So What?

pencil neck

utility graduates to frilly

unmentionables.

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Song Ceramics

Write my story, you say.

In what language? Tone? Style?

I haven’t written in a long while.

Got butterflies in my stomach.

Noodles for fingers.

Other day, I

Caught up with Ellip-

Sis choked me out

Like I owed her.

I own the

Whistle between my teeth but

Not the music

It sweeps the street with.

My stomach is empty, my pockets, your gaze is, and sky

Holds no mysteries to untangle,

An everyday cloud cover,

Gunmetal.

Ready or not or not or

Yes-no-undecided,

Moment barrels down,

Capitalizes (on) this,

This Room, This

Instrument of Creation,

Rehabilitation

knock on wood.

Would you

Do me a solid?

Turn

Your face

Away.

My story don’t write itself

When you lookin

At me, bold-faced.

I don’t know

The dog slips under the fence.

The fence falls all over itself.

I peg it with an entity of teeth.

My teeth fall all over.

Fall out of.

My head is out of step with.

Its elastic rhythm.

It won’t snap back.

It is a long way down.

The dog scrapes his back trying to get under.

It is the color of coffee that burns your tongue.

It squeezes itself out of sight.

It is nine o’clock at night.

Someone is howling and wolfish.

He’s got a grin like pitch black.

Lips pulled back and voice rumbling coal.

I have nothing to say to it.

It has no reason to be.

It calcifies anyway as broken bone.

Or broken spine.

The dog is slippery and hides.

Out of sight, I see him loud.

As if through sharp and flat grass.

I’m not ready to dive.

I’m not equipped indeed.

I tell you what you already know.

No weapon formed against me.

Me shall prosper.

Me shall scrape and stretch my neck.

Me shall break my back underneath.

Me.

Might us flit into night sky?

Might us wanderlust?

Wonder: what lust we might lust.

What see we see, might come after or before we?

What scale we scale?

What life we life?

We.

To crack.

The bowl like an egg.

Exoskeletal.

Admirably vulnerable.

I can’t turn my back.

I can’t turn back.

I won’t.

I want.

I water my needs.

I wear down.

It’s a long way.

If you can get up.

A tall order.

Remember it only takes a posthaste.

To fence you in.

Membrane by membrane.

Post by post.

Hate to haste.

But time.

What time?

Does comb.

What comes?

My hair.

Out.

My doorstep is littered with blades of grass.

But you already know.

How much I need.

To bear witness.

Left to right.

Length by width by candlelight.

If there is valley, I’m there.

If there is death, I’m there.

If there is shadow, I’m there.

Or elsewhere.

Or everywhere.

Or.

Or.

Keeping my eyes peeled.

For further developments.

For sly dogs slithering.

For children weeping like wolves.

For.

For.

How forward of me.

To assume my everywhere eyes.

I see only what I understand.

To exist.

Sí, sí, sí.

Claro pero si.

Si…quand…je n’existe plus.

Je ne devrais pas être surprise.

Que la vie continue.

Sans moi.

Sans mes yeux.

Sans mon cou.

Sans ma voix.

Qui chante.

Dans la nuit.

Sur les nuageux.

I am afraid.

Of cloud cover.

Those hands.

That hide me.

& retreat.

 

Loss: “a vague knot-of-air kind of thing”

Each time [the memory] appears, it delivers a kick to some part of my mind. ‘Wake up,’ it says. ‘I’m still here. Wake up and think about it. Think about why I’m still here.’

from Norwegian Wood

When you wake up, have you ever looked around the room, seen that everything was in its place–nothing had been disturbed as you slept, nothing had been stolen or had gone missing–but you still felt that you had lost something over the course of the night?

I slept for eleven hours. There were times in one of my many dreams that I felt “This is a good stopping point. I could wake up. It might be time to get up.” But I kept the illusion of the dream going. If you can manage to keep your eyes closed, time will fly by. Maybe this is what I wanted, on some level.

A gang of friends and I moved from dream to dream, alternating between wheelchairs and gas-efficient cars. I expected us to arrive at my house eventually, where I would see my family. In what must have been the last dream, we visited my high school. I waved to and talked with people I knew. Everybody was there, even those I remembered from kindergarten, even those I didn’t know. Faces whose names I had forgotten popped continually into view as we rolled through the campus. There was a line of cars on our way out, so we had to wait. The dream splintered and instead of sitting in the car, waiting for those in front to move along, we found ourselves inside the school building, confronted by a steep flight of stairs. We took turns rising from our wheelchairs, walking carefully down, holding our chairs aloft. Then we rolled/ran like mad to the car outside. As I reached the door handle, I realized that I had reached the car door many times before and that wherever we drove next would get me no closer to my house. Then and there, the scene faded to black, in the way that it does when I have slept for a long time and the dream has not resolved (or will not resolve) itself. Instead of lying patiently in the dark, extending my sleep despite the expired dream, I opened my eyes.

I didn’t get to see my family but, for several sleep cycles, I was never alone. I don’t just mean that I was always in a group. I mean that I was among friends, people who wanted what I wanted and went along with me to try and get it. So, when the dream dissolved and I opened my eyes to an empty room with all of my things resting right where I left them, I took it as a sign of absence.

