on the trauma of privilege.

The night before last I spent five hours analyzing the semantic and performative contours of the phrase “as if” in-text. Tonight, I vacillate between secret applications on one imperious hand, and the abject denial of the pernicious contingency my last ex proved me right in inevitably being on an Other’s.

Accepting that second-guessing intelligence is more harmful than acquiescing to the truth of said intelligence’s brutally proven first nature in its first instance has a lovely indelible flavor, and a third hand is holding spectral position over this amazing Crown Heights studio I’ve enjoyed for two weeks. Nevertheless I remain ever-readied for a second move in two days, and I’m writing fiction like never before on yet another fucking hand, and I threw Anaïs Nin’s “trauma of privilege” motif out the frigid window with fully conscious glee, and I drink under a nomme de guerre with two-dimensional strangers.

I’m beginning to believe in the existence of an intermediary class of inauthentic extroverts, those who are really introverts, yet lack the commitment to follow through, and so make much better extroverts, digitally. No hate, no foul.

Don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be here right now.

I barely touch my social media accounts. It’s kind of exhilarating to imagine the emotional détournement everyone is copping on the hourly, perpetually fighting the urge to conflate their concrete situ with their self-produced produced-self.

But clearly it’s still worse to run from the acts one does, or continue metanarrating one’s failure to act from an abstract, presumably innocent position. My god, the casual ease of blaming one self for hurting oneself, while one freely switches between judge and accused.

In other words, I’m quite pleased with myself, and I know it. Apologies to most readers for the cryptic nature of this post, but look at your fucking clock. Look at it. Goodnight.

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

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.

04.08.2015

More than a month has passed since my last entry here. This time, between then and now, as I hold it in my mind’s eye takes the form of a channel, or current, with more swirling eddies of retrospective questions than any yet in my time so far as a New Yorker. Questions of purpose, questions of knowledge: what kind of life have I been seeking? When have I felt things were going according to plan? When have I felt like there was a plan? It’s as if parts of me have been systematically cut from myself, and put up for board review to the crew of the ship of fools.

It’s so strange how much I’ve expected from people who are essentially strangers. Stranger still, I’ve thought over the past week, how directly I’ve transferred my own voice onto this “picayune” blog, how superlatively narcissistic these words have become. Most others who compose do so in a voice not so different than what one would find on any other social networking site, implicitly praising univocity. Of course, I have full non-consensual access to the voice of imagined dissent, too. The one which crosses oneself on the grounds of what one does not or should not possibly know, but I’ve always felt entitled to expressing my thoughts, and this tendency has only become more fastidious and inexorable as the weeks go on, because no one I live amidst is thinking about these things so directly: Time, Desire, Repression, Eros, Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, Linguistics, Poetry. All whom I’ve personally met and carried on an extended correspondence with are more concerned with mainstream humanism, philanthropy, ideologically-ridden sentimental solace, efficiency, mental ticks, advertising, profit, drugs, modernist ethics, games of categorical denotation, decadence and unconscious hedonism.

But the strangest thing recently, since I returned to that unhappy vocation on the streets of Manhattan, is how quickly I’ve coated myself in psychosomatic, syntactic and rhetorical code. I’ve sunk into myself, embedded my own feelings in my appearance, hidden away from the daily world of capitalist-driven charity and its infinite greed. Why? I’ve not had a single real desire answered (let alone sated) in six months, and the city, in its sound and fury, has no translatable import to my real voice. What I mean is that I have not truly communicated one single word or gesture in this city yet this year.

Everything is mediated. There’s no “there” there, just a husk.

Consequently, anything resembling a real sense of identity has switched tracks from the physical, embodied space of skin, substance and dimensions to the vicissitudes of time itself; I am here, but I am not here. Most of what I think about and feel has as its object things which exist only partially, yes in memories, but also in their manifold interpretations, and the alternate relationships and manners and genders I’d persist in now as a result of them. This multiplicity of past timelines has a substantial philosophical effect; namely, an acute sense of enhanced authenticity; every quip, tick, retort, mood and voice has an entire narrative of its own, each again with another higher-order manifold in alternate origins. The greater the complexity, the more I seem like everyone else; the simpler, the more abstract, odd and exceptional I am. What this means is to be myself is to be a very strange man, indeed.

But it’s the future that completes this shift in personality to the temporal. A dandelion blown away into a gust of full wind no one else believes in, a cloud of infinite forms pausing for a moment to return my gaze.

A man named Arthur living in the upper east side, born and raised, spoke to me for twenty minutes about his temp job, how he’s losing the battle for his house against the forces of gentrification, how he’s facing early retirement, how he has survived cancer despite his family withering away. He is attractive, with gray hair peeking out of his face; vibrant, strong and experienced, yet tired, and afraid. He almost brought himself to tears. He kept repeating “it’s only getting worse, it’s only going to get worse,” looking over my shoulder all the while, addressing what I imagine is his last conversation with the present.

On the subways I read Derrida on my phone, and contemplate the ironic value of how perfectly my former college life’s socially available (and virile) narrative fits into his notion of différance; repetition within origination, the mechanism inside the singularity; the machine in the event. The train transports me between worlds, from my own homebody’d phenomenology of spirit and somber recognitions to the Sisyphean masques of the weekday; the tribal assemblies pre-sales-dissemination, the curious eyes I send away, the spiked coffee to tolerate quantitative individuation, all of it is a strange machine everyone turns into gears for, and I give thanks to myself for having even accidentally given myself a place abstracted enough from the artificial movements of others’ quotidian woes for me to at least have three hours’ physically manifested space which does not forbid melancholy, and tears are fought back on that 2 train to work, every other day, whether I know which thoughts are bringing them to bear or not.

