Observation #6

Bad art isn’t low-quality. Art itself is neutral.

It assigns neither meaning nor value to itself. Art is manifestations of consciousness that already exist anyway.

In truth, low-quality has nothing to do with art.

Low-quality is a state of mind. Low-quality is when you think you are better than other people — or, it’s when you let yourself think that other people are better than you.

Bad Writing

I rarely used to write as candidly as I’ve done on certain recent occasions. Breaking the rules of what I’ve felt would be a better thing to write. A more worthy thing. Not sure how long it will last. I’ve felt the impulse waning, and the writing shifts into other topics. But that’s partly a diversion from my tolerance level for my own stories, which aren’t always so comfortable. Although, I’m a little bit of the mind that one’s own story is the most (perhaps the only) quasi-honest thing that they’ll ever have to offer. Writing involves persona, but a persona does have roots.

When venturing into the darker places, I’ve thought “am I making myself look bad?” Aside from the heart-to-heart with close friends, I try to be more enjoyable than that in real life. I try to avoid subjecting people to actual reality. It’s the polite thing to do, right? But this is a blog. On the internet people have a choice to tune you in or turn you off, or just turn your page to a better day. A more productive, enlightened, insightful, less self-indulgent, more palatable day.

I’m inclined to get personal because I’ve wanted to see more of it around and the brand of truth that it offers. And because people like to say things in life aren’t personal, even though sometimes they damn well are. And because some like to say that you shouldn’t write about the personal, and especially that you shouldn’t blog about the personal. Why not? I do it because I don’t want to be a vegetable. Because I am not an emotional zombie. Because nobody is.

Nobody is any of these things, and yet with current trends of cancel culture, conspiracy violence, and a revolving door of media-corrupted and debased relationships underscored by apps treating people as a pizza to be ordered, a mounting loss of respect for basic humanity is upon us. To write the personal is, in a way, to stand for humanity.

It seems tragic to have to remind ourselves that humanity itself is intrinsically worth something. And that it deserves respect on this basis alone. And that humanity is why we are doing what we are doing — everything we do. Because of love. Because of need. Humanity is everything to us in fact — even when we forget this. And we were not put on this earth merely to exist as an extension of somebody else’s agenda, or for whatever our value is or isn’t to them.

So how can the personal be so offensive? Does it seem too… feminine maybe? Too low? Too self-important, unless you’re a celebrity whose stories are automatically more valid than yours because they are rich and famous and you aren’t? And so everyone wants to hear their story, but only for the tabloids to take them down later also? For their humanity. Or is the personal just too real, as if we are not even grown up enough to handle that? What exactly do we need to reject about it? Don’t write about yourself, we’re told. Don’t talk about yourself. Why not?

We have stories. Why not tell them? What exactly is so offensive about a first-person narrative now? Is it really that much more “selfish” than anything else? Or is it just that it doesn’t sell as well as a how-to? Is it less practical and functional? Is it less… “good business”? Maybe even less…. bullshit? Does everything have to be monetized to have any kind of value? Does human experience have no value? Obviously that’s all total nonsense.

To understand humanity one has to get personal. To piece together a complete picture of history, even, we study people’s letters and diaries. Women’s history would hardly even exist without such accounts. Without the surviving poetry of World War I and II veterans, that entire front-line perspective of the very real horrors and consequence and the human cost of those wars would be missing. What about works like Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass? We’d just never know. All the history we’d have then is “big history.” Only life’s biggest winners — the most powerful and influential. And thus grossly incomplete. The personal does have its place — even in research.

Everyone has their take on what’s going on in the world. Everyone has their take on what’s going on with another person, with groups. To write the personal is almost more responsible, because one presumes only to know oneself. Of course we do not really know others, much as we like to think so. We can only theorize. Yet if you write yourself and pretend that the writing is of others — of characters or even real players — it would seem more respectable to forge that little white lie.

Shouldn’t we pretend to be “above it all” to help our career and reputation? I struggle with my own cowardice. To write the personal is to actually share. To allow oneself to be seen, beyond hiding behind signifiers that would elevate our status. But to write the personal is also to subject oneself to something as fraught and complex as the ideology of our own existence. And as fraught and complex as the admission of ourselves as sensory and emotional beings. In doing this, our stories propel us all into bridging the gaps of our differences. Enabling myths to be dispelled and theories to evolve and opinions to expand. Is this why the personal can seem so offensive in theory? Is it too demanding to step into another person’s experience, or even to dive more deeply into our own? The personal can be as antagonistic to core beliefs, as much as it can be seductive for its intimacy. Does its seductive quality make it too easy?

In the darker times I’ve had the thought, would I be writing like this if I were happier? Perhaps no. But I would still be writing something if I were happier. So do I just pretend this current reality of my humanity doesn’t exist? What good will that do? Convince or encourage more people to sit alone on the couch by themselves crying in their own worst moments, thinking no one understands and fearing what will happen if anyone discovers their grotesque vulnerability? That’s no great service either. Will I ever be happy again? I assume so or can only hope. For now, I will at least do something with whatever is going on in the moment. What could I give, as an artist, more than these diverse momentary truths of my existence?

To worry so much about saving face is to never be free. And, I would argue, to worry so much about saving face is to limit what you have to give. To worry too much about saving face — maybe that’s the true self-serving disease.


Observation #1



Fear is the fuel of judgment. And judgment is not exactly perception. Do it anyway. But first, there’s the mirror.

Who is it? Is it real? Is it true? Where does this mind come from?

We like to say, it’s not personal. Don’t go thinking everything is so personal. But also. Everything is personal. Everything.

