anonymousblack: (logarithmic spiral)
true sacred fire: the contact made in congress, the place where lips meet. the fire of permission, of intimate unspoken pleading. the surface lit bright before charring to ridges and swirls. the sacred fire: the moment of contact. we've come to this moment willingly. in a desperation of senses. no knowledge of what needs to be done or how we will go about doing it. we come to this moment naked, if not from the start shortly into proceedings, as the undressing is one matter that can be disposed of without a second thought or thoroughly luxuriated, one moment after the next, teased over and under expectations like a dish of fresh rose petals held under the nose of a blindfolded playmate. the sacred fire of play, of teasing. of making childish games ritual in the honeyed sway of desire.

and like that we are equals and like that you are in my power, and like that again i am in yours: beautiful goddess, jewel of the heavens, mother of agony and ecstasy, mother of pleasure and shame. ecstatic mother of beautiful agony, listen: listen: torn to nudity in a minute or gently undressed over the course of an hour, it matters little: for each pleasure balance itself perfectly on the scales of true sacred fire. we light up this moment, we light up the sky, we light up each other, over and through: light alight in lightening, a rage of storm-clouded snakes, light alight in the beloved's strange gaze.

how you are in so many ways an abstraction, a pile of self, until the beloved's gaze snaps you into a context where you can see, all at once, who it is that you've become.

who you are in so many ways as an abstraction

in the beast's castle, beauty cannot see herself taking form. in the beast's castle, beauty has not so much forgotten who she was as much as she rebels against new information. for the beast tells her one thing and her prior experience another. for her experience tells her one thing and her pain another, yet. beauty only believes the pain, at first: that's the thing about pain, you can believe in it. you can always at least believe in your pain. anyway, anything worth having is going to be painful: believe it.

beauty in the beast’s castle, alone but for the beast: but beauty is never alone in the castle, for she has her beast. beastly beauty, beautiful beast. it's all leading up to, what is it leading up to, where is this going, what do i need to figure out? surely, i am under some spell. an ancient enchantment. punishment for some sin committed not by me, but my lineage. i am responsible for some long-ago stranger whose wrong i must now right: or the consequences will be grave. my death alone will not be enough. entire townships, innocent villagers, think of the children! my family my family my family, so often the story's hero must resolve a family member's mistake for their own best interests, you know the way of it, or you do if you've been there and most of us have at least once.

and, here on this side of the story, our most important if ill informed quests to put things right have been triggered by a mistake less poetic than plucking a rose off the wrong garden gate or wishing for a daughter at any expense in front of the wrong witch. some of us are trying to short circuit centuries of systemic oppression; some of us are being crushed under the weight of just trying to get people to simply observe systemic oppression: and then there’s the casual "those people," the heartless “not us.” most of our ancestral error is ugly, slippery, uncomfortable: and emphatically unacknowledged. it is costly to speak truth to power. it is very costly. but the truth is: we have turned profit from evil. all of us have. we have luxuriated carelessly in the suffering of others. most of us have. we didn't necessarily know at the time though that's the thing of it: you never know when the shadow realm is about to swarm up in your face with a karmic privilege check, however this year's trend seems to be "must be tuesday."

and we are left, wandering the woods, lost in the castle, circling down the labyrinth. we are left sleepless on the karlstad, staring out over broadcast towers in the dark. we are left strange and miserable: we don't know who to be, we can't understand who we've been, we can't begin to see where any of this is going and as it was, as it should be. our nightly broadcast tower pulse melancholy doesn't necessarily have a lesson all it's own, but it prompts us along the path.

why can't i go back to school, i lament, i ought to have a masters, a masters in creative writing at least. stronger credentials seem like they would be helpful in standing down a few mfa-possessing critics who think they have something over this writer who's bled herself out like clockwork in the course of her independently studied initiations: and they're absolutely right. an mfa is a tremendous accomplishment. won’t help you out as much on the job market as it might have five or ten years ago, but that’s the thing. nobody in power wants to admit it, but that boat broke in half on the way down. it’s not coming back up as a functional vessel. i don’t know that we’re going to have a true renaissance of employment opportunity in the united states until after venid a ver la sangre por las calles. which has been and continues to be something of a problem for those of us who are functionally lovers, not fighters, and chronically ill besides, but.

