11.19.2020

What I Write Is Just Part Of All

If this pandemic is teaching me anything, it's just about how to do all the things I can do as opposed to the things I want to do. It's easy and it's not...


(baked fresh - first time I've made cookies from scratch since [probably] GWB's first term - next time I must cut the chocolate into smaller pieces)

11.12.2020

40 + 1/365


I'm actually already feeling better. I'm tempted to take down yesterday's post. But.

Beyond the self-pity, though, I think there is something worthwhile about the incoherent rantings about: I really do think we are living in some of the most conformist times I have ever experienced.  And I do feel lost between it all, because it's all the same; artists are just real estate agents vying for a different type of real estate.

I would feel self-important but I think what I'm getting at is it's the other way around. I don't get exactly why other people are so enamored of themselves. Not because I can do better, just because better has already been done.

Anyways, though, maybe I'll try and play the game just a little bit in the next year, if only to gain sufficient authority to convince others to stop playing towards building a new game. Or maybe I won't. One way or the other, the near-term goals: love, travel, and a comfortable place to lay my head. 

(And yeah, fine, maybe time for a new career, or just some meaningful stability within the one I already have.)


PS Thanks for the birthday wishes. All the best to you and yours!

11.11.2020

40


At least with the pandemic, the fact that I did nothing today will be seen by others as semi-reasonable I guess.

Not totally nothing; my roommates did chip in and buy me a bottle of Scotch. The first drink I have had since this whole thing started. It's been years since I've enjoyed drinking on a regular basis, but drinking in front of a computer screen, it's the worst, though I did do some good writing here under the influence a few times.

Anyways, I guess I just wanted to say "hi" to the handful of people who still show up here.

I've actually been writing a lot. I think the anger and frustration has made it difficult for me to keep my thoughts in order.

One of my heroes is a writer named Sherwood Anderson. I don't know much about him, really, only read Winesburg and nothing else, but I do recall coming across a quote, years ago, I think in the introduction to Winesburg, the old sky-blue-spined Penguin Contemporary edition that I got probably way back in 93 or 94, which is to say, when I was in middle school. The quote went something like: what we need now is a new breed of men who, at any physical cost to themselves and others, will agree to quit working, to loaf, to refuse to be hurried or try to get on in the world.

I think I'm still trying to grapple with all of the implications years later. Weirdly, I've both succeeded and failed. I certainly haven't gotten on in the world, though I don't know if I have loafed enough, that I have gained whatever one gains admiring whatever ponds or meadows happen to abut the track on which the rat race is run.

As an aside, really, because the preceding and the next paragraphs are meant to be read in sequence, before I move on though, I do want to say that what I really share in common with Mr. Anderson, besides, erm, maybe, squandered promise, is the fact that all of my best writing is done in one take, start to finish, light editing afterwards. Anderson was like this too, when he was writing Winesburg - story from start to finish in one setting, and if he stopped before completion, he'd have to scrap the whole thing and start over from scratch. I have a lot of paragraphs that I can't tie together.

It may be over soon, though. Though I don't see how. My friends, parents, are imploring, gently, thankfully, that I go back to school, but until there is additional stimulus, I don't have the money, and, even then, forgive me if I seem like I am procrastinating, but, even with the money, I don't want to spend it until  in-class tutelage is universal again.

The thing is, though, I have no idea whatsoever towards what end I would take classes again. Maybe that's the point of going back, though, some focus, some discipline, and some re-opening of possibility. Maybe because I have no idea what to do, that's why I need to do it.

Still, I can almost hear my parents now, though, hopefully not, friends. I mean that's how this goes, right? Go to school, find yourself, then when you elect to take, I dunno, a course in art history or philosophy, well, it's all about getting a job, not, you know, that. I'm being vague because I think you already know what I mean. At least it will be my money this time.

And really, at my age, should I even give a shit? It's my fault - I solicit advice, I don't want to hear it. I'm sorry. Actually.

