07.23.2015

It’s been a while. A lot has changed. In myriad ways, I have what I wanted. I’m in a better position than ever to sit down and finish what I started, five years ago, but I’m holding back for some reason. It’s like I’m peering back through the door I’ve already stepped through, reassuring myself that there’s nothing left I could still take with. Could. The subjunctive is a treacherous case, if there ever was one.

I’m still in Manhattan, I’m still in Harlem, I’m still willingly single, but I am suddenly free, freer than I’ve ever been, and it scares the hell out of me. I’ve been thinking about the will to not not write, and my own relationship to the stories and concepts I’ve chosen to live amidst for so long. I don’t really have friends, but I do have conversations. They go on for days, and there’s a certain cryptobiologic to the timing in opening each subject.

You should see me on the streets now. When I walk, I engender anyone I’ve been close to. A grimace, a guard, a flirtatious smile. Everything is certain because nothing is in its place. I’m voracious.

I did meet up with someone familiar recently. We shared drinks and workshopped in the beer garden of a bar in alphabet city. He had a heavy case of culture shock, but it was driven by narcissism with a dash of megalomania. I suppose I know by now how difficult the prospect of rejection can be to someone who lives alone. It was good to see him.

So why am I writing this here. I’m thinking to myself that it’s about time. I’m stalled eclipsing the moon, and I’m going to enjoy the way down.

It’s going to be one hell of a flight.

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some Recognitions to Workshop

A few words on recognition. The signifying chains said to constitute two discrete subjectivities in psychoanalysis are not distinct, because two subjects would otherwise never be capable of sharing a perception; of having mutual re-cognizance. May the reader not be misled by my choice of the word perception–this is not about what’s usually called the empirical world. What Locke called secondary qualities are here reformulated in the language of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Very little persists in the empirical world (what Locke would say primary qualities signify), perhaps because the question of Origin is senseless. But that’s another matter.

Too often one finds oneself mired in contrite repetition, recognizing the lack of repeating social recognition–that we can’t settle on the same thought, with the same feeling, viewpoint or perspective, one and an other. There’s the feeling of injustice in that–having already progressed through so many traumatic, vituperative, edifying, Truly Trying Times (as we all have), and having since then perhaps stood out in uniquity as one who’s become more perceptive, so much more cognizant than one once was, having become capable of tracing a multiplicity of narratives juxtaposed (or simply opposed) in one moving train that one can not only predict, but understand the temptation to bring every conversation back to oneself, one’s story; one’s “self”–that because of these accomplishments, one has earned the right to require others to reciprocate in diachronic recognition of novel objects, of alternate outcomes, of the perception of social injunction as artistic expression to help what is become more; that if I can focus enough to become what I am, you owe it to do the same, respectively.

But it’s a question of balance (or supplement), of balancing the humane with the human, (supplanting) others’ need for patience with one’s desire for another confrontation with boredom, (supplying) others’ presence to resolve an abductive economy of space.

or maybe henri bergson should be required reading in secondary schools. would this be anarchy? i put this to you.

05.12.2015, unedited.

He was not supposed to be a jealous man. He found himself alone again. He ogles what he once called bourgeois-publications. Their prose, their effortless poetry, the a priori class in each placement of space. He turns. He rebukes himself for comparing himself to the wolves of the lower east side. As an artist. Or whatever. He loves the past more than the present. This is cliché, he thinks. He should have had things, he thinks; he is coming to understand that he wants to rewrite his-story. His up-bringing was too innocent, too honest, too moral. He would rather have bloomed suburban or upper; anything complicit’s worthwhile if the wrong was in the know. They’d rather be right than true, he remarks to himself, when he silently harangues the well-to-do he has known, dated, chased and lost. It’s amazing how quickly the rich pull away from difference.

