This weather is the death of moisture. As if California hadn't been beaten senseless the past few years with a drought, now the Santa Ana winds have come rolling back in. I comb my hair and I see it rise slowly, crackling - my hair is thick, dense. Not easily laden with static. My skin weeps while my eyes are too dry for fake tears.
I saw some fabric that I desperately wanted to own - the print akin to astral vaginal wisps in gray, white, purple, and an odd pink. It was viscose, a luxurious fabric I've never worked on before. It was also from the U.K. and while I'm usually willing to pay a hefty price for the fabric I need in my life, the thought of paying double a yard made my chest clench. This is always how I have calculated the rate of exchange for lbs. Double the dollar.
But seeing as I really wanted this fabric, I decided to hunt down a currency translator. You can imagine my surprise when this 17.00 lb fabric became $13.00. It seemed absurd, it seemed Canada currency loony. And then I remembered: Brexit. Oh, England. Has your lb already plummeted so low? Allow me to profit off of your bad decisions based off of racism and hate. I know, I shouldn't be laughing. We have a presidential candidate who actually has backing and is the face of racism and hate. I laugh to hide my fear.
I've been reading Vanessa Veselka's Zazen and in it, I've found a character I can completely identify with. Everything about Della is familiar to me. Reading her perspective has made many a bad mood day better. The absurdity of the world is familiar.
I'm going to have my picture taken to document my signed fealty to the state. I want to look as soulless as possible. So that when people glance at my picture, they will know better than to take my hand and profess their fascination with my green eyes (not green, grey and that's just a variant of blue).
Socializing is all just a game of learning who to attract and who to repulse, I guess.
Because it's been a long time, and I've seen a lot of movies in the past few months. Also, this was something I really enjoyed doing here.
This is a few off of my list! Hopefully, I'll write about all the others soon. Also, I saw Fight Club for the very first time and 1. where has this film been all my life? And 2. I hope to write something longer on it. Another exceptional film I saw recently was The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
He had throat and liver cancer. Everything was going well with his treatment and then everything wasn't going well. The last few times I had seen him, he held me closely when he hugged and kissed me on the crown of my head.
The worst thing to say is that we all saw it coming. When I was first told that he had cancer, I immediately knew it was a death sentence and was so overcome with grief that I could barely function for a while. But he seemed to be getting better. I wrote the fear up to anxiety.
The general consensus is that if you've dealt with grief constantly, then you're better prepared for it. I've been to six funerals in my life and one wedding. Funerals are more familiar to me than happy celebrations - in fact, I feel uncomfortable in those situations. But it doesn't make me any better equipped for death. Being aware of what one goes through in these times makes grief even worse. I know what will happen. I'll forget the pain over time. I'll forget so much of it that I'll begin to forget his face. And soon, I'll need a photograph to remember what he looked like. And the loss will bury itself deeply, bringing itself out only in glimpses to remind me.
My uncle convinced me that he was the strongest man in the world. He dressed up as Captain America every Halloween. As a child, when he would hug me, I would feel the bristling roughness of his stubble, smell the wine off of him immediately. He would dress up as Santa Claus every Christmas and hand out presents. He cut my grandmother's hair with exact precision when she was too far gone with Alzheimer's. He always had a camera in hand, always documenting our existence as a family. He was a charitable human being from the time he was a child, someone who his students would refer to as their "school dad."
You're probably sick of these link-up thingies that ask questions and what not about novels and characters and such. But when I come home and I'm exhausted, they appeal greatly to me. I'm trying to formulate someway to write about X II - the difficulty is that not much happens other than the same, if the same means showing off mutilated bodies and rambling on about the end of the world (to which Kamui responds to with meh). I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.
So here's this link-up in which the prompt is to write 20 things about a character. I chose Madison.
Apologies for not being around much, I've been working on my costume which will consist of 4 (that's right, 4; I'm insane) sewn garments. It's a character from a video game that will be released in the future and if you know me, you probably already know which video game this is.
