. Could we make arrangements for the collection of your things?’. Cheers for sorting the piano, ‘saac, but my response to this one was more along the lines of ‘ If you would, as you said you would, send along my suit and sub-fusc from the appropriate box (one of two numbered 21), you’re welcome to do whatever the fuck you want with all of my earthly belongings beyond the clothes I have with me. You could probably sell the synth keyboard in the closet…for a month’s mortgage. Of the books I’ve no doubt you’d enjoy owning many of them (Boxes 1-11 and 17-28, primarily). You might consider selling the CDs found throughout for significant profit at Amoeba – it worked last year as a way to…[survive]…The personal files and whatnot, the journals, papers, undergraduate and graduate papers and research you can leave on the street – although you might retrieve your lamps, from your Oxford days, from Boxes 25 and 26 (although, if you encounter a small black box with cufflinks in box 26, perhaps you would store that for me). All of my bedding, linens, towels, memorabilia, knick-knacks, photographs, and otherwise valueless possessions you can leave on the street as well.’

Inviting disaster? Nah. I had to let it all go once, already, to let the emotional entanglements go. So the stuff? As the dust of the earth, baby.

note to self
Wednesday October 27th 2004, 6:04 pm
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

Letters, bad. Face to face, good. Phone, poor substitute for latter, likely better than former, use with caution. Regarding email, see entry under ‘letters’; text messages thankfully too short to do much damage. Your mileage may vary. Mine almost dramatically decreased, but I’m now adopting the almost-already passe motto of ‘Just chill the fuck out’. Comes highly reccommended. Removes stains and gives you minty-fresh breath as well, apparently.

Tuesday October 26th 2004, 2:22 pm
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

overly-analytical? overly-indulgent? me? jesus wept. Sorry about this, folks. I never thought I’d manage to bring such a pathetic level of whinginess to this site when I started. We’ll see – off to Brighton for, as a friend described it, a knife-fite. Or to climb the summit. Or what the fuck ever. For those reading, whom I know, well, sheeit. May your days be pleasant and involve more or less alcohol than mine.

Monday October 25th 2004, 4:40 pm
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

“Love carefully” a friend wrote beautifully, candidly, sagely not so very long ago – a few months. You know what, though? I don’t want to. I don’t want to love carefully, fall in love carefully, even live particularly carefully. On the one hand, i never have. Essentially everything i’ve done, every woman I dated, for a long time after the first (and only) woman who broke my heart left me, was, in some sense, done carefully. Impulsively, impetuously, yes, caution thrown to the wind along with what I thought was my heart. But the three week ‘weird summer, good year or good year and weird summer’ relationships were careful. As none of them lasted. As I succeeded in hurting myself, and others, but entirely prevented myself from being hurt. And then, this last long relationship. Which was entirely uncareful, despite vague attempts to that at the beginning. Which, I think, has taught me precisely that I don’t regret loving uncarefully. For all the pain, both self- and her-induced, here I am and here I go.

So, in classic me fashion, writing more when on the cusp of a transition, particularly when women are involved, voila. Two entries in one day, plus a letter (god help me, probably a strategic mistake, but when have I ever shied away from those?), plus writing on paper elsewhere, plus yesterday’s writing, and throw in some long walks along the Seine thinking (though not smoking), and over-analytical me, wordy me, unadulterated me is out in force and quantity both. So the basic outline, folks, is that blondie, as she’ll henceforth be affectionately referred to, is coming out of a long-term relationship that ended some 6 months ago. And so isn’t ready for the new one that my appearance and stubborn entrance into her life has been highly unexpected, and thrown her Plan ™ all out of whack. So far so good, although, I must say, my timing – in life, generally – leaves quite a bit to be desired; perhaps a more important skill to work on than mood-lighting. Despite the steadily forward-moving trend of the past two months, give the girl a little too much time on her own, and her mind gets busy drawing lines and protecting spaces and stopping just short of finding reasons to stop short. If you see what I mean, and I think you do. So far so far. The cycle of (her) stepping half back, followed by my stepping half back, then my plunging forwards anyway, then her stepping forwards, has worked so far. Compartmentalised, holding parts of herself back, relying on distance to create space that doesn’t, I think, naturally exist, or come naturally. And then another half-step back last night, followed by my eyes wide open (big) step forward today. Because I don’t want to love, or fall in love, or even live, carefully. Because no matter how badly this hurts, as it seems likely it will sooner or later, the very amazing fact that it can and will is the only reason to do it at all. The last one hurt like nothing I’ve ever really suffered before, and that was my choice. The one before that was so long ago, so shaded and hazed by memory and iconic symbolic reinterpretation, who knows, really, other than it was a hop skip and a jump to the new me from there, and a good 5 years to work my way to some sort of compromise. My life may be utterly contingent and almost farcically out of my control, but this one I can control. I just don’t see the value, for me, in doing it differently. Not so much a sucker for punishment as a romantic beneath the cynic; not looking for pain, self-inflicted or her-inflicted, but less afraid of hurting than of watching a question pass by without having the chance to find the answer. So the best advice I’ve probably ever received I have to choose against. You can say I told you so later, but for now, hang on to your hats, folks, this could get over-indulgent and ridiculously boring. jesus wept someone better employ me sooner rather than later…

cryptic ramblings, or, contingent
Monday October 25th 2004, 10:30 am
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

Just skip this shit if you’re annoyed by crypto-rambling me. There will be nothing of substance in the following. There never is, of course, but let’s not go there at the moment.

I’ll never have the soul of a sage, even when my eyes are those of an old man. On too many edges of too many knives at the moment. And though I’ve done a fantastic job of largely ignoring this fact, or blustering through it, it’s catching up. A couple of ‘what-if’s I can take, but this is well and truly ridiculous. Where to live and what to do and who I am and where I’m going and why I’m going and what’s at the other end and what’s at this end? Beyond passport stamps and job interviews (or the lack thereof), and not having control of my own life (a common theme of late; my flatmate started echoing the complaints of a friend about his un-self-determined future the other day). And, despite trying to take action on various fronts, here I find myself spinning my wheels, not really influencing what comes next. It’s all gonna go down, one way or another, but I just can’t find where I get to vote on the matter. Or how to stay steady between here and then, now and there.

Plus I’m gonna get burnt, perhaps sooner rather than later, on the personal front. Perhaps a ‘The world will end at 10. Details at 11’ sort of news bulletin scenario, but hell, whadda ya want from me? Specifics? Gory details? Suffice it to say I seem to be suffering from chronic, repetitive short-term memory loss. Also known as optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. Which is so utterly uncharacteristically me (and thus, perhaps, uniquely charming. And perhaps fatal – it remains to be seen). Cuz I’m always the cynical one, always the self-protective one. And despite one incident of that shift previously (cf: the party, above, although I believe I suppressed all details beyond cryptic references) I’ve almost entirely led with a glass jaw, or glass heart, as the case may be. Perhaps I need it to be broken? As, despite last night’s caveat amor, and the shaky signs of a job-less recovery here, i rather suspect I’ll lead myself down the path, heart on my sleeve, just for the fuck of it. Or i’ll forget sooner rather than later. I don’t remember what I was saying, as I became enthralled in the cleverness of my own punning, punishing puns. Well and truly babbling now. At least I warned all y’all. Off to go do something, I think. Or not.

Thursday October 21st 2004, 1:49 pm
Filed under: TPT the First Links Tags:


something i have never known
Wednesday October 20th 2004, 12:10 pm
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

Waiting for the telephone to ring. Oh wait, no. That’s someone else. An earlier me. I’m waiting for the printer to finish printing job applications. I swear, sometimes the greatest lust I have for an academic position is the thought of a new computer and a laser printer. Sick, but true. And, on a wholly unrelated note, I highly recommend that everyone go out and buy the latest New Yorker solely for the insert, courtesy CNN, that provides miniature blue donkey and red elephant stickers with a fold-out map of the US to track the elections. The stickers rock.

