September 23, 2012
How this goes
I got up late this morning. I left the notebook on the end table so I could write down impressions from my dreams, but I didn’t write anything, just lied there listening to Sarah Vaughn’s version of “How High the Moon,” which was what was playing on WJAN this morning. WJAN! Playing the best in standards, pop songs, light favorites, songs heard playing in stores, songs suggested by something unrelated said by someone else, and kids’ classics — constantly! It’s already on when I wake up, my brain radio, and loud; it drowns out anything else I might have learned from sleep. I shamble to the bathroom, thinking, Some kind of auditorium, a theater in a school?, but the music’s determined to be heard — I hope you’ll enjoy it! Hope you’ll enjoy it! It’s all right; my dreams don’t need to be recorded. It’s always something about a theater in a school.
I wrote a little bit in the notebook anyway, an update on events since yesterday’s entry, several curt statements to myself: I’ve been so delighted by the idea that I’m making progress, but I’m not. I’m not sure what the notebooks are for anymore; now they’re just a habit I’ve had forever. I use them to write down ideas, but I almost never use those ideas. Most of the things I write down are gems like, A theater inside a school?, or, I’m hungry. I do wind up being pretty blunt with myself — that too is a habit I’ve had forever — but I mitigate whatever “learning” this bluntness might inspire by filing my notebooks in a cabinet immediately upon completion and never looking at them again. I’m sure that if I looked through the notebooks for the 18-24 months before my shrink’s “rapid” decline, I would see indications that I knew something was wrong. So what’s the point of continuing to talk when even I don’t listen to myself?
What is the point? Today I had the idea that most magazines should be renamed None Of This Shit Matters Magazine. Unless you’ve got practical advice for people about how to live in the world — and not just how to live longer, or how to live with less clutter, or what television shows to watch while you kill time waiting for the miraculous story of your life to end — it doesn’t matter. Tell me how not to spend my life in sorrow over the constant grief and torment that others suffer, so that even when my own grief and torment* temporarily abates, I am left to confront the suffering of the rest of the world. Tell me how to extract meaning from this onslaught of infinite haphazard impressions, impressions that generate, you’re told, from a wet lump inside your own skull, a thing you grew without meaning to, like a parasitic mold. I mean, absolutely, let’s talk about politics, the global systems by which people treat other people poorly; let’s discuss society and culture, and how they inform the code of ethics by which we go about our days. Everybody needs recipes — everybody who has access to foodstuffs, anyway — and everybody needs to laugh. This yoga pose is good for opening the hips. Here’s how people you’ll never meet are living their lives. Here is my passionate opinion, based on my hard-won experience. Let’s talk some more about body image. This picture of this particular person makes you feel more envy than you knew you were capable of; it’s like your envy is lifting a car off its baby, that’s how suddenly strong it is. Does that help?
It’s not that it doesn’t matter. Who knows? Maybe ants have deep conversations about the moral implications of farming aphids, and maybe the aphids write one-person shows — or plan to write them, at least; they have a rough outline in their head, like, of how they want it to be, and they already have some ideas about costumes — about what it feels like to be so oppressed that you think you don’t even notice it anymore, until you fall in love and find a cause greater than yourself that leads you to freedom — kind of a personal/political piece — anyway. Or maybe they’re too busy cooperatively swarming the Twinkie wrapper, and dying under the trampling heels of toddlers on their way to the swings, to spend a lot of time on the hows and whys of it all. They don’t have language; they don’t have to translate their thoughts the way we do; it’s all instantaneous non-sonic communication, emitted electrically, or by pheromone. That’s why it’s always funny to draw cartoons of them doing humanish things, expressing desires or personalities, wearing top hats or whatever.
[NB: W/r/t picture at left, I don't know that I believe in reading too much into anagrams. It's true, in an overly literal Zeno's dichotomy paradox kind of way, that you can't spell one word without employing letters from the other word, but that doesn't automatically suggest some kind of relationship of nested meaning between the two (unless there are linguistic phonemes in common, in which case there might be, but where's the fun in pointing those out?). However, when I searched the internet for a picture of an ant in a top hat, and Google delivered me this image, I realized that this was exactly the top-hatted ant I'd been thinking of --the sinister moustache, the nefarious agenda -- and that someone else had completed my thought for me. How's that for instantaneous non-sonic communication?]
Tomorrow: How to eat a donut 100 times your size; how to avoid being fogged by poison; how to extend your lifespan by days, if not weeks. Everything we think we know, everything that matters most, until the heel comes down on the hill; the end.
(* Boo hoo.)