February 20, 2009
Monday, last day, one before today and the other that arrive after that.
I don’t know anything about cars and this is nothing like it; the ignition goes but nothing starts due to lack of fuel.
I keep turning my key.
Smiling is a heavy business, only there seeing as it comes easier when it’s like this, maybe because it’s easier and means nothing; temporary happiness.
I keep turning my key, but I don’t care.
So I do nothing. Just nothing. And that’s the bit that breaks the heart, if I cared, the doing nothing when it should be something.
Day 5. I’m still turning my key.
February 17, 2009
Everyone falls for this at some stage and even when I’m least expecting it, when I’m wanting it least, I fall for it too; I am Derrida’s “bad reader [...] the fearful reader, the reader in a hurry to be determined [...]” (1987:4).
But it only take a nudge, an embarrassing one, to put me back on track? No. To knock me off those tracks, and with such force that I am almost ashamed to look. Why? I’ve made a fool of myself? Believed I was bigger than this? The Authority? Yeh, why not. But more so, I am ashamed to look because I am not ashamed but frightened by there being no tracks anymore. I have bare feet now.
So now I understand, in my humiliated way, that I’ve been too busy reading Cixous than to just let her in by reading. I should be offering tea (if she wants to step over the threshold) but I’m too busy arranging cushions to notice that it doesn’t matter how ordered I make it, how much I reason with it or how strongly I wish to have it. I’ll never have it, and that’s the point. I’m not The Master; I don’t have to fear rejection anymore because I am waiting for it. I am not going to pursue, unless of course I want to experience language turning its back on me.
Language can do that. And I figure it will do it whenever I give chase and name (maim) so that I’m left deserted. Which is no bad thing as long as I am able to sense other things around me, like unexpected moments when I draw sensual relations between eating orange segments and being reminded of you; long, narrow and graceful hands with fingers I could suck.
These are unexpected and they shock me because I strive for these moments but they always falsify me; then they gratify me when it isn’t appropriate for them to do so.
I am Derrida’s bad reader, who thankfully he likes; this isn’t a bad place to start because from here I can at least begin to retrace my steps (1987:4) and I can “reach a goal unhoped for”, “good surprises”, because “we never reach a goal hoped for” (1998:193).
I shouldn’t worry about this; I shouldn’t worry about being rejected by my writing. I should just do
They keep telling me to move freely; don’t worry about it. I’ve repeated myself, but why worry? It’s a thought I’ve met already and it likes me, is still talking to me which means that I haven’t been rejected. I’m certain, like Cixous is believing in the departure and (re)turn – (re)arrival – of writing. No, I am uncertain and anxious because of it. We are moving.
Why haven’t I stopped yet? Because I followed the shadow and found, whilst losing it all over again, that when I am waiting I am alone, and when I grab I am rejected.
I am uncertain, anxious. Unprepared, under prepared, underneath my preparation, inside of it, inside of me, here all the same waiting. And now I stop. I ‘cut’ (1998:191) because I am letting this go; I have ‘been’ enough for today.
- Hélène Cixous, Stigmata; 1998: Routledge, London and New York
- Jacques Derrida, The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond (Trans Alan Bass); 1987: The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London
February 14, 2009
You’re this indistinct image, a sort of gloss covering the surface of everything I see around me. Nothing is left untouched by the possibility of your presence. You’re a phantom that leaves strands of your hair on my pillow, an empty glass left with the faint print of your lips around its edge. The unrecognisable yet on the tip-of-my-tongue smell that I can barely remember from somewhere, a place that I’m yet to be. You’re there.
It’s hard to think of you.
You’re not an object, you’re not anything at all; only a gathering of thoughts and feelings and sensations that stir about in me, remaining wordless and formless until I take the time to push aside the things that get in the way of having you.
I sit down to think about you, to write you and I find myself getting nowhere; the only time when you’re really there is when I’m half asleep and trying to ignore the empty side of my bed, and what I think is the edge of a pillow pushing warmly against my back, becomes you; your shoulder curled into me, your chin resting just behind my neck.
You’re gone when I wake in the morning; I stay in bed trying to keep hold of the warmth you’ve tucked under the pillows, small bits of paper folded in two and quietly trace the outlines of where your hands have been before letting you go and getting up.
It’s still impossible to concentrate on any of this, to bring your far enough into my mind to reach out and touch you; you’re not concrete, not visible or physical. You’re indescribable and effortless, a series of corridors that wind about in all directions and mislead me, leave others unconvinced because half of your lights are blown out and they can’t see you.
I twist my fingers around themselves, squeeze them into the shapes of my distraction and flex the joints further than they’re supposed to be flexed and settle into work. You walk up behind me, silent and rest your arms about me.