I've also been really enamored with the books I'm reading currently, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes and At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell. Bakewell's novel is on the existentialists, with a bit of information on the proto-existentialists and the phenomonologists. Because there would be no Sartre without Husserl and there would be no Husserl without Dostoyevsky. And the effect of the existentialists is followed up to Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright. The thoughts of these brilliant thinkers is fascinating, but the history is even more gripping. Learning how Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre survived in occupied France. Even the small facts, that when the Sorbonne opened up their philosophy test to women in 1927, the students who earned the top two scores were Simone Weil and Simone de Beauvoir. Maurice Merleau-Ponty came in third, but he met de Beauvoir out of it! And Martin Heidegger is a strange figure in philosophical history.
Anyway, the real reason I'm here is to blow off steam by writing about one of my characters again with one of those thingies that is hosted by this site. Ten questions, one character, go. So here's some more on my phlegmatic wonder, Eel.
Collecting is an art form. I collect books, film, music, quotes, screen captures . . . it doesn't matter what it is. The weirder, the better. On one hand, this could be a note on my consumerist nature, raised in America where money is king. But I think collecting objects is a very base human drive. We derive comfort from our things. They remind us of our identity, who we are, who we were because of our purchases. And this comes for me at a time when I'm not entirely sure who I am. It's good to have companions like Blue Eyes, Black Hair, Fantastic Planet, and If on a winter's night a traveler surround you at this time.
I am a collector of the weird and surreal. Titles like A Phenomenology of the Uncanny, Epistemology of the Closet, The Dialectics of Seeing, The Automatic Message (anything with "automatic" actually), Species of Spaces, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (a personal favorite title), Topology of a Phantom City, and The Abyss of Human Illusion attract me greatly. I'd love to own books or more books by Gilles Deleuze, David Ohle, Samuel Delany, Susan Medina, Susan Howe, Denis Johnson, Walter Benjamin, Rem Koolhaas, Jorge Luis Borges, Angela Carter, Anna Kavan, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, Lya Luft, Christine Brooke-Rose, Herve Guibert, Jean Cocteau, Italo Calvino, Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Georges Perec, Cees Nooteboom, Antonin Artaud, Fernando Pessoa . . . I thrive on lists about writers you've never heard of. Like Julien Gracq.
My criteria in most book stores and libraries is, if I've never heard of the author, let's give it a chance. This leads to precarious circumstances in which most of these adventures end in disappointment or boredom. But there's always the hope for that rare encounter.
In a culture where we're surrounded by the same names, the same books, the same films at all times, it's liberating to cultivate your own collection. One of the first steps I took in that direction was to start shopping at used bookstores. I started to realize, early on, that commercial bookstores were usually stocked only with what they expected to sell. Used bookstores are a surprise grab-bag. I couldn't contain my joy when I found Jun'Ichirou Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows lounging about my local used bookstore. And I guess that's the joy, that these things prompt so much happiness and excitement, as if I've found buried treasure. Now I'm trying to cultivate a collection of weirdness at my local library.
I've been considering this greatly lately - this concept of weirdness, of oddity. I can't help but think sometimes, "I'm such a freak." A conversation about films went out of hand and before I knew it, I was giving a whole history of Nouvelle Vague to a co-worker and I had that thought of, "Why am I such a freak for film?" Weirdness is entirely relative. I've had "weird" authors recommended to me only to find them incredibly conventional. I've been trying to read Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warnings and the only thing it has triggered in me is boredom. It's not just a weird subject that's exciting - it's a weird writing structure. I keep thinking back to how excited I was to read Blue Eyes, Black Hair when I first received it and how it did not disappoint. There are some lines from that book that I hold sacred.
That's the oddity of it. To love. And not love for another human being, but an inanimate object. To love the intangible.
If there's one thing that has always been capable of untangling whatever knots I've enmeshed myself in, it's music. And the other day, surrounded by uninspiring albums in a store, I took a chance on a new album and returned to a nostalgic favorite. Said nostalgic favorite was a bit pricey, as it was in a new edition, containing a biographic film as well - these videos contained on CDs can have rather amusing surprises. I remember placing The Flaming Lips' At War With the Mystics in my computer to bring up a screen of a naked woman (her body obscured by lights and faded hues) dancing about chaotically. I don't think this will be the case for the nostalgic favorite.