And every night, one promises oneself that emails will be sent, signals made to other machines, other jobs, other feeds and zines and queens, and that someday, someone wrapped up in self-contemplation among the stars of all the myriad ways one’s future-perfect self could turn out will unravel, to Ravel, and appear, laying, pre-stretched and relaxed on this multiverse one was always already treading through.

03.02.2015

I was just accepted for a position on the first floor of The Strand. I think. I was very distracted by an acute case of depression, which I had been doing my best to disguise with sanguine continence. But the calling manager, who overheard my jumping for joy (and giggling with glee) changed his voice’s tone as he explained to me that I would have Tuesdays and Thursdays off. He sounded a little annoyed, much to my chagrin. Then he told me to come in next Thursday (the twelfth), which implied an obvious contradiction.

Now I have this reality-encompassing fear that a) I’m going to walk in on Thursday to the first floor information desk, and the manager will refuse me with a laugh, saying “a job for you at Strand? …hahaha, there is nothing here for you, you pathetic philistine failure!”, or b) that my overzealous exuberance at getting the gig prevented me from hearing a first offer I halfway may have heard him start to say as I failed to contain my excitement about an initial position on a higher floor (or better-standing strand of Strand’s crew) which my ill-timed jouissance convinced him (the calling manager) to renege, and amend, downwards.

I hope I’m just paranoid, but then I also kind of hope I’m not, for my sanity’s sake. Which brings me to the core of my current pathos–I have been feeling increasingly trapped by the rock of my extremelly limiting (veritably castrating) lack of funds and the hard place of both having become so hopelessly mired in psychoanalytic and antipsychoanalytic conceptual theory that my F.A. essay is practically capsizing from sheer incoherence, and the perfidious tease E’s turning out to be, and the vituperative self-loathing automatically ensuing at both having allowed myself to be so easily swayed and the plain, ineluctable fact that I haven’t even kissed a woman in over three months, coupled with the suspicion that this proverbial desert of the real will go on for quite some time, quite some time…

Firstly, I do not need to buy any more books. I do not need any more books. I should not buy any more books. I will not buy any more books. Secondly, I cannot join any more movements, clubs, organizations, charities, institutions, et al, etc. I have stupidly become involved with SMIN again, and an overwhelmingly foolhardy and onerous weight of biopolitical activism is on my shoulders. If I follow through on my commitments to canvass, recruit, train, “activate,” and compose the lion’s share of the 04.14.2015 “NYC shut-down’s” outreach program, there is no possibility of changing or overcoming or ultimately acheiving the desiderata mentioned on the last page.

Tack on top of that (yes, by the gods there’s more) my consenting to join a Mr. W.D. in the development of a re-launch of a (hard) scifi radio show. D’s an aged and rugged patron of the kind of boyish scientistic ogling of the sort of all-consuming impetus to get Humankind to the stars that sees its unconscious telos as being at once manifest destiny, genetic injunction and first cause. He’s nerdy, but incorrigably innocent, or so it seems thus far. He is resolute in his conviction that we should already be on the Moon, mining Helium 3 (what is that?), returning it to the International Space Station (ISS) to fuel not the Earth’s economy, but more, exclusively more vessels into not only interplanetary, but interstellar space, purely out of capitalist fervor, or (at best) piggy-backing capitalism’s (hopefully…or perhaps not) inevitable expansion into space. One thing he is objectively correct about is that we as a species do not have long to dwell on this planet, indeed likely will not survive the 21st century, if our effect on Earth’s ecology continues to carry on.

So. To start, I need to find a way to state my F.A. thesis as simply as possible, adding clarity to its concept in little steps, as all these others and Others pull me in, move on, or stubbornly rest as unreliable constants, at this specific juncture. [And, uh, whatever is to become of Sonder Q?]

03.01.2015

It’s easier to write journal entries in portions as prescribed by blog-writing form, as something I’m obliged to portion, slicing off just enough memory to synthesize some intimation of what will be slated for short-term repression, done to process the myriad observations, recognitions, and the spectrum of narratives formed with decreasing relevance to the actual lives I live amidst, when they’re under the header of a single date. My relationship with time is one of religious devotion to a set of goals, a part of each (the ideological excess of phantasy and self-projection) drives me to bring the parts of each which I do not phantasize about, which do not in fact drive my desire, into being. These undesired things are the necessities; food, money, and the psychological growth and persona-adaptation that comes from engaging a socius, a social body.

A day is an advertisement. Probably for tomorrow. But running on the promise of tomorrow is risky business because it is a teleological thing. And telos is a big tease.

(it never really comes because telos is merely the echo of your being’s possible future-perfect selves, each of which is advertising its respective future in disparate ways, waiting for your present self to stop repressing and step forward)

But about that – repression, or rather a human relationship to the binary of desire and satiation, repressing satiation // generating desire, or reneging desire // releasing subjectivity to a flow one becomes subsumed by.  These releases include acts like sex, self-deconstruction à la Sharing Feelings in a vacuum, insulating the capacity to think with micro-fascisms or mental ticks, etc, etc, and the less I enjoin myself to do the former, the more I find myself slipping into thought-habits circling round the latter. And that is both healthy and pernicious.

I mean to write soon, about a woman I have met, who appears to have mastered the art of instilling desire, and managing, guiding, keeping-dirigible the desiring object’s narratological reliance on the promise of eventual satiation. It’s like neo-teasing. And it is both unhealthy and liberating.

My current engagements keep me from becoming-monomaniacally reactive to said desire-generating femme’s refusal to sate, which is good. Clarity is very important at this juncture.

Soon I will be back on the streets, fighting authority and simulating utopos with the masses.