I spend hours struggling, trying to overcome the disappointment of your absence and when I finally reach a stage where I can move to achieve something in my day, you turn up unannounced and rob me of any ability I had to form ideas and words and images and sentences and all the things that resemble a working mind; you strip me of my drive and make me abandon all convention, expectation and conformity. You make me leave the strain behind.
So don’t stop. Keep distracting me from the things I’m supposed to be doing because you’re not here yet and there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever arrive and I don’t want to go through any part of my life knowing that I’ve never felt you beside me. Pull the book from my hand and make me look at you, make me pay attention. Drag me from myself because there is nothing else that anyone can say about me, there are no more insults that can make me doubt you.
You’re still keeping back from me as I write this to you, waiting until I’m drowsy so that you can lay beside me and whisper into my ear, fragments of dreams that play out how we first meet and how for once, I am not the bravado I pretend to be. For you, I am shy and this is what you show me of myself; the things that only you know. I’m on the verge of screaming for you.
Don’t ever stop haunting me.
February 12, 2009
It must be nice up there. I hear the view is quite magnificent and that you have sunshine and a breeze in your hair. It must be nice, living above the poverty line and not having to worry about what you’re going to eat next week because all you can really afford is bread, milk and eggs.
You’re worried about eviction? Oh don’t worry about that, some of us have been juggling that one for a while. It’s old news, losing your home. But I guess you should be a little concerned about where you’ll end up if it does happen…
If you ever do end up down here, below the poverty line, try not to think about the material loss because that just adds to the pain of knowing that you’ve worked so hard to get where you are and now because you’re living with a £30 a week deficit, you can’t afford to put yourself out there. That’s the hard bit, being unable to get yourself noticed. Not only are your clothes a bit washed-out, making job interviews sketchy, people generally tend to forget about you. Mainly the people who allocate you life. Oh you don’t know them? I can help you there.
Hard times put a strain on everyone, but down here, it gets a little worse (things aren’t great anyway) because for some reason or another the people who designate you the ability to live, and this is the ability to eat, be warm, have a home with water – not the ability to go out and party it up on a budget of £120 a night five times a week – these people can’t seem to add. Or read. Or understand. And then they have a go at you for it. They’ll tell you to cut your expenditure, get a job or something. And if for some reason you’re not fit to do any of that, they’ll still chip you away. They’re nice like that.
You can try appealing but it’s a lengthy process and you’re not getting any richer. The landlord is understanding in a way, but they will eventually evict you. Oh right, you own your own home. That means you’ll just be repossessed and… hold on a sec. You have social standing? Why are you even talking to me?
Welcome to the poverty trap. Not that you will ever experience it. The only hardship you’ll ever experience in the next few years is not getting that £50,000 bonus. Now. Any chance you could spare a couple of quid? I could do with a warm drink… Yeh, I know I’m not homeless (yet) but y’know, it’s hard down here!
Ugh, y’know what? Just leave.
We can all feel the pinch, but it’s starting to cut off my blood supply.
February 8, 2009
I should be sleeping now but instead I’m raking though Mind trying to find some answers that the medical professionals assigned to me should be providing me with.
I’m beginning to realise that I can’t hide behind this screen all the time; it’s an awkward shape and the wheels are wonky so the bloody thing doesn’t go in the direction I want it to, meaning that I have to keep jumping behind it. And on top of that, it’s that horrible pastel green colour that you find in hospitals. As if my ‘conditions’ aren’t exhausting enough.
So Mind has given me a bit more info than I’ve been able to suck out of the so-called medical professionals. Yes, I suffer from severe anxiety which causes all number of nasty physical manifestations including palpitations, sweating, chest pains, nausea, headaches, restricted (or in some cases, complete lack of) breathing and a huge sleep deficit; yes, my phobias include public, unfamiliar and enclosed spaces, people and occasionally mirrors; yes, I’m aware that walking about doing my thang is usually impeded by the fact that most of the time, my body doesn’t feel like it’s actually there – try walking down steps with feet that you don’t believe to be yours, it’s exciting; and yes, I’m acutely familiar with the fact that these things aren’t going away any time soon.
Doctors wonder why I’m so agitated and unwilling to show them the depth of things. Anxiety is merely the blackhead to my being and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone who considers me a ‘client’ go ahead and squeeze it. You’re not supposed to squeeze them anyway.
A friend told me to get out there and start trying to live again. The thought terrifies me to the extent that I don’t want to get out from under my duvet ever again. The only thing that outweighs this is that I don’t fancy having bedsores. So taking into consideration the suggestions made by my friend and other suggestions made by another friend – little steps – I’m going to do something that Mind has recommended, something that can help me on the way.
I don’t like this being public, but anyone who knows me and I mean really knows me will understand that it is public whether I like it or not because I spack out when I’m in public and behave erratically. It’s sometimes hard not to notice. And why should I be ashamed? Why should I hide? Mental health stigma is rife and I’m tired of being a victim of the politics towards difference… I almost wrote différance then, bit of Derrida leaking through like he does before disappearing…
So yes. The thing that Mind recommends. Focus on positive aspects of my life.