back to what i was saying: a creative writing mfa is a tremendous accomplishment. unfortunately, it is diminished somewhat when one writer who needed or believed they needed that initiation and were able to rally the resources wields the finished product over another writer who either didn't or couldn't. creative writing is one field sporting that unsporting reality: school only helps to a point. then, you are on your own. on your own to keep challenging yourself. on your own to find meaning in what you achieve. on your own to simply keep engaging with the writing craft. you gotta figure out your own initiations, once school is out, and that’s arguably why i’ve met so many academically successful writers with very little in the way of post-graduate work. sometimes too much school is a method of silencing resistance. self-injury, even.

initiations are a personal matter, best performed in the service of your specific path. there are universal initiations, matters we negotiate by virtue of being human: death, individuation, love. there are others that we choose, and still others that choose us. as called as you may have felt to school, there are other writers who feel equivalently called to something else entirely, and here’s rule one: neither of you has any authority to pronounce the other’s method invalid. schooling can help a writer in many ways, especially those writers still inside their first decade dedicated to learning the craft. the problem is that advanced education has also annihilated more than its fair share of extremely important writers, and not just with student debt. not all of us can survive that much more institutional bureaucracy. not all of us can endure two more years of unholy workshop echo chambers. i examine my own experience against my longing for institutional recognition and see: i’m doing the work of learning to write (i pray to continue doing so as long as i live) and i’m doing it my own way. the reason i’d go back to school would be for the credentials. i hesitate not simply because i don’t have anything even vaguely resembling the monetary resources. the experience itself could have an extremely negative impact on my work.

how much my initiation meant to me, that's how little it means to anyone else, because: we make our own path. we tend our own path. we create and maintain the people we are so we can travel our own path. we determine with our living what our lives will be. an mfa is a tremendous achievement, but it is lessened when a writer uses it either to stop showing up for our craft or for the craft of others. in both cases, it means we’ve stopped showing up for the craft on the whole. in both methods, it’s only a matter of time before the shadow realm swarms up with a karmic privilege check.

then again, maybe it’s just tuesday.

ETA: yeah, i submitted a fifteen page poetry sample in the hopes of maybe getting some MAAF grant action. yeah, i did it on deadline day, at nearly four o'clock in the morning, after deciding NINETEEN TIMES that i wasn't going to be able to pull anything reasonable together in time.

not entirely sure what i submitted. uh oh. but send a good thought. i could really use this.

anonymousblack: (seven)
i neglect pages for nearly two months: i neglect pages for no justifiable reason. now, two months later, in the thick of jury duty, i flip two pages ahead in my primary paper journal without really making a strategy. two pages should be enough for february, i think. even my peculiar brand of vanity in documentation should be accepting of two front-to-back pages for february. what i'm saying is: the content exists, at least. hopefully by the time you read this, whoever you are, likely me, there will not be two blank pages for february, but two pages of handcrafted artisanal entries copied into place from another notebook or, most likely, livejournal. i seem to remember jury duty serving as a return to active journaling (in my active journal, even) once before. so perhaps history shall repeat.

there's so much illusion-making in personal writing. we pretend the things we write are: objective when they are subjective; subjective when they are insane; written in february when they were written march. we pretend to be well-researched and approaching the matter with some form of balance when actually we are livid, just hiding it well. we approach an important issue from an irrelevant angle. we shoot off on weird tangents, assuming that because we can speak with what looks, sounds, and tastes like authority, we possess any authority on the thing at all. even when, let's skip the suspense and just say: especially when we do not. at all. even remotely. we present snippets of dialogue as though they've got anything to do with reality. we present ourselves as righteous, blind with tears of justified outrage, when really we're laughing our asses off at the hopeless absurdity of it or maybe a cat on youtube.

i don't know. i used to think i knew. or i used to tell myself that knowing didn't matter so much: we do what we do to find out. we write our disingenuous dialog in between our greatly enhanced or outright fabricated details and think of it as "creative non-fiction." what does creative mean in this context? it means to create, as in: to construct, as in the truth of the matter exists only at the untouchable core, that which cannot be spoken, only illustrated, only navigated around, described through another medium and never once replicated under lab conditions. oh, do not litmus that text. it will not hold up under scrutiny. it will collapse into dust at the dawn's first light. why do i do this again?