It’s not this or that. One or the other. It is AND

My style or I guess you could say my interest is the total fullness of life. It is not look at this but ignore that. It is not, fall in love halfway. It is all the way. It is not, take only this but not that. Elevate this but reject that. It is the total fullness of a person, of life.

It is, if you’re going to do something—anything—do it it all the way. Commit yourself. But commitment also requires flexibility. I have not always been willing to take the bad with the good. But when I have I have almost never regretted it. At some point in the process, the self is exceeded.

Sometimes I have committed to misguided projects or the wrong goals. But I don’t believe I commit to the wrong people, insofar that I even could. They’ve been meant for me somehow, and I for them. Sometimes I did not succeed to love them completely enough. Often. I’ve only recently learned how to do this, or to focus upon it better. And I make mistakes. In better moments I own them now, even when others don’t. Apologize, even when others don’t. See someone, even if I am unseen. It’s not a weakness. It’s not a sickness. It’s a clarity I want to see more of in the world. It’s a humility. Not a humiliation. It’s an appreciation.

It’s an expansion of the mind and especially the heart. I want to be in a world with more curiosity and a willingness to grow. If it causes pain, it is more painful to live only for one’s own egocentric and woefully limited consciousness.

My love of art and poetry came first. But I did not love them all the way either, for a long time. I had some toxic influences. Art is a very difficult occupation. Yet an incredibly kind influence also. And almost like a force of nature.

Some will make you feel bad about what you have to offer, as if it’s worth less than something they do. Though they may feel superior, these people’s attitudes are as easy as they come, and not hard to find. Continue. Do it more. That’s the only way. Some do not understand that it is a useless enterprise to try and break someone down, who is not going to give up anyway. They will hardly know that their arguments achieve nothing. They think they know what they are talking about. But they do not know. Nobody knows what is really going on especially outside of their own little bubble. There’s a reason arrogance is unflattering – it can only serve one. It’s someone handing you shit on a silver platter, as if the packaging makes a difference.

People do not reject you when it seems they do. They reject a second-hand idea. They reject a part of themselves they don’t want to see, or would rather disown. Because they do not allow themselves the same freedom. Because they have a template in their mind, or a temple. Your piece does not fit perfectly into their finite puzzle. Because they do not realize that you can have that, and also this. Have me, and also have you. You can have the total fullness of life.

We are single

They want us to think we are single because we are crazy. Crazy is anything unique. They want us to blame ourselves. They want us to get plastic surgery. They want us to be “second-hand people” with second-hand ideas, second-hand appearances, personas, lifestyles, like Krishnamurti said but few people listen to people like him. We think we are too intelligent for that. We think we don’t need it. We think it’s not worth it.

We think we should mute our intensity. Because why take the word of a philosopher that the only way out of mediocrity, is to fully embrace the white-hot intensity of our consciousness. We think there is something better than that. Something better than the full potential of our own brilliance. Something better than the best thing you have to offer. “Mediocrity” used to be something that one would question. But now if you say the same word, you’ll probably only offend someone. In this way, we stand up for it.

We are single because we could never fit a pre-filled idea, and everyone knows it but they also don’t. We are single because we care about this moment right now more than about origins. We are single because origins are something we tear down and forget. We are single because options make us oblivious to options. We are single because we are not comedians, and we live in a place that just wants to be entertained.

We pretend that being different is something exotic, like it’s a value. But then mute our differences to make ourselves more desirable. And then push those same shit expectations on everyone else. But everyone else is corrupted except for us. Everyone else is brainwashed but us. We are free, but a lot less inquisitive than we believe. Brainwashed even by our own image, our own identity, thus rendered shallow. We pretend that we want something deep, yet deeply reject what that means. Crave the serious yet turn it down, staring us in the face.

We are single because we’re imperfect. Single because we are hurt. But this isolation is welcomed. This isolation is celebrated. Single because it is worth it. Single because we deserve it. For lack of imagination, clinging perhaps to a past we once had, an experience, but could never recreate. Single for lack of reality. Single because, even when not single, we think about what makes us so. Or what could.

We are small but we don’t always think so. Yet colossal for reasons we never asked for, and don’t want to be. Single because we have theories. Or for lack of curiosity. For lack of appreciation. And for lack of energy. For lack of creativity. Single for arrogance, intolerance, and stupidity. We are single for sensitivity. And more so, for insensitivity.

We are single for priority. We are single for lack of nuance. And literally, for lack of romance. We are single for personality. Single for lack of character. We are single for fear. Single for pride. And for all that’s petty. Single because we are better than them. But more so because we are worse.

We are single because there is always something better than the best you can do for someone.

We are single because we are singular. We are singular. Yet wary of true fragility and the total fullness of life, refuse to be so seen. We do not even think we are. Someone else is. Someone is whatever we define ourselves against. And this is how we define. Is to separate. We are single because each person we encounter is not worth as much as the pedestal we put ourselves on. Yet we quell our own fire. We are single from becoming, from embracing, the very thing we most admire, most strive for, here. Independence. Freedom.

And its own brand of rejection, for us to excel beyond. Disconnecting. There is a whole world inside a person. Then all its rivals. We are special, yet committed to normal. Our normal. Standards which won’t spark the will to grow. That’s what has the right to exist with us, to stay. If we can find it. The rest is a waste. We serve and take what we already have, and no more. All this, there is nothing more American now perhaps. But it kills us too. We die for it. Die for more. Die to be more. Bereft, for all that could be. We, die. We

die. We, us.

And then we tell ourselves this is courageous.