- I’m not afraid, or am becoming less afraid of being different
- I’m developing the courage to decide what I want, how I want it and when I want it, whether it be breakfast, my studies or my mental health treatment
- I have a loving cat who cuddles up to me every night
- I have a dysfunctional family, so I don’t feel like a complete freak
- I love the said dysfunctional family and they love me. And respect me, which I only found out recently
- For those who are my friends, they are good friends and they listen no matter what
- I have no material desire for anything because I already have everything I want
- My bed is uber-comfy
- I’m a good writer and I work hard to become better at being a good writer
- My passion for art and music makes me diverse and at peace with many things
- Books give me a good alternative to a world I don’t feel in contact with
- Nothing feels more incredible than achieving the things I’ve worked hard to achieve
- My diet is healthy and I have lost weight through sticking to it
- I’ve stopped smoking – this time for good
- I orgasm in my sleep. Regularly. I don’t have to do a thing. It’s great
- I live in one of the most naturally beautiful areas in Kent
- I live in a very quiet area
- People love my cooking; I make people happy with my cooking
- Even though I’m always really tired and have difficulty seeing it, I make the effort to build myself a future
- I’m stubborn. Which means I don’t quit
- My personas work well together and have been behaving very well over the past couple of months
- They have also become stronger and together we have taken steps to come to terms with a lot of external phenomena and started pushing back at the force that intends to erase us
- I’m fascinated by the worlds that I perceive and know that the be-all-and-end-all of medical science is not the be-all-and-end-all of me and my personas
- I’m proud to be an individual who questions, picks apart, scrutinizes and points a bitter finger at everything. I’m proud to be a Cynic
- Oh yeh, how can I forget? Women. They’re a very, very positive aspect in my life for many different reasons…
So there they are. Positive aspects of my life. The list is longer than I was expecting but who am I to complain? It’s a good list. Onto the next tiny step I go…
Oh and just a quick request: if anyone knows some really good pick-me-up foods/remedies, please tell me them. I can’t handle being this exhausted all the time. My diet is good, my sleep is broken most of the time and unfortunately, physical exercise sets me back a little at the moment. Think small steps people. I need energy food. I need some of the good stuff…
February 6, 2009
I’ve never doubted for a second that people suffer for their art; it’s almost midnight and will probably be gone midnight by the time I’ve finished writing this, and here I am writing this. This which is my vain attempt to push through that final wall of exhaustion so that I can get to sleep.
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve tackled dense reading material and I’ll admit that I’ve been consciously and unconsciously avoiding the reading for EN878. Not because I don’t want to read it but because it takes a lot of energy, most of which I haven’t managed to recover from the desiccating grip of the past fifteen months yet.
I’m rusty. My memory is shot. I don’t remember the majority of the day that has passed, virtually none of the week that has vanished and last night I was informed that it was in fact Thursday and not Tuesday. So I worked extra hard today, from about 3pm onwards. What I did before that time … who knows.
Bersani and Dutoit are not pleasant reading companions. Their work on Rothko is complex, lengthy and to put it in more physical terms, like trying to eat a mountain with a teaspoon; takes forever, bloody hard work, kinda kills your bowels.
In the face of material that I struggle with or have never encountered before, I put on my miner’s hat and start digging around in the pits of the internet for scraps: small references, definitions, fragments of people who have been doing this for years already, study guides that I know should be questioned for their credibility. I’ll also spend a good hour or so trawling through my growing library of text books, the majority of which come from my Social Sciences degree (oh how handy that has been, so glad I studied it – Mickey Mouse Degree my arse…) in order to find anything worth relating to the topic at hand; I’ll look for anything that can pull the layers apart so that my eyes can remain in their sockets. Perseverance eventually gave me a justifiable source to bring me up to speed on the nature of the epistemology of perception.
I’ve been rummaging about in the online journals, mainly J-Store, for my salvation. Today, I came up trumps. “Nothingness Made Visible: The Case of Rothko’s Paintings” by Natalie Kosoi (Art Journal, Vol. 64, No. 2 (Summer, 2005), pp. 20-31). Thirteen pages of clear discussion on the topic I’ve been trying to drag out of that poxy chapter by Bursani and Dutoit since I got my hands on it before Christmas. What’s even better? Kosoi discusses the chapter, and challenges it. She draws on Satre and Heidegger (all hail SparkNotes, don’t care what you say…) and she just makes sense.
Reading the article came with a price of course. One article, not a major challenge right? If you’re one to let things go or maybe if you have a life with better things to do than read the article in such a manner that you visualise every word to create scene after scene, to the point where you can almost see the author spending months researching and writing it; if you’re not one to suffer for your art, then I guess one little thirteen page article is just another page to turn.
