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Monday, May 3, 1999
By Paul Ford
Love lost, boring goals.
When you hear the beep, turn the page. Beep.
Whose were these?
Hidden around the apartment are many photographs. Women stretched in the snow, men dressed in costumes, self portraits at arm's length. Missing people, addresses and addressbooks gone for years.
The above is a recent addition to a collection, envelopes from 1-hour photo shops, left in drawers and under the bed. Taken with my small silverish Yashica.
What gets at me, looking at this pair of feet, is that I have gleefully, pridefully denied the body, my body, anyone's body, and I miss these feet, any feet. I have said "I do not need touch, love, or affection," to everyone I know, insisting that I, alone among my peers, am no lonely savage, rather a mind floating in the body's frame. I desire nothing, need nothing, feel nothing. Hypocrite; it's in the blood.
Today and yesterday: a lecture from an acquaintance, a friend's family collapsing, a phone call to my father, a call from my mother. I wished to be taken home, to discard my independence and income and live in some back room with an old typewriter and my angst, like the boy in Everything That Rises Must Converge. Also: meetings with the rich, the confident and island-dwelling wealthy, to talk about how they might make even more money. I get so confused.
Simultaneously I want to write and think more about writing, to get my grip around the Aristotelian enthymeme, the transforming idea. Someone already registered enthymeme.com, probably a grad student in Rhetoric at CMU. This inquiry results in terrific guilt--I'm wasting my time, reading The Rhetoric of Fiction and books about Theory with a capital "T." I'm wasting my time because the world is business, and it's right to be in business, it's what is correct. Business does not heal, though. It offers a small and soft kind of growth. It does not provide new skin or blood; it lacks love.
That's a word I miss, a word to send me skimpering off into psychic bushes. Get me close to it--typical male--and I jump back like I touched a live cord, denying everything the next day. I miss instead of love; it is easier to miss. You can be a hypocrite, insisting you don't want a kind touch or someone to listen, while missing. It's the feeling of the tattoo being pressed on, the grinding into skin.
Would it be better to be 19 again, playing grown-up, licking stomachs and sleeping on hilltops, than a self-made hypocrite, a hypocrite by choice? But 5 years are past, and the memories are false anyway; I was dreadfully unhappy all through college. I will need to continue inventing and building my life out of what I have here in the apartment, the objects present and scattered, rather than out of the past, because the past is a shaky foundation, a ghost of stone.