He’s run out of options. He works a sales job. Of course it’s below him, but then he wouldn’t have to do it if it were, would he, he berates to himself. What’s the point of hating those in the know who’ve never experienced survival as a struggle? The lower class doesn’t know any different; it is not so self-aware. What does he want from envy? Pity? They have summer camps for that. The kids are guilt-trained. Entitlement as first rites. Isn’t that something. The vicious circle always returns. He remembers being told it’s all a matter of feeling, of choosing a viewpoint. His vision is blurring. He has to remember to find a way out of his sales job so that his vision will not fail the night, he thinks. He must remember to have it checked, after he finds a job paying well enough for him to afford the appointment, he thinks. Insurance doesn’t exist for those whose survival is in default. He should not go out, he should train himself to forget how hopeless things are as soon as he steps off the train, he concludes. That will do it, just leave it all behind, the Two Worlds Hypothesis never failed in theory, he repeats aloud.

05.07.2015

So I’m sick for the second time in two weeks, only this time it’s been serious enough to miss work and fall way behind on my writing and reading schedule. It’s all been in my head until this week. Even when I caught that nasty stomach flu in mid-April, I was still able to fill in my remaining free time with make-up reading/writing time. But now. Fuck. I think I’m done writing for BTLG for now, sans the immaturity, it just isn’t worth it. Why would I work for a couple more concerned with forming an onanistic ouroboros, teasing one another with fading flickering images of one another’s future-perfect selves before simply stepping up and admitting “we will, or we won’t” pay me.

But yeah, last time I just cut into my sleeping hours, brought some of my writing material with me and worked through things on the 2 or the N Train, one sentence at a time, if necessary. Never thought I’d become so pragmatic, especially for something I’m doing pro bono. But so no, no more I say! I do not work without cash or networking. What am I, twenty? No way, yeesh, what’s wrong with me. All that happens there is I put way too much work into something I am internally conflicted about, so the work will just reflect this (to me, if no one else), and then it’s impossible to convince these kids to do something to improve motivation, because the former works are then their favorite post hoc reason not to pay or network me (even if it’s of a literary level of its own qua the rest of their project).

So. I was supposed to have a thesis finished for my Sadean experience in the contemporary//pop world thesis like a week ago, and I’m still only about halfway there. I need to reread Gass’ piece and finish my research. I should be able to have a topic by Saturday night, and a thesis by Sunday. That’s that. Fuck titles.

I’ve had so many writing projects since Xmas! It’s insane. I complete like half of what I begin. The ones still floating around are…hm, let’s see: there’s the one about what specifically bodies gain access to through argument, incorporating Deleuze’s BwO, micro-fascist (µF) forces, and how they interact within concrete experience, without succumbing to the frailties of nominalism. If this even makes sense. Nominalism is such a stranger boundary to set, since it can go both ways, excluding either universals, terms or predicates or abstract objects, but not necessarily all of the above. So I guess this is a good thing, though, right? Just pick some relatively inclusive metaphysical conditions, ones compatible with the sort of objectivity found in Logic of Sense, and build a fucking narrative. Probably out of that Out-With narrative essay that was much more of a maniacal narrative than an essay. Now it’s all coming back to me, ah, behold; New York, the shock and the glory…

Let’s see, what else. Ah, the Future Anterior piece. Right, that was never accepted by TNI; no response (and no surprise coming from that plutocratic syndicate, ivy league whutt). But so there must be something else I can use that concept for beyond analyzing a movie from like eight years ago. I mean, it’s, like, around you all of the time, man. Trauma. The pervading temptation to indulge the impending sense of inevitable squalor and psychological ruin. New York. Just last week I ditched work early to check up on another protest gathering at Union Square. I haven’t had a single thing to do with the movement since like January. I think. It’s been too long. But so many different groups have joined since then. Every Union I could think of, legalization organizations, anti-NRA groups, NRA groups, anti-censor groups, etc. Hell, I thought I saw a couple pushing for the 9/11 truth. I guess the hoi polloi of political praxis has thrown in for front-page exposure at this point. But hell, man. What started in Baltimore spread so quickly across the rest of the country. It doesn’t speak too well of me to consider how quickly I forgot about this serious movement as soon as my own health came under question. I mean, it wasn’t forgotten, but I just kind of assume it will be there when I get back into the city life, once I recover. So many things we take for granted, I remember thinking last week, so easily spun into revolution could we be, I remember secretly wishing. Would have blown to have caught that torque at full-illness’ pique.