Most of those people exist in real life. I could contact them through Facebook or text them right now, if I wanted. But that’s not the point. They, in real life, could never be with me in the way that they were in my dream. They have their own lives and minds to inhabit and could never truly accompany me in my own.

As I’m writing this, I notice that the reverse is equally true: That I have my own life and mind to inhabit and I can accompany myself. The people appearing in my dreams are versions of me because they were fashioned from my unconscious. The gaggle of friends that never left my side for eleven hours seems to be a metaphor for my own mind. I can never be closer to someone that I am…to myself.

I watched a TEDx video the other day called “The person you really need to marry.” The presenter finished with this: “The way I see it, it’s like I took myself to the top of a mountain or maybe to the bottom of the ocean, and I got down on one knee and I said, ‘I’ll never leave you.'”

When you don’t particularly like yourself, this can be a maddening acknowledgment. But I know the one thing I can admire about my mind, is that it is there when I need […]

 

 

Morrison wrote, History is over, you all, and everything’s ahead at last

The middle child of middle-aged parents, I find myself in a unique position. I can see history as it happened and as it is happening. I’m old enough that my parents and big sister feel comfortable explaining how the pieces of their past and present fit together in (what I call internally) their life-story.

I think, years ago, I asked my mother whether she considered me a friend and her answer was No, that I’m her daughter, not her friend. Just this December, as I watched my mother bake her annual Christmas rum cakes, I asked again, only because I wasn’t sure whether I had imagined it the first time. She considered the question for a few seconds and said Yes.

It has occurred to me recently that, despite what I would like to believe, my parents are mortal beings. There is much I don’t know about them and, if my parents do not share these things with me, their vital and not-so-vital memories will die with them. So, I’ve come to a more patient place when I talk with them, believing myself to be (perhaps narcissistically) The Receiver. I try to hold on to every detail.

My mom tells me about the mistakes she’s made, the errors that she is afraid cannot be corrected: My brother misbehaving in school heedless of her disciplinary threats and pleading, she once asked me whether she had failed as a mother. It was a cartoon looking for answershumbling moment for us both. I replied as honestly and soberly as I could.

Oftentimes I forget that my mother–such a resilient, hardworking woman with endless reserves of savoir faire–is made of flesh and bone and not stainless steel. Though she offers me tales of her younger years, it still baffles me that she had not come into this life as whole-in-herself and world-wise as she has always appeared to be. Even a woman who knows her mind can make a mistake? What a novel concept. And what a vantage point I have, to see the well-meaning but ultimately misguided actions of my parents as the consequences ripple back in time.

My big sister struggles to forgive my parents for their unintentional emotional neglect. Full grown, she feeds into patterns of one-sided affection and blames everyone and everything for the disagreeable moment in which she continually finds herself. As she explains these things to me, I can’t help but worry about her. She lives so much In The Now that she doesn’t seem cognizant of how much time is passing her by, how necessarily we end up speaking of Now in the Past Tense.

Still, still…

All these road maps for the beginning of things, I hold somewhere inside of me for when my life-story decides to rev the engine.

 

 

lhkhrwae

Hmm…

It hasn’t been as long an absence as I thought. WordPress has changed in six months’ time. I don’t know where to click to see if I have any followers left.

In the time I’ve been away, I have finished my first semester of college with straight A’s.

Since August, I have been fighting my usual funk, the spirit of taciturnity and depression that seems to follow me around wherever I go. I saw a counselor at school for about two months, then stopped going because I revealed something very painful that I thought integral to my counselor’s understanding my low self-esteem. Hearing it out loud (something I have never told a living soul) was not freeing. The counselor asked, “How does [revealing this about yourself] make you feel?”

I said, “Embarrassed. I know your opinion of me changes with every word I say.”

He said, “Well, that’s true. So, if you know that, why would you tell me this?”

I said, “You said to be honest.” I was crying. “I am honestly considering not coming back here.”

And then I didn’t come back.

I realize, now, that there are some things you just can’t tell people, even if those people are counselors, even if they need that information in order to fix you. People want to believe that eiwojfsdlkxnc mhufdcjk ufdhjc ksfdvxc fdxc

You see what I did there? I got frustrated and swallowed whatever bitter, hyperbolic thing I was going to say. This is why I don’t do this diary anymore. Sometimes, it feels good to get things off of your chest. Other times, it takes too much energy to explain yourself in a coherent way.

I am learning that actions can tell as much as words can, but more cogently. So let’s put it this way:

It is hard to go to sleep at night.

It is hard to get out of bed in the morning.

It is hard to get in the shower, then it is hard to get out of the shower.

All I want to do is watch the heroes of my favorite shows save the world again and again, fall in love again and again. All I want is to be my heroes, to be someone I can admire, to be someone who doesn’t need WordPress therapy.

I may or may not return to this site. If I do return, I cannot promise that the page will not be complete gibberish.

