Two Visions

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 could not have significant impact 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.

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 it. 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.

The Real Future #2

I was eating a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and eggs at the local hole-in-the-wall cafe when I noticed the woman sitting at the next table typing. Her laptop had a bumper sticker on it that said “THE PRESENT IS FEMALE.” One of a multitude of bumper stickers, tee shirts, buttons, etc. floating this slogan around, along with the even more popular slogan “THE FUTURE IS FEMALE.”

Even as someone who wrote a rather full-on underground feminist blog under a different name for a period of time, these slogans make me shudder. I thought I’d elaborate more on why, considering the potential for offense in challenging this slogan in my last post.

If you’re going to say “the future is female” then you might as well say “the future is white.” What’s the difference? Except that the first statement looks like progress but does nothing of real consequence other than make some feel vaguely inspired and others resentful, while the second statement looks willfully ignorant and could start a riot.

The exploration of identity and identity politics serves a distinct purpose in personal and cultural growth, as we hope to progress into a better and more enlightened world. So I’m certainly not saying that identity isn’t important. I can’t even imagine a world in which identity wouldn’t play some role. Yet as we choose to create a world in which identity matters quite so much, it’s also true on a grander scale that the whole concept of identity proposes division and thus separation between people. How can we be truly equal as long as we stand divided in camps? It’s hard to conceive of ourselves as fragments of a connected whole. It’s hard to appreciate the beauty of the individual as part of a greater collective beauty of creation. We know we are not there yet. And so we fight for progress.

Yes, I’m a woman. Yes, that matters and there’s lots to say about it. But also, on a deeper level, who fucking cares?

It’s heartening to see people care about feminism and its history. But if slogans such as “THE FUTURE IS FEMALE” served a purpose at one time, perhaps at this point we have outgrown them. If pure antagonism is the point, at least in the ways it’s been tried on so far, is it working? Whatever the intention, validity, and potency before, “THE FUTURE IS FEMALE” suggests we deal with a power imbalance by propagating another one. Perhaps we need new slogans now. Perhaps we need a new vision for the future. And a new creativity.

Identity is important, until the moment of ultimate truth in which identity becomes totally irrelevant in our own minds and hearts. Or at least, it becomes a source of unquestionable beauty and appreciation that doesn’t need to be overthunk. In our most evolved and highest state of consciousness, these divisions don’t even matter. They cease to exist altogether.

And if this level of consciousness is too much for us to reach now or possibly ever, then it is a place we will see in our lifetime anyway, like it or not. It’s called death.

So, how should we spend the rest of our conscious life?

The Real Future

The present isn’t female. The future isn’t female. The present is just the present and that’s a lot of things. The present is black white brown and all the genders and religions and cultures and professions and all of whatever else we are seeing.

The present is simply what we see right now. The future is just human. The future is tired of fighting. The very literal future is beyond hate. Beyond division. Beyond identity, even. The future is human.

The future is beyond having to even see at all.

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.