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Friday, March 9, 2001
By Paul Ford
3 intervals from 09 Mar 2001 (Temperately Gallantly Sleds Sclerotic)
From an email to N!:
I think I'm starting a journal for the Web, something uncensored and grammatically flawed, to test the limits of that kind of narrative once more.
I wrote a little program for it and created a few entries. Now all I need to do is type 'journal' and a buffer pops up, timestamped.
The writing so far is very bad, non-continual, messy. I tend to cliches. But I kind of want that, the sense of starting over. It's important, I think, at least for me, to have two places: one where you I refine, and another where I destroy as much as possible and let myself do all the things, like exclamation points, and rhythmic sentences, and one-line paragraphs, and words that don't mean anything, and Joycean run-ons, that I won't do otherwise.
Because I don't want get stale.
Did I eat potato chips today?
Yes, and for a few moments I was out of control
Oh joyful starch,
coated with sour cream and onions,
abstracted into green chemical smear.
A shiny plastic bag,
A sacrament of salt,
Warm bleach on the tongue.
MFK Fisher wrote about potato chips, how she needs to be cautious of them. I think the piece is anthologized in a book called The Art of the Personal Essay.
I am hungry tonight. Open black horizon, starchoked. I listen hard; eventually the messages from individual stars mix in with the signals from the networks etched in by lovers, friends, and family.
I had a phone conversation about bodies with L!.
"At my biggest, I didn't hit rock bottom," she said. "I hit 'soft top'."
She said, "And all my friends were gorgeous 5 years ago - I picked them. And they would tell me how cool I was and how together I was for a big woman, which told me the two things I wanted confirmed: that I was not much, but I was better than I could be."
Occasionally I meet people from Ftrain - they want to talk, or share work, and they make me up from the prose, they imagine me as sharp, older, shorter. Mostly, this is great; some fine friends have found me through the site, and some people from the real world have opened up about their own goals as writers and artists after seeing my dangling participle hanging out in the world for all to see.
I don't want to deal with their disappointment in my being a typical American couch fatty. The same things they like about the Web site cause the belly.
So, now I am getting rid of this after 5 years, and finding myself wanting to stop, stop, halt, pause, end, rewind for a while and RECURSE into myself, recurse through introspection, keep everything moving inside of me until I reach a point of nested depth and fill up some of the soul-gaps.
Then I will emerge out of the house and walk with my legs cracking across 9th St. and I will have, I'll have something to say, and I will continue to train my mind to learn more, bring in more information, and I will stay humble because I am simple on thing, and I will take my lovers in all shapes and sizes and perhaps even sexes.
I want to stop living in a world of bounded jealousy but rather in a place where stories are flying like dragonflies, glittering things in the air, thousands of them, a plague of stories, the air filled with tales, and yet you breathe them in and they're as light as spun sugar and melt in your mouth and make you stronger.
Ah, Ford, whatever.
So, I can make a thing sound good even if it's not real. Words are a form of lying and denial. Words are the only way to truth. Food is an addiction. Food is necessary to survival. Sex is necessary or the mind explodes. Sex and relationships cloud the mind.
Which way to go? (Take the middle path! 8 easy steps to comfortable nothingness.)
It gets easier as you get a little older, because you get slower, less driven by your oscillating cock and your need for power. You learn humility in the face of talent or power; you sing and dance for your paycheck.
L! said, "Men wanted to sleep with me, because they liked big girls. But they didn't want to be seen with me. And once I was propositioned, and I said: 'I don't hate myself that much.'"
Yes; I don't hate myself that much. L! is scary smart,
and why is that a phrase, "scary smart"?
smart should not be scary, but there it is.
smart people can figure out what they don't like about you
and leave on the next boat?
smart people see things you and I cannot see?
smart people have different agendas than the rest of us? Are planning to take over the world?
Still, the cultural legacy of MENSA is a couple books and tests
easy to pass if you know the tricks.
L! said, it's important to be a man, not a guy. And she's right. I have been a guy, alas. Needy, nervous. Shiver and shake. "Will she or won't she?"
I am very simple, I must remind myself, and very normal. I must never say that I'm not normal. Because the bell curve does not run along people; it runs the earth around and we're one part of the whole mess. The shadow of difference between myself and anyone else is nothing compared to the difference between me and a tiger.
I told C!, who was coming out of a manic phase and doubting herself, that she was "a beautiful rock star sex machine art chick deluxe super-flying-saucer sweet-bosomed love carrot."
Scott Rahin says, "That's the game, but the key is not to play the game and accept the consequences. Games only put off the inevitable." Because the conventional wisdom is that the man who acts like he doesn't give a shit gets the girl. But much better to not give a shit and let the girl figure it out for herself, or even help her because she loves it, and to be fueled by your own fires but not expect every other human who comes in range to instantly begin to orbit your own influence. Better to simply love rather than have a system of rules. That weeds out most of the options but those are wasted energy anyway, and some surprises might come up out of nowhere: the girl who doesn't expect you, and whom you do not expect. I like surprises.
Scott knows that we all die, that all relationships end, and that the bravest set themselves free, give themselves permission to suffer and mourn and feel jealousy and all the ugliness and pettiness of animals but also give themselves permission to learn from it.
I've wanted to kick this body out for a long time, but only because it would make things easier. But now it's in line with my motives, with my desire for power and to find a lower and more common form of honesty which can guide me, for throwing it in God's hands, which is amusing for an athiest to contemplate.
And in a way I'm looking forward to it, whether I live out my fool goal of a year away from romantic relationships, or not, I'm looking forward to the feeling of slimming, of sharpening, and seeing how much better I am treated, and knowing that I share the hypocrisy of those who would judge me by my frame.
Here, take it.