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Monday, June 21, 1999
By Paul Ford
If Molly Bloom was I, and I was Molly Bloom, and we were trying to write for the Web, maybe this would be what we'd write. Maybe not.
Lately I have been thinking about nonviolence; I have also been thinking about: evolution and how it determines social behavior; the human need for sex; the purposes of therapy; the rhetorical tropes and structures (esp. the enthymeme); algorithmic sound composition in CSound; the means by with Ftrain can be usefully destroyed and replaced with something better; the motives of the main character of a science fiction novel; database structures and Web technologies; artifical life; how to spend more time with my friends; the actual communication value of money; the appropriate places for the word "catamite"; the emotional need for religion; the means for grieving for an athiest; my relationship with my father; the renewal of a prior relationship; online publishing solutions; whether it's worth our time to make the rich richer; the values of education; the essays of Montaigne; the pleasures of oral sex; the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds; the changes set upon the arts by digital technologies; the use of PDA's like the Palm Pilot; whether "the Hunk that Sunk" in reference to the recent tragedy is funny or just wrong; whether I want to spend the time to get the Amiga emulator running; whether the film Run Lola Run had any redeeming values in spite of its neglect of any real characterization; the social structure of business; the music of Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, and Photek, not to mention Alanis, Michelle Shocked, and Meat Beat Manifesto; a branding campaign for an Internet search engine; a branding campaign for an Internet fashion retailer; the branding campaign for an Internet music company; the business plan for a wireless communications company; going freelance; the emotional dynamics in the office; the value of a relationship to me; the way my blood purrs when she when she breaks down my thoughts into component parts; jealousy green and vile; anger in appropriate quantities; the way my voice seems lower than it was a year ago, but not on the phone; the pressure in my arms; the fact that I can go longer now that I've lost weight; the word yes when spoken by a man, me; forgiving when she is not in need of my forgiveness, but doing it anyway; nonviolence, which was my guiding belief when I was an adolescent, and which resulted in me being left on the ground getting my head kicked by drunks in college, sort of; blood pressure; releasing old angers through waving breaths that course through my frame; realizing that without this one thing, this one person, I am entirely and thoroughly incomplete; that sometimes loving another human being is a painful brutal motherfucker of a thing to do; that lying gets you nowhere; that you come here for entertainment; that to those of you who've sent me packages and treats I am grateful, especially to anonymous reader X, who sent the Bukowski book, the great comic zine, and the box of Pretz; that you'll love the new Ftrain when it's all put together, because it won't just be me, and it will actually be consistent and good, with the advice of real designers weighing in; that none of you have read this far, that the typographic constraints keep you from doing so, that this paragraph on a screen is visually impossible to read, and that I can start to speak as I please here; that the ideas I've been representing online are incomplete; my thoughts unfinished; that I want to branch out and get things done; that when I normally would hide and crawl under the bed I am still completing things; that I am learning how to channel this heat; a story about a man who goes to try to convert a liberal philanthropist to conservative religion, but is changed himself, told from his point of view looking back; a story about a kid who goes to a religious commune and who he meets there; a story about a man living in Florida who loves a woman, who he then splits from, who sleeps with other men, who then returns to him, and how he deals with the jealousy and hurt of that and how when he enters her it is with a bizarre power from forgiving, that somehow this is the anchor to their love; the book Darwin Among the Machines, by George Dyson; "The Mental Traveler," a poem by William Blake; how to market Web sites on no money; ways of overcoming distrust and fear and learning to care about other human beings; the Dalai Lama's conference on the Kalachakra upcoming in August, which my friend alone is permitted to videotape; the value of celebrity; the ways to be happy; the sacrifices which much be made to keep moving; the importance of reinventing myself consistently; the fact that it will take me at least 10 years to develop the kind of powerful narrative voice which explodes off the written page, and until then it's all just practice; and that I want to believe I could do it tomorrow, and I can probably do something tomorrow, but not much; that it just will take work and connections and belief and hands-pressing, and constant, persistent sacrifice, as I give up things which matter in order to make more time for writing, until finally writing folds over and is my life, that I might not have enough talent for all of it, even though folks have been kind and encouraging, but that telling a good story takes something deeper than what I feel right now; that in any case I can always write advertising; the history of Roman Britain; the violence inside of me; the phone call my mother made last night; the way I yearn for approval; that the grief process is evil lying bullshit; the definition of: syllogism, enthymeme, and "Argumentum ad Crumenam"; writing a series of poems about imaginary, scary animals, like the Ohio Monkey-badger, or the Long-beaked Phosphorescent Nutgripper; some girl I knew in college; made-up dirty compound words, like shitblister, bitchlipping, and goatwad; describing the fear I feel meeting new people as a "shyquake"; whether she's home and I can call now; when I will see you again; whether it's fucked up to put something this long and useless online, especially knowing that no-one--not a single one of you--is likely (nor should you be) to read it in its entirety, and somehow, that's the point, and what that means; and how, in the future, I might do less work and more thinking.