because of a reality only occasionally understood by thrice-initiated mystics and certain types of writers: the truth cannot be spoken, but only spoken around. the truth cannot be gazed upon except in mirrors. we do not sketch the truth but block out the spaces around it, and as such at best have only the rough shape of the thing, not the details, not the comprehension, not even the name - simply the title, the coordinates, where it might possibly be, what's not supposed to be there more than what actually is.

crowley's book of the law is terrifying like that, but then it always was.

love, when we slip out of the body, i wrote, but disembodied love is another matter, or rather, not a matter at all, but a concept. a sort of substitute. a placeholder for what we want or what we should want or what we don't want to want, what we want in spite of our best interests, those dark desires that ultimately land us in courtrooms and hospitals, in in-hospitable climates, not sure what we're doing, never sure what we're doing, not a certainty in sight or memory, but still we persist. still i persist, i wrote, a kind of eulogy, a sort of epitaph, or just the kind of thing i've written before and will likely write again. everything and witchcraft, i wrote and wrote again. everything and that.

anonymousblack: (away)
I am a teller of stories. A weaver of dreams. I can dance, sing, and in the right weather, stand on my head. I know seven words of Latin. I have a little magic and a trick or two. I know the proper way to meet a dragon, can fight dirty but not fair, and once swallowed thirty oysters in a minute. I am not domestic. I am a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.

― Anthony Minghella, Jim Henson's Storyteller

i keep having dreams about the magical powers of language, of storytelling, of deliberate wordings: but the dreams are strange and the scenarios conveying this information seem, more often than not, dramatically out of scale with the importance of the lesson. which might be saying something else about my current variables: are my efforts toward a valid cause? or am i mired in schoolyard bullshit spirituality, level one glamor, illusion, self-deception, and baser desires? well, yeah. of course i am. show me one mere mortal with the ovaries to claim they’ve transcended issues like envy and narcissism and i’ll show you one envious narcissistic motherfucker, but am i so preoccupied with it that nothing else can get in?

maybe it’s not the dream scenarios that are important. maybe it’s more that my symbolic mind is utilizing the most direct language it can to communicate core matters: concepts so primal they dwell outside of workable language. that’s a significant part of what dreams seem to be, anyway. maybe it’s the best i can do, in the dream situation. however, it’s becoming clear to me that these dreams are about mastery and the way i have embarked on that process in my creative work without realizing it.

“open sesame,” he said, so i did. of course i did. what else would i do? a world in which a desire exists is different than the world before that desire. maybe storytelling exists as a means of creating desires the listener (as well as the storyteller) didn’t understand that they had. it’s a gift, perhaps? knowing what you want is satisfying, or so i’ve heard. it gives you power, desire. focus. form. more power than directionless hunger: everybody has that. hell, even i do. how many wives did king sharyar slaughter before sheherezade drew him in with her narrative and sculpted the truth of his will into form? before that it was just: raging hunger, in every direction, devolving into hatred and destruction.

of course sheherezade’s stories have no beginning or end. she’s accentuating our universal state of in medias res as a means of survival. at first it might be a means of disarming the king’s threat, but eventually the impetus of her stories bring a new version of her into existence, make listener desire her continued presence, change the universe. a story, as well as a storyteller, survives in the action of telling and receiving. to stop that cycle?

here’s the thing: we are always telling ourselves stories. this is the story of my relationship with my mother. here is the story of my problematic scalp. this is the story of where i keep my notebook. this is the story of why that notebook is black. even as you read this, you are telling yourself stories: perhaps it is the story of how judith’s grammar lacks strict adherence, or how aggravating it is that she’s always making edits after something has already posted, or you had an uncanny moment of resonance with something a couple hundred words back. maybe you’ve been here once or twice before and your story is of how the last time you read it your foot fell asleep.