 

 

We Are Poor Passing Facts: Dave Eggers’s The Circle

Eggers’s novel The Circle gave me much to think about. It is about a company that, over time, monopolized internet usage. The founders of the Circle believed that people have a right to have access to everything, to know everything. For that reason, internet privacy and eventually privacy in general was seen as a hindrance to intellectual progress and to realization of an individual’s potential. Privacy in democratic government seemed like hypocrisy. Why don’t you want the people to know what you are up to? What do you have to hide? The book explores the line between public and private, and whether there should be a line. It shows what can go wrong with a “greater good” mentality and suggests that social media is so important to some people because they fear the unknown, forgetting, and being forgotten.

I underlined phrases that described the theme of the book, and I wrote my thoughts in the margins. Here is a compilation of them:

“Overnight, all comment boards became civil, all posters held accountable [when they were forced to use their real names online].” What is being said about the effect of anonymity on behavior?

“There needs to be, and will be, documentation and accountability, and we need to bear witness…all that happens must be known…we’re losing the vast majority of what we do and see and learn.” They hoard memories -> anxiety about insignificance of life. They want to say I was here. Reminds me of favorite quote: We are poor passing facts, warned by that to give each figure in the photograph his living name.

“Transparency leads to peace of mind.”

“We will become all-seeing, all-knowing.” They were talking about positioning live-streaming cameras all over the world. The limitations of being human.

An app sifts through information the protagonist posted online and compiles a list of characteristics– her allergies, favorite foods, etc. “Having a matrix of preferences presented as your essence, as the whole you? Maybe that was [the problem]. It was some kind of mirror, but it was incomplete, distorted.” Disconcerted by the reality of how public her info is, or by the simple itemization of what she assumed to be her complex being.

“Your tools have elevated gossip, hearsay and conjecture to the level of valid, mainstream communication.”

“There’s this new neediness– it pervades everything…you’re not hungry, you don’t need the food, it does nothing for you, but you keep eating these empty calories. This is what you’re pushing. Same thing. Endless empty calories, but the digital-social equivalent. And you calibrate it so it’s equally addictive.”

The Circle requires the protagonist to wear a bracelet that measures and records all of her health information (heart rate, temperature, BMI, caloric intake, etc.). “If we can track all you newbies, and eventually all 10,000-plus Circlers, we can both see problems far before they become serious, and we can collect data about the population as a whole.” Lured by the idea of progress, give up individuality for sense of community.

Remember how, in the beginning of the book, she hated the idea of a 9-5 workday? The company is so demanding, so needy that they need her after the workday is over. Social neediness comes from the fear of being some cog in a machine. The company represents the modern-day social environment, how it is a full-time job to keep up an appearance online.

“And it was great to see you there. But we have no record of you being there. No photos, no zings, no reviews, notices, bumps. Why not?” “Are you reluctant to express yourself because you fear your opinions aren’t valid?” If there is no record of your opinions, they don’t exist and therefore cannot be valued. If you aren’t socially aware, you are absent. You have no presence.

She had been agreeing to everything since the book began. A culture of yes, a culture of accepting established realities.

The Circle measures social presence with something called PartiRank (participation/population rank). Job prospects were tied to her social popularity. Every zing, comment, smile, post in a discussion group adds to the ranking. Quantity not quality. Number-centric culture is a reaction to technological advances that are valued quantitatively. When the profound sense of accomplishment of this quantitative era dies away, and the exhaustion hits, there will be an era of quality. Every other era in history was reactionary. And that’s nature. Everything that requires that life be given to it rises and falls, waxes and wanes, crescendos and decrescendos. Even digital batteries do this.

“…my problem with paper is that all communication dies with it. It holds no possibility of continuity…it ends with you. Like you’re the only one who matters.”

“…what had always caused her anxiety, or stress, or worry, was not any one force, nothing independent and external…It was internal: it was subjective: it was not knowing.” “It was not knowing that was the seed to madness, loneliness, suspicion, fear.”

“And if even a hundred more people wanted to store their every minute– and surely millions would opt to go transparent, would beg to– how could we do this when each life took up so much space?”

Coercion through mere exposure effect. “It had taken a few weeks to get used to sleeping with her wrist monitors…but now she felt incomplete without them.” Adjusting to more technologically-infused lives to achieve a new level of normalcy, as with updates and upgrades (foot in the door phenomenon).

“We all have a right to know everything we can. We all collectively own the accumulated knowledge of the world.”

Data is a one-way conversation and is objective. Though, no matter how objective the info, it will always be absorbed and interpreted subjectively.

“If we can know the will of the people at any time, without filter, without misinterpretation or bastardization, wouldn’t it eliminate much of Washington?”

The protagonist has begun broadcasting every minute of her day with a camera she wears as a necklace. Knowing that people are watching makes her subtly change her behavior. She is portraying a false version of herself which she thinks is the best version, the purest and most noble. Ironically, she meant to be transparent.

Social media is possibly a tool that ensures behavioral norms.

“I think everything and everyone should be seen. And to be seen, we need to be watched.” Faulty logic.

But who wants to be watched all the time?

I do. I want to be seen. I want proof I existed.