[ Storm of shit / Wizened Youth ]

“Storm of shit.” “Wizened youth.” “You were married?” “I’ve lived a hundred lives before now. I mean, before today.” “Girl, you need to have some self-respect. I mean guy. Guy. Sorry.” “Don’t let her treat you that way.” “What do you say to that?” “I saw a movie yesterday.” “In the theatre?” “No, while I was walking. Through a window. It’s not important.” “What’s wrong with you?” “I feel nauseous.” “That can’t be it.” “Leave me alone. Forget it.” “No, you—you forget it.” “What???” “Listen. I’m not interested.” “You’re not interested???” “He stared at her with a blank expression.” “You remind me of someone I used to know.” “Oh, please, not this again.” “What?” “Come on, it’s like you want to be insane.”

[ They say he never read another magazine ]

“They say he never read another magazine.” “I’m sorry?” “They say he never did—not after the incident.” “I’m one-hundred-percent confident in my physical abilities.” “I’m completely mentally sound.” “Turn that off—it’s making a ringing noise. Can’t you see that?” “See??? What???” “The Stevenson’s cow foaled yesterday. Foaled? Calfed? It gave birth.” “I saw a bear prowling—just in that meadow over there.” “Really, a bear? Really?” “The cars disappear over the hill in waves.” “In waves?” “No, I don’t know. Not in waves. It seems existential. They’re going somewhere.” “Up north?” “Steen’s dairy, I think.” “Jemma saw the bear and went after it.” “Did she shoot it?” “Jemma’s a donkey.”

[ I can’t remember where I put my keys ]

“I can’t remember where I put my keys.” “Did you have a good time?” “Yes, of course. Why do you keep asking me that?” “I have difficulty reconciling the experiences of others with my reality.” “You need to get a handle on that.” “I’ll put in a request.” “When do you think they’ll come?” “Tomorrow morning—or the next.” “In other words… ?” “It’s completely unpredictable.” “Listen, I’m getting tired. Let’s get out of here.” “You want to get something to eat?” “No, just to drive around until it gets dark.” “You really want to do that?” “Didn’t you grow up around here?” “Who are you talking to?” “Uh, no-one, just tuning this guitar.” “You need to speak to do that?” “No. No, of course not.” “I suppose this malaise I feel has to do with the understanding I have that the world is going to be destroyed. That, or the baby.” “Yes, yes. I saw a movie about that once.”


Last year I worked at a call-centre for four months and, in that time, even though I was miserable and I hated every minute of what I was doing, I always knew very explicitly what I was and was not. I became part of their community, somehow, I won awards, it seemed, incidentally, but I understood that everything they were, I wasn’t. It was, maybe, easier to know what I was in opposition to my daily existence than it was in the months afterwards, when I didn’t have to work, not in the same way, and during which time I feel I lost something vital.

I am a very plain, average person, with talents as well as delusions.

When I have “succumbed” to my delusions, I’ve noticed desireable (often pre-determined) outcomes are exalted and held distinct from undesireable (often unknown) outcomes. I feel, however, that all outcomes and all experiences should be exalted, because that is closer to my experience of reality. Work becomes less desperate when it becomes less precious, when it is separate from consequence. It is, maybe, wrong to conceive this as a means for increasing productivity, but I am more productive when I feel this way. My productivity is a by-product of a diligent and focussed mind.

At the musuem, I am concentrating on producing simple and unaffected material, work that doesn’t require much foresight, or intelligence, or creativity. (I admit that this might change as I become acquainted with the form.) What my work at the museum does require is will. Will is a practice, not an attribute. My relationship to the material and the environment is not antagonistic, as it was at the call-centre (far from it), but it is a struggle. It’s only through that struggle that I can come to know myself.


It’s cold, but the day is bright and the air clear. I’m sitting in a field, behind a long row of trees that block my view of the road (St. Clair). The reason it’s so cold, probably, is because of the wind, which keeps the trees constantly in motion.