But so writings. Body, sans bodies (speaking earnestly here, the sheer irony of writing this one in preterite fashion wrt my seven-month-long situ is laudible in its own right). Then there’s FiFAwhich can be so easily related to anything in this NYC-situ. Take your pick, Chuck. Then, hm, ah, yes, I did kick a redux of She Returns into being the week before last, in the days before my last sick days. BTLG probably won’t put it up, and definitely won’t pay, so why bother with them. Re-edit the falling action post-bus-allegory, sans theory, mit prose, ja? Und dann, ich denke…naja, there’s nothing to fear from the Marquis de Sade. Indeed. Except this major sickness I’m pushing through, sans words to any living human. Maybe if I’m better by Saturday I’ll hit up the library. Narrow that topic down, and write a few practice ¶s.

Now, readings. If the state to which I’ve recently discovered I last left my writing projects in is best described with the adjective disorderly, then my readings are pushing the use-mention dilemma for Deleuze’s Chaosmos. Yeah, it’s a neologism. Well it used to be. Get over it.

Let’s just have a list of things I’ve been reading over the past year. At least the ones I’ve not yet finished. Gaddis’ Recognitions, Lacan’s Écrits (although it is true what they say: one does not simply read Lacan), Borges’ Ficciones, Tabucchi’s Time Ages in a Hurry (short, but deep, so deep I can’t bear to read it unless my mind’s in minesweeper-mode), Deleuze & Guattari’s Capitalism & Schizophrenia (both parts; AΘ and 1K Plateaus), Henri Bergson’s Time and Free Will and Matter and Memory (both of which, I’m sure, I will not finish until I finish D & G’s books, or, at most, roughly the same time). More recently, I’ve picked up growing interest in Wittenberg’s Time Travel and Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense, the former of which I’m halfway through, and the latter of which I could probably spend an entire graduate school term ensconcing myself with. I’ve noticed how uncomfortably comfortable I’ve become with ending sentences in prepositions. I’m going to blame this on the homesickness not sated by my four months home last year. I still feel like a damned nomad. Wouldn’t be a big deal if I had the means to cop total alienation. It’s been a long time alone in this body.

I have also noticed how much of this city and my vocabulary fade away when I’m in this boxed-up room, where there’s no sunlight, and no friendly voices, and little to no wifi. It feels like a time machine, in a bad way. A broken vanity mirror on the door. A Chinese charm at top trying its hardest to bless me with wealth and good health, already (it would add). Several lists of old-new vocab, writing prompts and self-written synopses, note cards espousing themselves (in their own words) individually; as ARGUMENTS, collectively; a GENE POOL. A self-portrait of oneself drawing a self-portrait of oneself with a short anaphora about being a white girl in white shirt in black skirt in black light, etc, that I obviously did not draw. Taped to the wall are a few light philosophical reflections on tragedy; deception, persuasion, the spectator and the New School for Social Research. Marcionism & my first abandoned novel. That novel is the biggest long-shot of all, save the secret metaphysics I wrote and burned in the months between 2010 and 2011. So long ago…I do so miss Sophia.

Beyond this schtuff, I s’pose I’ll just resubmit some of my film reviews and essays I’d prepped for the pro bono zine to the better ones who would but they could, like i said, sans plutocracy. Here’s hoping.

Finally. Maybe I should get sick more often. I needed this break to catch up with life. Nah.

Bring it on, assholes.

-b

05.03.2015

After three unsatisfying assignations in one week, at home, in Clockwork Bar and Amy Ruth’s (a southern restaurant), I’ve decided to cool the search for new women. The place I live, the places I drink, and the places I work just don’t have the kind of woman I want. To date the ones I’ve met on the daily would be to regress and cycle back to former versions of myself, as a Henry Miller//wolf, a bright eyes//pathetic man-child or a sycophantic minion of decadence, and I’d rather not drown myself in meaningless sex, or be subject to another woman’s attempt to re-present her debutante self, or slow myself with a nihilistic sigh to the tune of some Sisyphean nightmare in the trenches of some sales-job’s bureaucratic dead-ends. Seriously, even allowing myself to imagine what I’d turn into if I put the day job in front and center on the monthly feels like twisting my own heart out.