My sister always told me that growing up, the album she associated her childhood with was The Beatles' Revolver. For me, those albums have always been Harry Nilsson's The Point and Nilsson, Schmilsson. But to stay in the territory of Beatles, The White Album has always had that effect on me. I remember my dad playing Back in the U.S.S.R. for me and explaining how it was written to make fun of The Beach Boys before I even knew who they were.
Oh, and there was the cassette. My dad recorded all of his records onto cassette tapes, and I found the one that contained all of The White Album. I listened to it over and over and over and over . . . Most of my teenage years were spent locked up in my room, reading, writing, watching movies, or singing along with music. And I sang the shit out of Honey Pie. (This is the same reaction I had to Queen's Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy) It's probably been about ten years since I sang to Honey Pie and I still remember all the lyrics to it.
Apologies for the delay in everything. I've been in an Ayato state for the last few weeks, juggling what I should be doing with what I want to do, and the shoulds always win out. Seeing as I usually don't want to do what I should, it results in me feeling overwhelmed and doing absolutely nothing at all.
I think that Zooey has exited my life and this is depressing, as he offered an element of comfort in my life. There's nothing more soothing than telling someone that you're crazy and having them reply with, "Well, I'm crazy too." But I've watched enough Wong Kar Wai films to know that people just pass in and out of your life. The point is to treasure those connections. And I'm happy that he's moving up in the world - partly because I wanted to see him move up, but also because it gives me hope for myself. (Zooey is not actually a Zooey per se. He's actually more of a Buddy. But I started calling him Zooey when I first met him and it just stuck.)
I've been exhausted lately. I even fell asleep during a break once. I'm trying my best to just chug along, but I've been feeling very down about myself. I don't even know who the hell I am half of the time. I forget the things I enjoyed. I haven't written anything for M+I in a while. According to my counselor, I've been incredibly overwhelmed the past few weeks. It feels as though my head is filled with garbage and there's no way to think clearly.
I'm working on it, but this haze upsets me. It upsets me that I haven't written anything on X II, the last few episodes of Mr. Robot Season 1, and Girl Interrupted. It upsets me that I haven't said anything about how much I love Esther Greenwood's character on here. But I'm constantly disappointed with myself. I had thought that being medicated would make things easier - I could be happy. But antidepressants do nothing for happiness. It stabilizes my mood, but somehow it feels as though I have to work harder than I did before.
Perhaps it's because I have to deal with the me that I've been dealt. Whereas before I was distracted by psychoses and an illusion of myself that I believed to be reality. Now I know better, I know more about who I am. And I know I need a lot of work.
I need a mess of help to stand alone, to quote Brian Wilson.
Ha! Posting twice! Bet you didn't see that one coming!
Actually, this is my one day off and I was supposed to spend it writing and learning how to relax. As you may have probably already guessed, I don't know how to relax. It's a foreign concept to me. Sleeping in fills me with dread. I feel in some ways as if I've wasted today, but then I think: I wrote a fairly long post and I sent in my short story to another anthology. I worked on a few Oscar chapters and those are the ones that usually don't get much love from me.
Anyway, I found this thing here and it's hosted by this person and this person and while I've avoided these sorts of things for a while, talking about M+I makes me write more M+I.
And I decided to choose my little boy blue who falls from the sky.
When it comes to identifying with a character due to their ailment, suspicion is one of the greatest feelings that comes upon me. An unnerving sense that the actual debilitating aspect of these ailments will not be done justice on screen and will simply exist to make a character supposedly more colorful, even quirkier, than your average protagonist. I see it happen far too often. It does not make me particularly happy.
I will admit the sole reason why I even had an inclination to start watching Mr. Robot was because the main character, Elliot Alderson, has clinical depression and social anxiety. Like me!, I always think in a joyful, sarcastic way. Like me. Hiding away from society and telling yourself you're better without it. Cynically telling yourself that the world is a terrible place anyway, even though you yearn with a desperation unknown to those unfamiliar with isolation to be a part of that world. And anytime someone shows you an inkling of friendliness, your heart skips a beat. That cynical shield is melted to unveil a vulnerable core that wants this to happen.
I expected to feel anger while watching Mr. Robot, that a show would take something that has been so painful for me over the years and use it as a character trait. As I delved deeper and deeper into the show, I felt something else entirely: