Our spirits are bigger than the argument
To create something of this time, speaks to the now and may realize impact now. But with no guarantee of a future.
To create something ahead of its time, could only realize that level of impact later. And may not have significant influence now, nor enjoy full appreciation now. But its value may increase beyond expectation later.
Nobody really knows exactly what later will look like. Nobody really knows the values of the future.
But the now has its flaws, and the future is more likely to admit it. The future’s success is the inevitable incompleteness of the now.
And the success in the now, is that which is concerned with yesterday’s weaknesses.
There’s no real future, and no real and true present, without the past.
You can only “outgrow” someone when they aren’t willing to grow with you.
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.
Sensitivity is anti-market
To understand, is an opportunity. To not understand is a choice.
Why? Why? Because I see all that shit and I just think, no no no, show me you. I want to see you, I want to see your actual life, I want to see how you see the world, I want to hear what’s in your head, I want to know you… I don’t want all this STUFF. Do we think it’s that entertaining? All of you diluted and filtered. All of you through links, images, stories, videos, even memes, even jokes, as if you yourself are a channel of electronic transmissions, a free mass media channel, why? you are dangerous. you are an adventure. you are a problem – is that the problem? is the beauty in you too much trouble, the complexity too distasteful. interiors of each other reduced to a business plan. like as if this messy exhausting disaster is so much more righteous. is that all there is to your perspective, who the fuck are you, i want to know you, i want to feel you, you are in the head, you are lost in the collection of crap, a range of crap so unlimited it will always take precedent, will always be more than you, is this valuable? subtlety and mystery give way to vulgarity. you are a medium for everything that’s a medium, do you exist? what do you exist for? look at us the advertisers. look at us pure entertainment. do you know why the world gets away with everything you don’t want? everything you hate? everything you have an opinion about? we do not see you. we do not know you. we do not feel anything much
the stuff keeps us cold. we do not need you this way. we like you, but we do not need you. we like you, but we do not love you
do something. fucking do something
the garbage is telling you that you don’t matter. that’s how garbage propagates more garbage. that’s how nobody knows you. that’s how to play it, fake. and make it, the rise of the lie so paramount and empty. the world doesn’t need it. the world doesn’t need more fake. the world doesn’t even really need your fucking opinions about everyone else’s opinions. the world doesn’t need you to share what it already has. the shit has already been shared over and over. it’s something else the world needs from you. it’s something else so figure it out. nobody will remember your opinions about opinions. nobody will remember it. what do you think people fucking remember? the world is begging you for the only original thing you have. we want to see you
we want to know you
we do not know ourselves either
we need to see you
we need to see ourselves. find us
or we hate and we cancel
that’s what it says. we are going to die one day. what did we do with ourselves? were we garbage? do you know what the fuck i am talking about? it is not your job. it is not your shows. it is not your porn. it is not your humor. it is not your opinions. it is not your links
who the fuck exists? who is a person today? what exactly did you create? what did you fucking create. what did you fucking create. what did you fucking create?
i am not just talking about art
We don’t really know you but if we did we would love it
i can’t find you
i want to know you
We were uncluttered yet impure,
now we are too pure
or we like to think so
Now we are cluttered
we are clutter
but we don’t think so and we
it is okay
this coldness will not last
forever, it is so young
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.
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.
I need to keep growing.
But I don’t need to keep seeking and seeking.
i’m drinking a tangerine Italian soda at 11:20 at night. the apartment is messier than usual. it doesn’t matter. there’s no good enough reason to be motivated to mind. it’s been one of those days. it’s gloomy out. nothing better to do than create things. supplies scattered around everywhere. computers. books. papers. i live here. fully live here. nobody is in my way. but i kind of wish there was.
there are those who would have you believe that doing this sort of thing makes you selfish. selfish to spend so much time on art, like you’re so important. selfish to write about yourself. no, selfish to not be writing about somebody else. talking about somebody else. existing as if you value everything else more so than what is inside you.
as if every other activity out there isn’t selfish. as if watching tv isn’t selfish. the person who assigns worth to something is yourself. the person who decides something isn’t worthy is you. but it feels like it’s everyone else who decides. decides that their meaningless and half-assed pursuits are somehow okay but yours isn’t.