I had a long(ish) discussion with someone yesterday in which sense of self, self identity, self-dom, the existence of construction of self was the primary topic. We were on opposite sides of the existential fence, as it were. Much, as a friend observed, I’ve trained myself to be alone (cf Interpol’s NYC, ‘I’m sick of spending these lonely nights / training myself not to care’. Well articulated, friend.), I think, too, I’ve trained myself to be me – I’ve constructed myself. A rather disparate assemblage, as well, much the same way I’ve constructed my life, my politics, even, for quite a while, my appearance – controlling the spectrum of possibilities in which people might perceive me. And while I’ve perhaps been more elaborate about it then some, I don’t think I ever really fell into the hack-writer banality of pursuing experience solely to be able to file it under ‘n’ for new or ‘u’ for unusual. My choices in life may have been unusual or erratic at times, moral or immoral or amoral, but they’ve reflected an ongoing process. Which, I must admit, I feel is more accomplished than not. A good thing, that: I’m getting too old to be chasing my tail in hopes of discovering a sense of self. All that aside, whatever innate and ineffable ‘me-ness’ about the whole mess has gone into the process of adding, refining, shaping, modifying that ‘me-ness’ to resemble the ‘me’ I’ve been striving for, however poorly articulated or imperfectly understood at times.

But my interlocutor simply ‘has’ a sense of self. Has always known who they are, why they are, and what they’re likely to do next. Sees in their life a very comprehensible continuity from age 10 to 20 to now. Not just chronological continuity, but a continuity of identity shaped, but not determined, by influences. To the degree that the influences very largely reflect the identity, rather than vice versa. I find this fascinating, compelling, and not a little fucking odd. To some extent I envy the certitude they express in ‘knowing themselves’, a position not exclusive of self-analysis, but not ‘arrived’ at either. I’ve re-invented myself any number of times, and find myself closer, perhaps, to where I started than where I went. But the destination was never without doubt; the process was precisely the bearer of value. Dunno. Crazy shit.

The Art of Alone, Part I
Monday October 18th 2004, 8:48 pm
Filed under: TPT the First Creative Tags:

Ok, folks. Another serialised tidbit of faction or fiction, depending upon your take, like the PsychoChick piece of mid-summer. A few things to remember – one, it ain’t done, so updates may be quite erratic, or even never come. Second up, tough. It’s dedicated to Curro, because of whom I’m unforgivably pretentious, and without whom I might be much less of a francophile twat. Those of you who know what I mean will know.

The cultivation of the skill of being alone requires both a large initial outlay of effort and careful and ongoing tending. This process should very particularly not be confused with the skill of being alone, which perversely can only be fully expressed without reference to the processes by which it is acquired. A simple example can serve to distinguish the two: A man might masturbate for increasingly prolonged periods in order to prepare himself for intercourse with his beloved, intending to bring her to a satisfying climax. The process by which this man is preparing for intercourse, his cultivation of the skill of intercourse, as he perceives it, is in fact wholly separate from the act of intercourse – he is, after all, alone. Thus while a child learning to read can be said to be reading, and a woman learning to dance dancing, a man learning to be alone, although alone, has not the skill of being alone, and is thus never truly, properly, purely alone. The essential and delicate cultivation of the skill, then, is distinct from the skill itself. In turn, being alone bears no resemblance to learning how to be alone.