My only hope is to become more affective, to swing my internal narrative’s focus from work to play even faster, more efficiently, from the perpetual remastering of shoving the supremely short-sighted three-minute sales-pitch of the most obscenely naive leftist humanism down strangers’ throats to the absolute opposite, subtle and (currently) obscurant research’s pull: objective morality through the guise of the hypothetical torturer, the libertine instilling his immodest primal maxim into the inner-most being of an other, modest subjectivity, in order to supplant one subjectivity with a posited Other’s (e.g. a “community’s”) right to absolute pleasure w/out separation. You know it’s kind of fitting in a really scary way that I’d be mired in the composition of a narrative essay about what contemporary significance Sadean experience has just as I discover how to perform this day job without letting it infect and corrupt my psyche, my mind, my actual world-narrative. I guess there’s still a libertine in me, after all.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the other bookstores I’ve applied to. I really need to get out of this job, before I’m tempted to interpret my writing and studies as nothing more than pathetic synecdoche to basic job security, and the acquisition of basic living desiderata. That would be awful.

What else. My roommates are wingmen now. They go out together after working up their spines enough to look women in the eye (I suppose), and come home together, disguising their disappointment with half-hearted laughter, all the way to their beds. God America can be so dull.

I’m going to more readings now. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll resume reading at open mics myself. It’s been a few years…

I’ve lost touch with all of my old friends, except for one who sends me cryptic messages: an image of a sentimental facebook post, several about certain literary, philosophical or psychoanalytic authors only insofar as their names are mentioned and related with the conjunction “and,” and another guy in Paris who’s suffering from his fifth month of perpetual existential crises. After five years of friends’ taking turns competing for life-crisis of the decade, I’m just not really able to take anyone’s pathos seriously.

That’s the biggest change in the past two months, I suppose. My veneer of indifference to humanity has sunken in. As I’ve said before, I seem to be the only one I currently know with primary and non-egoic interest in more subtle, sensual, conceptual and literary experience.

I don’t know how many more blog posts I will make here. They are becoming rather dull to me (too). I’d much rather just skip it altogether and go straight to editing and writing, instead of taking breaks to write about what isn’t being written yet, or the things keeping me from writing what hasn’t been written yet, or writing about writing, or writing about being happy with oneself in the context of having written what’s been written so far, or will have been written, and whether the idea of having written things by some undisclosed point in the future is ultimately another obstruction, and that one should instead just fly blind, as in love.

Christ I miss love. Can’t believe it’s been five years since my first time’s end. Instead of comparing where I am now with where I imagine she is, I’ll just go out for a final smoke before reading myself to sleep. Next time I’ll put some actual thought into a post, and maybe describe the city in more detail instead of just wallowing in laconic and ambivalent rebuke.

04.22.2015

Many of these sentences will lack cohesion with one another. Apologies. May the reader be assured that there are logical connections, between these lines. My physical life in this city is relatively simple, but my imagination is having far too much fun with itself as of late; winding around another author or philosophy every six days. I do not tout the ideas of whomever I’m presently reading, but continually, nearly continuously synthesize the concepts I’m learning with my writing, and my internal narrative. The things I imagine and think carry me far away from this city I ostensibly exist in, to places more real, where I choose to persist.

Nearly forty days have passed since I began working outside again. With every hour lost, I’m reminded a hundred-fold just how badly I want a better job. I have a list of bookstores and writing gigs, but haven’t yet applied anywhere new. I came close tonight, before another whirlwind of self-loathing and existential terror began. The simple truth is that I can’t survive on the money from this sales job. I don’t doubt my desire to escape, but it’s eclipsed by the desire to continue writing my stories and essays, by the desire to research time travel narrative, by the desire to reacquaint Spinoza and Nietzsche, and my desire to make imaginary peers out of that vaguely affiliated collection of philosophers and cultural theorists once called the incorruptibles.