You can infer my birth year from the title of this post and, although I tend to try and avoid trafficking in generational stereotypes, I tend to think of myself as a younger member of Gen X, not an older Millennial, although, in terms of getting absolutely crushed by the various economic downturns and the high cost of living that has characterized this century so far, I guess my life has followed a more Millenial path. That being said, and for all their posturing, I don't think Millenials understand this, what makes me Gen X is the last, expired dregs of the counterculture. I remember. It doesn't exist anymore. Underneath, I think, even the most superficially-rebellious acts of, sorry, rebellion, that I've seen over the last decade or so, is a desire for recognition within the system being rebelled against.

I think I'm digressing. You tell me.

The thing about the counterculture is, well, a lot of younger Marxists want to write it all off, I think, as just more rich kid posturing and just petit Bourg. reactionary blah blah, to see it through contemporary eyes and only by the end result, not what was attempted. It's a cliche to say that history is written by the victors, but it's worth noting that in this context. I mean, if there was someone born in '45 or '55 or '65 or whatever, who tried to stay true, all the way through, would you even know who they were? And whose failure would that be? And what failure would that be? 

It's funny. Every time I've tried to dip my toes back into trying to participate in the world of people who think and talk and write for a living, and, especially, really, especially, when it comes to those who self-describe as socialist or left or liberal or radical or whatever, I've really been struck by the tremendous normatively of it all. Nobody can think of any notion of success anymore that doesn't start and end with the individual. There are so many, I don't know, architects who have so much more knowledge and so many more credentials than anyone could have dreamed of a century ago and yet, all the building are ugly. And not in any sort of transcendent way. Insofar as the word "elite" can connote excellence, not just income or influence, I don't even know why we bother calling anyone by that word anymore. Is anyone really especially any good at anything? 

So it's all normative all around, but without object.

And I hear the word "loser" a lot, especially amongst those who claim to stand against the present. It's really silly, when you think about it: "the system sucks" and yet it's imperative to make someone feel bad if they aren't winning within it? 

Critique is just a brand. Anti-capitalism sells; it's the primary virtue of capitalism, actually.

So the thing about a counterculture, and maybe it's all bullshit in the end and this is always how it was all supposed to go, the thing about it, well there are two and I can't explain them.

First is that if you pledge allegiance to it then you no longer have to worry about being a "loser" because  why worry about failing to achieve something you don't even want anyways? And also, second, and I guess related, I was reading a book by a writer who took some time to write about another book by another writer who talked about culture as a form of protection. That's what can't exist anymore. What doesn't exist anymore. The protection. The notion that one could, amongst others, come up with a set of values to live by and then to live by them as opposed to being merely subject. Protection from the judgements borne of values the one doesn't subscribe to, from the raw vicissitudes.

I don't think it will happen again anytime soon.

The thing about nowadays is that the perspectives seem to multiply in inverse proportion to that which there is to have perspectives about.

Whatever the purpose, the legacy of the counterculture is that there is only antithesis, an ever-expanding world of pluralities in opposition to something that is not there.

I don't romanticize the Beats, but I do wonder, what would Kerouac think about a world where the coffee shops that feature patrons who have read his work are the most expensive coffee shops? It's a pretty dumb question.

And anyways, I'm running out of ideas.

I feel weird about where I am.

Honestly, I think I've avoided a lot of bullshit. But that's just antithesis, too.

The funny thing about being a server, or at least, I don't know what things will be like apres vaccine, is that, if you ever read me here and were thinking you were looking into some portal of how the other whatever lives, the thing it, it's all rich kids, too, ambitious, and if I end up getting out of restaurants, it'll be for the same reasons I got in.

Until then, I'll 

8.19.2020

Infinite Circle

 The problems we face today are the successful realization of the solutions offered to solve them.

Democrats Suck

I'm being bombarded by ads on Youtube imploring me to donate money to the Democrats. 