am i supposed to just let the ideas die? what happened to the life of the mind. i literally have nothing better to do. i could make more money and work myself to death but i already have one job and i like it. i just don’t watch tv. i don’t want to. it’s boring. there i said it. it’s fucking boring. except when there’s company. when there’s company, it’s entertaining and enjoyable. that’s how i feel about it. maybe if i really loved alone time with my tv, i’d be too busy for art. it’s practically sacrilegious to say that out loud. i wouldn’t want tv gone forever. it’s just not what every person who exists on this planet is here to do with their time.
making art is not selfish and self-centered just by default. art is for others. as much as for the self, maybe more so. art is made with audience in mind. with communication in mind, however abstract. i use myself but i am not writing to me. I am writing to them. i am writing to you. i am writing for you. when i write, it is you i am thinking of. art is made because humanity desires it. humanity needs it. but i fail. like anyone i fail. so i keep doing it. i show up to fail. i hope the next time i will get it right. it takes a lifetime. but that’s okay. art is made to make the world a better place. a richer, more beautiful and more honest place. imagine a world entirely devoid of art. seriously.
you can be a megalomanic doing any sort of occupation in life. not just art. look at the world’s wealthiest people and how we admire them and excuse their flaws. and then look at poets. it’s REALLY damn hard to be an egotistical poet. maybe for a short time, but it likely wouldn’t be sustainable. poetry is humbling. nobody cares, at least in real life. “nobody” as in, society at large. in most cases it doesn’t pay because the world does not respect you enough to think that you deserve it. it’s even harder to please a crowd than in music, or visual art also. but these are all tricky occupations. you do it because you want to and you feel it is needed. you need it. others need it too and you know it. even if it doesn’t always seem like it, others need it.
you show up as your inadequate self. you may never quite match that pre-filled idea that someone else hopes, and you are passed up for better investments. you are rejected over and over, and in so many nuanced ways. and you show up.
you know that the rest sucks even more. the alternative fucking sucks. so you get up and you start again.
THE LONG, SLOW SCENE
There’s a reason why, in popular movies, it’s rarely the moneymaker…
Time is work now, so time needs a reason. One way to sell the long, slow, or quiet is to use the word meditative, as if to assign a proper function to the act or experience. Otherwise the word used is boring. Meditation – an intentional act of focused attention – has a functional purpose, and more than that, an exciting one. Self-improvement, personal growth, etc.
For its existence to make sense, to have some value.
April 9, 2020
There needs to be a point. What’s the point?
Well what’s the point of anything, really. Can’t anything be considered pointless, from one perspective or another? How much is cheap, superficial, manipulative, etc., but is also entertaining? How much is considered valid, is considered a success, just because it makes money? Is that a good point to make?
If someone chooses writing poetry over television in the evening, if someone almost never watches television, are they just being an elitist asshole?
Who decides what is really valuable – the group, or the individual? It is a real question to ask, and difficult to answer. I speak for myself on clashing with enough stress and anxiety over the group, about being a worker among workers and the other roles I play, daughter, girlfriend, associate, fellow and etc, about not causing offense, I have to talk myself into being an individual also. That this is not only ok, but essential. This individual, the closet poet.
As an artist or writer, of course, function should not have to be the biggest consideration. Nor simply placating – another form of mere survival, of utility. This is part of the whole point of making art. If anything it is helpful to resist functionality which culture already boasts well enough of. Because there is more to life than functioning, plain and simple. There is more to life than spending time, energy, and effort only on practical considerations.
It seems obvious, until you have to fight for it.
May 12, 2020 – May 15, 2020
SELF-ABSORPTION, SELF-PITY AND BEING SPECIAL
- Reflected in cultural values via consumption or covert invalidation.
- Natural to the human experience in phases, as is generosity of spirit, understanding, kindness, caring, and empathy.
- Escalated by rejection, marginalization, and isolation.
- Add one of two words, for giggles: HYSTERIA or EGOTISTICAL.
- Things people say to dismiss certain temperaments, occupations, or situations that they don’t value or don’t understand.
- Things people say when they feel superior to certain emotions, occupations, or predicaments.
- Things people say when they disown aspects of themselves.
- Toxic or counterproductive when overapplied. Unless it’s the basis for a whole career, then it could be a success. See #1.
May 14, 2020
The obvious part is the absolutely majestic creature gliding in the wind over the dark bay cliffs, rising and falling gracefully, confidently. Then there’s the subtle part. The feathers opening and closing slightly at times, partly by the wind, but partly, it seems, for personality, for fun, like dancing. Delicate details that need to be observed very closely to be seen. Or it might as well be a garden-variety bird in the sky. Kinda cool, nothing special. Nothing unique.