listening to a story is also an art form, and the means of mastering it has become obscured in the proliferation of easy self-broadcast methods. we were already too quick to use other people's stories as a launching pad to talk endlessly about our opinions. now we don't even have to wait for such an opportunity to shout into the four corners of the earth: snack cakes are morally reprehensible unless they are gluten-free and the fact that you'd have anything to do with a gluten-containing snack cake makes me embarrassed that i even know you!

what we need to learn is not this preposterous hyperbole of stopping everything to witness a story, because that’s impossible and dangerous, but, instead, marrying the story you are hearing to the story you are telling yourself. let the outer story guide you through your inner story. not overtake it, not disappear in it. submit to the waking dream of human interaction. yesterday i was joking around with one of the apartment maintenance guys and, unprompted, entirely out of thin air, he gifted me with support for a major working theory i have about recent dreams and what they mean for my spiritual work. a good conversation between storytellers can be like that. it goes late into the night. it’s a whirlpool, a beehive, not a ladder or a prison cell in isolation where you chisel your hard-won truths into the walls. as you get older, you stop needing to urgently assert the narcissism of your fine distinctions to somebody you are truly talking to: you can just be with the stories that are before you. if it’s important, it will come back.

i often catch myself thinking of the curved translucent plexiglass hallway to the children’s department of the library where my mother still works when i use certain words in certain combinations. i cannot make an omelet and, quite possibly, there ought to be a local zoning code prohibiting me from further attempts. by the way, i'm not going to stop editing my entries in post so deal with it. i went out of my way to find a second watson-guptill 5”X8” sketchbook for journal fourteen and i could only find black, but the pages in it are thinner and [intersection of stories] i press hard when i write and [intersection of stories] baltimore is so unreasonably humid that from the side the thing often looks like a japanese woodblock print of ocean waves. i used to always crave tuna whenever i watched twin peaks. it’s weird.

‘weird’ is one of those stories that’s always shifting, always changing form and layers. there’s weird and there’s weird. charming weird and breathless weird. spooky weird and weird that makes me want to hide. curious weird and curiouser weird. there’s not really a beginning or an end to the story of weird, is there? is there a beginning or an end to the story of anything? what would happen if we stopped telling ourselves our stories all together? chaos. death. heads will roll, my friend.

it would make for quite a story, i’d say.

anonymousblack: (darkest leaf)
it's old. it's worn. it's going nowhere, fast.

and yet.

it's writing and writing and writing. everywhere i can find, everything i see fit to put down: which, on balance, may be several hundred pages of absolutely nothing.

but at least it's something.

i write it. maybe later i type it. i type it into m.s. word, software programmed for enthusiastic auto-correction of my assorted stylistic vices; software refined into increasing difficulty around manually changing things back to the way i want them to be. don't you see? i want to do it wrong. i want my writing to look immature, solipsistic, lost to itself and others because that's what it is. that's what it's always been. that's who i've always been. it's one of the failures from which i draw power. i understand that there are check boxes i could untick - around capital letters at least - but it's probably for the best that i don't, as the whole matter of professional presentation remains a deep pool reeking of human weakness for me. i am not like some of you, you authorities in the court of reasonable grammar; those of you who observe and actively speak concerns about passive voice, flubbed punctuation, whom or who or you or me or i or i or if

always if

i before e except in any instance where i am using a word that puts one right next to the other

i trail ink into the void. i whisper into the void. always whispering into the void.

always whispering into the void.

always whispering into the void.

maybe, someday, my words will echo back upon the ears of someone meant to hear them.

maybe not.
anonymousblack: ([mom] boys and girls)
it's the term i may as well use to refer to the shelf stuffed with blank books on the east side of the study. an intention of journals. journals of all shapes and sizes, styles and bindings; with blank pages, lined pages, with earthy artisan grained pages stacking in deckled edges. wednesday morning sitting up in bed i started a list of projects i've been intending to dedicate a blank book to and really, i could either have a fecund continuum for ideas to flow or i could have an unchecked mess of paper everywhere (as opposed to the current situation, wherein i have an unchecked mess of papers quarantined to file boxes, plastic bins, the work table, an old shoe box under the orange theosophist chair and, also, a drawer.