My opinion of myself and the state of things vacillates so strongly that in one day I know I will both ask a girl out and rock back and forth with arms wrapped around legs, repeating the series of mantras I used to use to keep track of the years’ turbulence with. I suppose I’m trying to say I want discipline, too. I just don’t want to come back to the world of taxes and debts, or my empty wallet and empty bed.

Things may be overwhelming, but my thoughts have become much clearer. I have more critical freedom because my sense of social reference feels more objective. I’m becoming very surprised at my writing. It’s so much more potent and alive and interesting! Not here, though, no, this is me about ten percent awake.

I won’t describe the pieces I’m writing in this post because that would literally be counter-productive. My works progress because I stay loyal to the desire, the yearning behind each piece. It’s fun, though. Each one nurtures a distinct version of myself. It’s a party in here. I have much more to talk about with myself than with anyone else. Especially here, in Manhattan. I say this only because everything intentionally shared is reduced to utility, in this place. Every word squeezed dry for neurotic or micro-fascist value, every confidence transformed into an opportunity for exploitation and mind control.

I really must find a new job, though. I do not believe I can keep this one much longer, because I either do well there or in my writing. I do not have the requisite support to cop both right now, and I do not expect that to change for a while. So I grow. These are the truly trying times. What was it I compulsively wrote on walls last year?

NEVR ALONE, NEVR TOGETHER.

that’s right. fading now.

must sleep.

04.16.2015

I’ve been rewriting this essay i composed in the fervor of cultural shock last summer about the multifarious crises of identity endemic of the phenomenon of an expat repatriating to his country. I name the state i was in with an adjective because the lion’s share of recognitions I suffered upon returning were not of my own ineptness or maligned social habits, but rather the obvious shock everyone else in that country (i.e. this country) seemed to be suffering from.

The subtle niceties seemed unnecessary, the etiquette insidious. My mother’s house, filled with pictures of her (recently deceased) mother and family which had long ceased to exist represented the structure of my mother’s psyche; a model that was synecdoche to the kind of humanity I was choosing to live amidst. And what kind of people were these? Repressed, individualistic in an old, impractical way. Inexorably sentimental and convinced of the superiority of linear identity, of always returning to the same versions of oneself, the same old story: the King sent his son away; he’s gone, but he’s coming back that old boy, he’s coming back to take revenge on the big bad Tyrant. Behold, he’s returned and he’s strong enough to win. I always knew that child would take his rightful place. But the new King has a child who is sent away again by the power of that throne which is really the center of the cycle of life and death…

In a word, I’d returned to the Empire of the Oedipal, and I seemed to be the only free mind here. But I wasn’t an idiot. I reneged the temptation to solipsism by assuming that this home of mine is far too clever to not have a place for this sort of blemish on the psychological landscape, a trail forged by other wacko artists whose foray back into this field of mechanical people was in all likelihood already eaten up, branded and redistributed by the advertising sector of a dollop of corporate presses and other visually syndicated media.

But this metanarrative became my identity; one who will have been nothing more than a remembrance of people who’ve passed, one who was free to float on with (mostly) unmeditated plans for the future, one not responsible for one’s own story, because it will inevitably become something that’s been done before. It’s a little disappointing to know how much of last summer I let go by without making any headway because I was afraid that any progress made wouldn’t be novel enough for “me.” I had my metaphysical thumb stuck out, hitchhiking the psychohistorical current for a lift to somewhere more fascinating. Somehow I landed in New York.

But what I’m looking to resurrect while rewriting that Return for an immodest new zine called BTLG is the non-unitary, potent, radically liberated pathos I enjoyed and suffered those first few nights back in the USA, after I sobered up, but before I stopped not believing the land I was seeing, because it allowed me to exist as pure thoughts and emotions, because the imago formed during this time had neither my past in Vietnam nor the future in the States in mind; my retention and protention were futile by fiat, and I liked it, because somehow (it seemed that) to exist out of common narrative was to exist out of time.