The time it took. The sense of space it created in the moment. I felt a brief sense of reverence, before going back to my urban life where I survive like anyone else by way of destruction of the natural because I’m no different in that way. Maybe I just take more time than the average person to watch, to see, to take in — before joining the crowds once again to the disposable lifestyle of take-out containers, fast fashion, high-volume traffic, smartphone apps. We won’t be getting away with this unchecked, as we’ve already begun to reluctantly note.
Now is the perfect time to regard nature, to recover a sense of respect for it within this sudden struggle to now survive the elements that we can not control. Now is the perfect time, because we actually have time, to observe and be with the subtleties in life if we want to, not just gloss over everything. Plenty of time. To appreciate its delicate elements.
We have been the most interesting species, to ourselves. The most worthy of survival, at any cost. Even at our own peril, we are too precious. This sounds harsh but isn’t it true?
Sustained attention to nature is more important now than ever. Nature has more than a functional purpose for us. It is more than just a physical resource, which most of us know, but we need to start acting like it.
May 2, 2020
_E_F-A_SOR_TIO_, SELF-P_T_ AND BEI_G _PE_IAL
- Ozone layer of collective consciousness.
- Amnesia of self as culture, ideology.
- Disaster versus appeal.
May 18, 2020
That flap of roof
Just like a quail
Something that’s truly original must have something unplanned about it. Something that couldn’t have been predicted. Something that couldn’t have been controlled. Something that couldn’t even have been wholly imagined from the start, since that’s what originality is — something heretofore unimaginable. These are the qualities that make it unusual, that make it special. And fascinating, and difficult to place.
They are also the same qualities by which the original resists being owned. As a creation the original comes as an inadvertent and incalculable gift, not merely as a product of effort or ego. The truly original is beyond “practice,” because practice does not require openness, nor does it require surrender.
To allow the original to happen is to take a step back. To fade previously held notions and ideas into the background, to make space. To forget the ego, the control just enough to allow some other voice or vision to speak clearly, without noise.
You can not have originality, can not nurture originality, can not embody it in any part, can not hope for it, can not strive for it, can not hold it, can not truly value it, can not prize it, yet also expect to hang on to old ideas for dear life.
Interrupted or intercepted, its quality becomes disorganized and eventually lost in confusion. But fear will simply neutralize the offering.
This is why the original is available to anyone, but few accept what they would take instead of a blessing, for a curse. Or at least a liability, not worth the risk.
We could be more brave.
This was taken from scraps. Cutouts produced incidentally while creating other black and white paper designs, extras tossed aside in the moment: the true first negative space of those projects, their waste, their remainder. Sifted through the pile of odd shapes belonging nowhere, randomly assorted without purpose. Four pieces chosen quickly, without thinking and no plan, without altering them further in any way, and within minutes assembled together and pasted up this leaning figure. Looks like a lot of things to me but speaks like an example.
Urging to make significant or even delicious more of those elements in us and in the world so easy to reject, to cast out, to trample on, or to simply pass by. Art and poetry are not luxuries but necessities for this reason. To allow the unattended or just what looks like refuse to be seen and voiced and appreciated rather than tossed a token now and again, hardly a crumb. The expendable, impractical, unnecessary – yours and mine too. With poetry especially we have a marginalized form expressing the marginalized in apt communion. To celebrate mystery, quiet amidst the noisy, or to place the unwanted or left behind because are we not all neglected or forgotten in some way and do we not all feel this. To serve the imperfect, the difficult, the unsavory or troublesome, even the scary at times. Our beauty does not exclude these flaws in a culture pretending to disown their existence.
What nobody would detect or consider without looking very, very, closely – art changing our minds about what’s beautiful and worthy, what we’re capable of discerning. Not just a world in which we consume choice fragments of one another relentlessly and treat ourselves so, but a hunger for the whole range and process of a more private experience admired, an intelligence beyond the conspicuous so that every day just a little bit, even just a little to be able to show up and not be afraid to look further. Since it’s the not looking – hiding – that’s more dangerous.
— And since culture’s infinitely richer than it could possibly be credited in any given moment — momentarily magnificent or bewildered or painfully plain. So are we.