i always figured you probably weren't exactly a hoarder if you only maintained unreasonable collections in a few, very specific generas? but then i took an account of my unreasonable collections: paper, crystals, candles, books, music media, incense, tea, herbs, white gel pens and, uh, possibly mugs, and i begin to doubt my station on the good side of the hoarding tracks. i save all the books, i save most of the papers. bills and invoices, eobs, diagnoses, letters from friends i haven't spoken to in years, seven word scribbles written on a fragment of a special orders report from 2002. have you ever found a phone number scribbled in the margin of a notebook from twenty years ago--no associated name, just the number--chicago area code, elgin exchange, and then? i've thought about calling, but, then, i probably wouldn't reach the person i intended in 1994.

maybe i'd find the person i was supposed to reach, instead?
anonymousblack: (WORSHIP ME YOU SNAKE!)

shrine cabinet in august 2013

wednesday i moved the shrine cabinet (need to show you some even newer pictures) into the study. i thought it would make it easier to use actively; give me somewhere to put the zafu or witch table if i want to meditate or work in front of it. the only real draw back is that i won't be able to sit with it on the couch--sometimes when i can't sleep i'll go into the front room, light the butter lamps and listen to music while they burn down. sometimes there's enya. it's nice. but really, i've been concerned about something with so much that is important and breakable in the swing radius of the porch door and it really was difficult to actually sit with the shrine, you know, as it was, actually meditate or practice. you were sort of jammed up strangely in a corner.

so on a fiercely bad suppression day, i disassembled the shrine, piled up my relics into ikea boxes, moved the cabinet into the study, smudged, then put everything back together. i'm not sure yet. it does have a strong presence in the room, but it's awfully close to the computer. i mean from the whole "some days it is a lot easier to fuck around on facebook than cope with spirituality" perspective.

slightly blurry reference shot i did not end up using

for the equinox, i started a releasing ritual, very loosely modified from here. (was angelfire actively target-marketed toward neopagans, ceremonial magicians, S&M practitioners and punks or was that just how it turned out?) wrote intentions, burned intentions. used a bit of quadrivium's cut and clear. started on the fringes with the names and the externals, worked my way through to the underlying issues; what i've been using the externals to distract myself from. cried, of course. threw the ashes off the balcony.

it occurred to me that the reason ritual always feels so awkward and unsatisfying is probably because i still have to roll that learning curve. the legacy of the bellydance video has been humbling myself to the idea of "i'll try again tomorrow, and if it still doesn't go the way i want, i'll try it again the day after that." instead of giving up, i try again, maybe this time with more realistic expectations regarding my aptitudes and ambitions. so maybe if i can actually do a ritual more often than when something has become entirely unbearable, i'll be able to get more out of the unbearable rituals.

we'll see.

second slightly blurry reference shot i did not end up using


wednesday night i started the ecstatic poetry class. i am astonished and slightly ashamed at some of the weird habits i've developed in writing poetry. yes, i suspect that needing to run an internet search on a term, concept, or reference is something that should happen in the revision process, but i seem to have grounded myself in the habit of stopping everything to look the term, concept, or reference up while i am trying to connect with the spirit of a piece and damnit, i should know better than that. i used to.

i just need to stop trying to "protect" myself from certain types of criticisms with research while i'm still in the delivery room, bringing forth the first rush of inevitably imperfect language. a lot of my best work--particularly in prose--does come off the pen without needing a lot of polishing. i'm not (exactly) bragging, it's something that's occasionally a real pain in the neck, especially for creative writing teachers and workshops. and for switching back to poetry. it's like learning to walk again, scribbling down something so undeveloped and letting it exist like that, at least for a time.
anonymousblack: (such a square)
initially posted at my wordpress.

It's not clear. You listen and listen. Establish a ritual, a gradual coming into form, a way for the process to manifest. Give the process space. A room, let it choose the curtains, paint jewel tones on the walls, provide it with sufficient shelving for the ever-growing collection of resources it travels with.