Even if I wanted to, I can't. I'm still unemployed, and with the expiration of the Federal addition to unemployment benefits, I have no discretionary income. Given that both parties filled their bills meant to to extend Federal aid with additional, obviously-partisan bullshit meant to goad the each party into voting against the proposal of the other party, I can't help but feel that, ultimately, this expiration of Federal benefits was the desired result. As far as I know, neither party is willing to craft a bill that solely pertains to the extension of the previous benefits. I feel more than a little piqued when the people who are deliberately failing to provide assistance to me are now asking for me to provide assistance to them. 

Thankfully, I'm nowhere near the point where I will have to start selling off my possessions in order to eat, and if I get to that point, that money will surely go towards a plane ticket to any other country that will have me. If, on the other hand, Senator Schumer, say, has to start selling off his suit collection to finance a case or two of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli to keep himself alive, I do happen to have $0.62 in nickels, dimes and pennies sitting on top of my dresser that he is welcome to have should he really need the money.

But all of this is beside the point. Each of the fundraising ads that I have seen, some with Senator Schumer, others with Stacey Abrams, features a countdown clock and a little graphic in the righthand corner, a blinking box that encloses the words "LIVE NOW". I'm guessing that "live now" isn't some invocation to celebrate life and to not take it for granted, nor is that phrase meant to be a reminder to pursue dreams and to cherish the company of loved ones and to seek the new arrangements that will allow me, or anyone else, to realize our full capacities as human beings. I'm not meant to be increasingly assiduous when I pet cats. Ironically, the "live" of "live now" does not rhyme with "give" (neither in the sense of the word that would be an invocation towards the noblest and best attitude one human could have towards all other beings, nor as an apt summary of the theme of the advertisements in question). 

As far as I can tell, the countdown clock has no correlation to anything outside of the world of the advertisements themselves, is tied to no external referent. The clock is rather a callous attempt to instantiate a sense of urgency within the viewer, a sense of urgency that can't possibly survive repeated viewings of these advertisements, which have sometimes appeared twice, even three times, over the course of my watching one video. The clock always starts from the same place, and, I presume, ends at the same place as well. As for "LIVE NOW", am I really meant to think that there are a bevy of Senators sitting around in TV studios waiting for the right moment to break into whatever I am watching to talk directly to me? Or perhaps "LIVE NOW" is some new version of "operators are standing by", some attempt to assuage the anxiety of the clock by letting me know that yes, if I want to give money, there will be someone present to receive said money, as if there is actually some time of day or week or year when the Democratic Party would NOT accept a donation?

If the "live" of "live now" doesn't rhyme with "give', it does rhyme with another word, "jive". Amongst many meanings, "jive" is a synonym for deceitful, worthless.

8.15.2020

Hello Again

I've been writing a lot, publishing virtually nothing.

Even now, I've just deleted five paragraphs from what you are now reading.

I tried to write something about masks. About restaurant work. About the "failures" of the negotiations around the extension of the additional unemployment benefits. Honestly, maybe one or two things I had to say were unique. The rest, not so much.

What's getting to me today is just weariness. Some of the worst days in terms of my mental well-being have been days where I actually forget the pandemic is happening.

Today is a day like that.

I don't know that I care for any season more than I care for the days aberrant to any season. The premonition and anticipation. Today is a day like that. It's not that I'm sick of summer. I really didn't even have one. It's just, well, it's seventy-five degrees I can smell autumn and it's the kind of night that seems to place me on the ecstatic cusp of something, somewhere and I find myself yearning and my heart reaching out of its chest and into a beyond that's always just out of grasp and I find myself sitting in a chair near a window and smelling and wondering and feeling and planning and imagining. I ask myself why I am just sitting when (everything) and then. Oh yeah. Keep waiting.

I can rationalize it all. The need for a mask, the having of roommates, the risk to my finances, to my health. It's just that it's too easy, too familiar. There was a time before the pandemic, am I'm not sure I really lived any differently then. So am I lying to myself now? Or just being responsible. Vaccine, please please please please please please please.

I want to live, but will I remember how?

Love.

;-)


7.08.2020

A Funny Little Video

I keep trying to write some sort of something about this. As if everything needs comment.

The Youtube algorithm worked to my benefit and now I am sharing. That's about it. Hope it makes you laugh. Stay strong.