It is fashionable of late to write handbooks of instruction, in particular those concerned with the functioning of computers, ‘for dummies’. One of the most remarkable aspects of the art of being alone is its butchery, daily, by tens of hundreds of millions across this increasingly warm and slightly imperfect sphere. It is no art as most practice it, nay, not even a skill. Being alone is not at all to capture the perfection of the infinitive, ‘to be alone’. This is no blandly laid-out handbook set in large type for the mentally under-endowed. Nor is it intended for the multitudes who, through choice, happenstance, bereavement, bewilderment, indeterminate deficiencies, or geographic or demographic disadvantage, happen to find themselves alone temporarily, permanently, or otherwise. The selectivity of this libellus is two-fold: in its very circulation, and in its demands on an audience appropriately attuned to the nuanced requirements for the preparatory phases of the acquisition of the skill herein under discussion, namely, to be alone. Should you, the reader, brother, lector, find yourself following Lautreamont’s idyllic flock of geese across the striking night skies of his cracked and fragile pages, or pondering the gaps left in von Eschenbach’s sword of glass renewed in a spring rich in symbolism but devoid of application, or laughing at the tears rather than crying at the laughter left at the discovery in the cemetery prompted by the most fabulous (literally) of confessions, or sitting on the bank of a lake passing the night in prayer and song and the consumption of quantities of whiskey with the shotgun-bearing mind behind the travesty of a parable of justice taken to impossibly unjust extremes, or experiencing anything with reference to coffee spoons as a unit of measure, or, indeed, failing to recognise the hypnotic allure of dystopic wonderlands of inversion and perversion found at the bottoms of wells, the backs of mirrors, alleys, and the inside of flesh, fuck off. To leave the adverbs at Dante’s gates, this work does not suffer fools. Waving madeleines and footwear will not avail you, there will be no abridged version, and, in any case, it will not be televised.

when i wasn’t seventeen
Monday October 18th 2004, 11:23 am
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

OK, so much for a subject other than myself. I’m still working on it. As what do I give enough of a fuck about, other than politics in passing, books in passing, popular culture in passing, a little bit of everything for a couple of drinks, to actually spend time focusing my clearly ADD-ridden or riven brain stringing thoughts and words in a row? Thus, this. Actually written longhand the other night (that’s right, I’m writing elsewhere again! Crazy, huh? And holding shit back from all y’all. so nyah nyah. trust me, though, you’re better off for it.)

A dawning realisation of how not normal my path and past look to others. Yesterday’s expose (obligatory cryptic redaction) recalling a night in my Oakland apartment, vodka shots and cigarettes and ?U2 and a journal entry on innocence lost. On booze and smokes and a tattoo of a fucking children’s book. On being not 12 and not in Kansas. And perhaps I’ve radically over-compensated, spending an awful lot of time on and in the darker side of things. As opposed to being a shy and unhappy but nice enough young kid from a comfortable enough background whose experiences were safe enough and tame enough and internally dark enough. And despite or because of that crisis of the fall of 1995, a decade later I’ve found myself led down the garden path, and what I thought was back but wasn’t, and ended up….with short hair and minimal jewelry and a DPhil. Back where I started, perhaps, attracted to ‘nice’ girls without ink or smokes. Without cigarettes, now, having lost the agony of losing the 12 year old me, but now unclear on what I’ve gained in the losing of the darker paths I’ve chosen, walked, and apparently chosen against.

bad subjects and a headache
Thursday October 14th 2004, 11:56 am
Filed under: TPT the First Tags:

Well, withdrawal is in full bloom. The odd aches, the headache, the twitchiness, the urgent sense of lack. Yee fucking hah. But survived the first night, rolled into one (hmm. smoking inflected vocabulary. bad sign.) with the first night out throwing back pints, with smokers, no less. And other than a manic fiddling with my orange chapstick (see – not everything has to change) which is probably unseemly, but screw it, managed it just fine.

On to bigger and better things, though. I’ve been contemplating the whole TPT thing for a bit, now. And I’m going to try and turn my energies away from academic composition (had enough for a while, thanks) and to some extent from the personal whinge/friend update that is this place (despite the several hundred other non-bot viewers who inexplicably arrive every week; dunno wtf you find here, especially as I find blogs utterly tedious, but sheeit, whatever works), to some OTHER form of writing. Yes, that’s right boys and girls, I’m looking for a Subject(tm). Writing with a purpose, on a topic, with a beginning middle and end not dictated by the exigencies of…err…forgot where I was going, but what about ‘my headache’ as a fitting end to that sentence. That said, it may be, in the spirit of a friend’s newly discovered hard-edged practical business side, a pitch and a chapter, cash up front thank you very much. We’ll see. Or not.