Remember the process needs a home and it is not in your best interests to shake it awake at night screaming NOW, DAMNIT, NOW. That will create an antagonistic relationship between you and process. Eventually you'll reach a point where it will only make suggestions when you have something you really ought to be minding on the stove. That's not to say that food preparation--or driving--or bathing--or assembling a jigsaw puzzle--can't all be places where fleshy, sustaining inspiration comes to you, because obviously they all are, every one--but as an artist, it is equally important to have a concept surface when you can immediately offer it studio time and not solely when you're on the bathroom floor clutching at your abdomen, reacting to the idea simply as: Now? Really? Now you come to me? Couldn't you have come to me before i ate that?

Too often, I think, I just plunge in and expect something to happen. I haven't straightened my work space, I haven't called the quarters, I haven't purified the space with sage and called the loving ones forth with sweetgrass. Too often, in fact, I think of that loving one as a punishing dark lord, one who cannot be called upon, one who cannot be encouraged into the effort but instead only visits as a torment: a half hour into a ten hour shift, maybe, or when I have six articles worth of automotive injury work due by end of day. I don't believe it's that way, really: but you need to make the effort. Light a candle. Warm yourself up with a reading, a ritual, a few pages in the journal. start a process, respect it as a process. The work will come in time.

Oftentimes i start with a phrase. I'll cast out a net and see what's in the atmosphere. What are today's colors, what it its emotional state. Words will click together sometimes, will make a shape, will curl up in a sudden continuum, like filings around a strong magnet. A phrase pops into my head, like "It's not clear," like "she whispers into the stillness," like "so let us say: draw back the curtain." and i'll seed the rest of an entry from it. Go on, do go on. Keep going. The edges dark and traced, the center white and blinding. How line emulates darkness. The intensity of activity needed to convey emptiness in visual art when emptiness is, by it's very nature, the natural state of unaltered material, see:

Re-establish a relationship with concept. With feeling for the solid edges of something down in the indistinctive haze. Put words together, create something simply because an image, an atmosphere, a phrase haunts you. Poetry is not fed by intellectual analysis. I must not be so terrified of seeming ignorant, unschooled, or naive, especially not in my first draft. React strongly to what others see as mundane, this is what teenagers do with their music, this is what an artist does in a body of work: they take what others see as mundane or what others do not see at all and they persuade us into that reaction ourselves. Well, i came here, so why am i here?

Look at me becomes look at this becomes look, damnit, or you'll never see. Mature art takes the artist's inherent and necessary narcissism and transforms it into something that society needs.

Look at it this way: eternity does not care that you have a new boyfriend. It does not care about your latest purchase, your new car, about what you are eating for dinner. Your social connections–the people who know you–might be intrigued, envious, or annoyed. Painfully, eternity–like larger society–is indifferent. Contrary to whatever illusions we feed ourselves in social networks, the endless majority of strangers in the world don’t care one whit that you just did yoga or spent a lot of money on a new video game system or are having vegan pot pie for dinner. Because our social networks provide us with several hundred ‘like’ clicks within the hour, we can continue to exist in our illusion that everything we express about ourselves Matters To Everyone Who Sees It, that we can ramble on as pointlessly as we do when we’re tired and drunk and someone, somewhere, will validate that as Self Expression.

The danger of social networks for artist is simply that it gives us an easy audience. Wherever we are, we have that audience, and therefore, we do not need to cultivate our aptitudes and potential beyond those initial demonstrations of capacity.

If someone with a critical eye should approach and press you beyond “this is amazing,” we have enough other followers to drop them at the first suggestion of “but.” And really, what’s so horrible about that ‘but?’ But it needs work. But perhaps we haven’t tumbled out from between our mother’s legs as a fully developed master of our chosen medium. The ‘but’ of a compliment may provide us with a crucial tool for developing authority, not the least of which could be learning to accept that a few red marks now and again won’t invalidate you as an artist.

Neither will growth-inspiring observations such as:

  • Perhaps you are not yet demonstrating why your audience can connect with this image.
  • Perhaps you have not struck a resonant cord for people who do not know you personally.
  • Perhaps this piece is tedious, or bland, or way too derivative.
  • Perhaps you're showing something that reveals you don't have a very unique, educated or compassionate perspective regarding the subject matter.
  • Perhaps you aren't experienced enough to have a sense of scale, to choose a subject that other people can connect with.
  • Perhaps this work, of which you are currently so proud, will ultimately only serve you in its lesson-providing mistakes.