A woman interviewing for a job (on her cell phone) moves from a table near me, in the shade, to one in the sun. I am not keeping close tabs on her, but as I look up, to confirm the preceding sentence, I see that she has moved again, alighting on a park bench further away from the second table, where two people have gathered. She’s very far away, now.

I don’t know if anything I wrote yesterday is true. My therapist, today, raised the question of whether or not “acting like an aristocrat” isn’t just intellectualizing my sadness, in other words another way of putting it aside. I think that’s right, but I felt better writing that blog entry than I think I would have distracting myself with anything else. Even if I’m wrong, it’s worth it, I think, for the feeling of productivity, and to engage with my feelings on any level. My writing, anyway, can always be revised.

She also wondered whether sadness can really be “noble”. I agree with her that sadness is a feeling like any feeling and that it should not be fetishized or prized above others. I think I feel that it is noble to express sadness because sadness isn’t a feeling I’ve had much familiarity expressing; I may feel, even though I know it’s wrong, that the reception to sadness is necessarily hostile.


At the coffeeshop yesterday I was approached by someone who asked if they could sit next to me because I looked sad. I said I would rather they didn’t (there were lots of empty tables), and in response to this they patted my shoulder reassuringly and said “Aw, that’s okay, that’s okay,” and sat down next to me anyway. They were obviously disturbed, but they didn’t seem violent or angry, so there wasn’t much I could do but give them my partial attention as I continued to work.

I found it funny that they (it was a he—I forgot his name even before he left) wanted to sit next to me because I looked sad. At first, this seemed predatory, and I was annoyed because it seemed like I was being clumsily hit on, but I eventually realized that he thought it was his duty to cheer me up. As he was leaving he said I was “An alright guy,” and I responded, without really thinking, “You don’t have to say that”, which was more a disavowal or statement of indifference than anything else. He took that as a sign that he should come back to me, pat my shoulder, and say, repeatedly, “Oh, you really are, you really are.”

I was sad, but I don’t mind feeling that way. In fact, I might feel more than sad, but I am not necessarily sure that suffering is a bad thing and I’m trying to feel it out, to pay attention to it and accept it as necessary. As long as it isn’t corrupted by anger or bitterness, as long as one remembers his or her duty to others, sadness is a noble feeling. By no means do I want to be consumed by sadness, to invest in sadness, or to clothe myself in sadness, but I don’t want to bury it either, to ignore it or pretend that I don’t feel that way.


For some reason I’ve been recalling an entry in Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet, where he suggests that “the dreamer” should always act as an aristocrat, even by themselves, and never forget that they are never alone (since all people contain multitudes). By this he means, maintain manners and protocols, keep up a certain indifference or detachment.

I have connected the idea of embracing sadness and acting like an aristocrat, as if the most dignified way to deal with sadness is to simultaneously accept it and nourish a respectful distance between your sadness and the outside world. I’m not sure what this means, exactly, or how that would work. But I think maintaining an awareness of propriety is the best way to ensure that your sadness doesn’t become bitterness, anger, or even insanity, because to be aware of those things is to always be aware that you have responsibilities to other people.

I want to do a lot of things with this blog, but my main goal, I think, is to integrate my feelings into a public form of writing, learning to be emotional or sensitive without becoming gaudy, hysterical, or vulgar. I think I have this capacity already, but somewhere along the line I became more concerned with performance or even, somehow, competition (emotional competition?). For the past year I haven’t posted anything, basically, on any blog, because I’ve noticed this tendency and felt less than sincere. I’ve been afraid to access what I really feel, to write in a contemplative and composed method, and now, maybe (at least in this moment), I am ready to return.


Now I’m working in a museum in the middle of the country (volunteering). Do I know enough now to write, “Today he worked at the museum, a quiet museum that was often empty”? Or, now that I am working at a museum, will it become too difficult to refer to museums, will museums come to occupy a place of special importance and personal significance, as well as becoming banal and unimpressive, as all things do, when they become routine? Will I no longer be able to write about museums, at least quiet museums, until many years have passed and my life has changed and the time I worked at a museum passed into fiction? (Or into a kind of fiction?)