I’m not on top form at the moment anyway and reading this thing, putting all of my effort and concentration into reading it has knocked me back a couple of evolutionary steps. Now I can’t sleep but I’m utterly exhausted. The sickest part of all this, is that as much as I have come to admire and love Rothko, I don’t intend to do carry this topic onto the required 5,000 word essay.
Not that knowing this helps me sleep or anything.
February 2, 2009
Y’know you get to a point in your very small life that makes you stop and evaluate your habits?
I’ve stopped eating dairy. Well, for the most; I still eat a small amount of olive spread as my Dad hates soya spread and I refuse to tip the weekly shopping budget just so I can scrape a measly bit of fake butter across my wholemeal bread. But for the most of it I don’t eat dairy anymore, purpose being that I was intolerant of it when I was born and have been picked on by stomach complaints ever since my parents thought it was a good idea to try me out on the cow stuff. Cramps, bloating, mild nausea and constipation doesn’t sound too bad until you combine them, so the decision to give up the following foods was a relief but also emotionally unbearable:
1. Chocolate … although I can have dark chocolate (more that 75% cocoa), but that gives me a headache.
2. Milk / butter / cream … I’ve not cried too much over this. Plus soya milk is lush.
3. Cheese … this is particularly hard as I’m a great fan of continental cheeses, especially when they’re accompanied by a bottle of red.
4. Biscuits … again, no real biggy as I don’t eat that many biccies. Not a biccie kinda woman.
5. Cakes … this is a bit of an issue, particularly when said cake-age is combined with chocolate.
6. Pizza … the thought of not being able to eat pizza depresses me beyond god-like understanding. Nothing beats a night in with a crappy horror film with a massive pepperoni or vegetable pizza.
7. Yogurt … luckily I’ve found a good Alpro substitute.
8. Crisps … only a problem if you bring popcorn under this banner.
9. Ice cream / custard / desserts … my pudding options are severely limited.
10. Anything else that has a significant amounts of dairy or dairy derivatives in it.
I could go back to eating these things, but I have felt so (digestively) better since cutting these things out of my diet, I don’t think I want to go back to them. Ok, maybe I’d cripple myself for a few slices of pizza, but on the whole (and as long as you discount anxiety related digestive complaints) my gut is pretty happy.
So where’s the problem? Why the mourning nostalgia?
My alternatives consist of fresh fruit and veg. I snack on raisins, oranges, carrots. I cook dairy-free muffins that I call ‘Chaos Cakes’ on a regular basis to enjoy something warm, spongy and relatively chocolatey. Instead of chips, I eat rice; I indulge in humous in wholemeal pitta with fresh tomato and cucumber; my dessert after enjoying an extremely small portioned Sunday roast (smaller than what my youngest nephew eats…) consists of a banana and a Chaos Cake.
I’m stuffing raisins in my mouth as I type.
I’m sensing you’re impressed in some way and maybe wondering why I’m so distressed at this good, healthy change in my diet. I’ll tell you why.
At least I’m losing weight…
February 1, 2009
Two blogs in one night? Nah.
Love remains to be.
Love. Sits at my desk, holds my pen and writes to the cosmic ordering service.
Love keeps me awake at night with ghost arms around me and ghost lips upon me.
Love looks out over the mud flats in the freezing winds and watches the gulls hang upon the air.
Love stands in the kitchen and pours itself into cake mix so that it can warm and rise in the oven.
Love flows across the reed, one long breath that vibrates and brings my sax to life.
Love plays with the edges of the blanket, ignoring time and the television.
Love stops the surge and looks about to see that the walls are silent.
Love settles in my room and makes it warm.
Love warms me.
Love observes the ones who got there before it.
Love never stops wanting.
Love never leaves me.
Love regrets nothing.
February 1, 2009
No wonder people wipe their feet on us. Manners? Please. Sensibility? Indeed. The bottle to follow through on a decision? Oh wait… that one’s a bit too much.
It happens. That weird occasion when predictability goes against our expectations in such a violent manner that it fulfils the things that we were hell bent on wishing it to do. Basically, predictable surprises us by being … predictable.
The thing that might leave you wondering (or worrying if you’re that way inclined) is whether this predictability was drawn into existence by the collective will; the unquenchable desire to master everything even when it’s clear that our control is just an illusion, something to make us feel secure in light of the devastating obviousness that we have little control over anything. We foresee and we remain adamant; we invent and our monster devours us.
So what do we do in the shadow of our vision? We shit ourselves.
I have boots and a good number of layers to wear, a hat and headphones, gloves and whatever else I need. I have stamina and a good tolerance to the cold. I have a thermos. I have dedication, determination. I’ll take a shovel if I have to.
We predict snow and we shut down; the desperation to control cripples us.
It’s … just … snow…