    We, the all of us, want to believe we are original, talented, sexy, beautiful, smart, informed, open minded, excited to learn, able to endure pain; we want to see ourselves as having survived something, having been useful in spite of our troubles, we want our troubles to amount to something. Nobody wants to be a whiny, ignorant, privileged know-it-all whose primary function in the company of others is to serve their tedious, uninspired, and predictable self-interest.

    We want to be artists! We want to be altruists! We want to understand! And yet, as we get older, we deal with all of the terrible qualities, taking a number of them on ourselves, at least for a time. We whine. We’re uninspired. We’re naive. Instead of ‘look at this’, we get stuck on ‘look at me.’ And a blossoming artist, feeding themselves entirely on social networks, can skip the process of coming to terms with relevancy; just stay safe in that gated psychic nursery of easy security – the press of one button silences anyone who might make us feel less than miraculous, anyone who might remind us that our process still has a lot of unfolding to do.

    Used to be we’d go to gallery showings or read contemporary masters to scare the shit out of ourselves, to make us understand the larger difficulties of relevancy, to make us realize “I will never be this good.” Only then, humbled by the limitless greatness of others, would we start listening to the lessons, would we stop rolling our eyes at an instructor’s challenging attention. Now, surrounded by dozens mediocre and worse, an artist can comfort themselves regarding their skill in comparison. It’s easy to be devastatingly gifted amongst your Facebook friends, especially when a large number of them might want to sleep with you. The reality of it is once you step out of that bubble you might discover yourself as infinitely less engaging in a universal sense. Total strangers don’t see the reason why they should turn from their own Facebook to look at your work.

    It is not clear

    You listen and listen
  • anonymousblack: (who do you think you are)
    it's striking, the mutual resilience and fragility of the writing urge. what's most curious is how they can cycle through my system at the same time, almost feeding off each other; almost responsible for each other. oh, i think: how i would love to be writing. how it would help me connect with this moment, put my feet in my shoes. oh, how i could be writing. the things i could write: then, i think of that blank page. rollerball lurching under the date, trying to think of a first word, trying to correct my first word with the second: so instead i just stay in bed.

    i could artfully invoke fashionable names, i could splash my text with references to ideologies people like me would need to secretly research. i need banks of knowledge, access to the store of universal obscurities. the language of the educated, the cerebral beauties of meaningful content. is it what i need?

    what i need is an image. a foothold to climb out of my head. i keep coming up against the ugly simplicity of how small my mind is. how uncomplicated, really: how little i am truly capable of innovation, of groundbreaking insight, of engaging ideas. of storytelling, real, genuine storytelling. i start out devising a plot and end up writing a seven page treatise on the various types, advantages and pitfalls of drugstore candle brands. i'd believed i was intelligent, at one point or another--and i am, at least, attentive, but really: intelligence is something more than being able to follow the red bouncing dot over the lyrical emphasis. just because i'm more aware than a person here or there, more aware in this way or that, it doesn't mean i've achieved Real Awareness. it doesn't mean anything, really: chances are i'm no more or less aware than anyone, depending on the perspective. humbling?

    that's about the size, where you put your eyes.

    a dream where sky blue walls are painted with constellations. because the heavens continue to surround us even when we are distracted with sunblock and roller coasters? the things in our universe continue to exist, even when we don't pay attention to them. there is no "subtext," just what's happening in another room or somebody else's skull. the situations we don't observe or acknowledge.

    the stories we neglect to tell ourselves.

    every now and then you meet a boy in his second year of college who tells you he doesn't know anything--like it's this profound insight, like it's certification that, in reality, he is the wisest person you could possibly ever know. it's a paradox, right? except this: you do know something. you know when you need to urinate. generally, you know when you need to eat. you often know when something makes you angry, or sad, or indignant, even if you aren't always sure why. body knowledge and emotional knowledge, what, too primitive to count? too simplistic? too feminine? sophomore boy smiles: see? i don't even know the things that i always know, how smart am i now?

    imagine: a pissing contest over who is truly the more ignorant.

    that's about the size of it.


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