A recurring dream. Two dreams. In the second the insect, a beetle about the size of a small dog, surprises me by crawling out from underneath a lampshade. It has a purple carapace trimmed with gold. Its parent was what I saw in (I think) a previous dream. Large, brown, and unfed, moving slowly in a dirty tank upstairs. I keep having the same dream, or dreams. Dreams with beetles and dreams without. Dreams in which I am navigating alone through a world which terrifies me. Dreams in which I betray those I love, accidentally, in ways that I can’t explain and do not understand.


sometimes you compose and post 22 tweets about breakups because you feel like you need to scrape something off of you

you post 22 tweets in a row and you feel emptied out and for the next hour or two you refresh the website idly and feel heavy even though you have lots of work to do

the tweets are generalized and not referring to anyone in particular—you are offering advice, not condemning anyone…

your ex who you have blocked on twitter sees the tweets very quickly, someone has alerted her to them or she checks your twitter obsessively, both are believable

she tweets this response, which takes your tweets to be totally performative, saying that they provide “disdain for you all,” in a form that is “instructively over-generalizing”

it’s mean and disregards you, in this response the tweets are simply a performance in order to annoy someone who is unidentified

yes a part of you wanted her to see the tweets because you still (it is insane) want her to realize how she hurt you, but no the tweets were not a performance

they were not meant for her…


the consoling aspect of writing the tweets was that they were general, they would not have functioned if they were specific, you have done some of the things you said not to do and you regret it

just like it is instructive or calming to visit websites like buzzfeed or psychology today or medium for answers to simple but devastating emotional scenarios

to type your current emotional state into a google search window and read through the first page of results

for that same reason it is edifying to compose the tweets, to imagine writing them to an audience that includes yourself

why do you want anything from someone who sees past you so insistently and who can only see you in relation to themselves?

it’s insane but you do want it

you write a friend that you feel very dumb, that it is dumb to feel sad about a relationship that ended so long ago, when you have so much else going for you right now

they say that it isn’t dumb

they are right and you know that of course but the fact that it still twists and turns inside you makes you worry that something will never be fully resolved

and that is true but it has always been true and it’s only when you pretend that it isn’t that you get yourself in trouble


The document that yesterday’s post was written in was called “presentation,” which was largely unintentional but seems apt for the record that it keeps.

Yesterday I said in my experience it usually feels less rude to me if the fact that you are dating someone becomes apparent before you realize they are interested in you. That if it does not come up organically it can feel like a slap.

Then the conversation moved on, I talked about how a video that I had recently posted on Instagram had produced this response: “lmao u are really v hot” and how I did not know what to say.

I said that I gave what I thought to be the perfect response roughly 16 or 17 hours later which was “haha thanks.”


I was late for therapy because there was something I didn’t want to talk about. When the words came out of my mouth I became slow and heavy, like molten lava slowly turning into rock… I sat in this heaviness while my therapist sat forward in her seat. “Seeing you like this, it’s having the opposite effect on me, I am energized, I want to get you going.” On Monday after class I went up to my office and tried to do work on a project that I didn’t want to do. The same feeling came over me. Lately I have been good about doing things I don’t want to do but now I was a dog going in circles in front of my computer. I stood up from my desk and walked to the window. I walked to the shelf. I did push-ups. I ate halloween candy. I returned to my desk. I went for a walk, and bought dinner, and read about Augustine while sitting in the unheated second floor seating area of the Pizza Pizza on the corner of Spadina and Bloor. Then I walked back to the office resolved to get started on this project I didn’t want to do, this work that had nothing to do with the Augustine I was reading… Instead it was much the same as before. Eventually I wrote about 150 words and went home—if I was exhausted at least I could get to bed early. I crawled under the covers around 11:30, but didn’t get to sleep until past 1:00 in the morning… I read two short essays by Roxane Gay… I tossed and turned… I sat at my desk and turned on the computer… Now I wish I had done some work. But all I could do was abide in my heaviness, an exhaustion that didn’t want to be satisfied, a reluctance that announced itself by shutting down my core systems, one after another… Luckily this only seems to happen to me now in rare instances, but when this feeling does come over me it is difficult to recognize and I don’t know what to do.



The other day a former partner saw me sitting with another woman, and there was a look of recognition on her face that I knew to mean “Of course.” Or perhaps that was my imagination. The relationship that I had to this woman I was sitting next to was strictly professional. The affair with the other woman had been drawn out and clandestine. Even knowing the look was incorrect I still felt wounded by it, which is what I often feel that I deserve.


Love is a kind of motion, or so says Augustine. Love is a kind of motion and all motion is toward something. The motion of love takes us to the good: we crave what we know, which is good, otherwise we would not crave it for its own sake.

Hannah Arendt: “The distinctive trait of this good that we desire is that we have it. Once we have the object our desire ends, unless we are threatened with its loss.”

Love as craving reaches back to once we once knew, “desire is a combination of ‘aiming at’ and ‘referring back to’.”


We know the good can never be achieved. Love is ideally a mediation of amor and caritas: love your partner as a neighbour; satisfy (for the moment) your lust. To give in to either drive would inevitably lead to personal dissolution. Like Arcite, your horse startles at an imagined phantom and you are thrown (or like Vronsky you push the horse past its limits and it is destroyed). Or, like a character out of Nightwood or an old english poem you relentlessly persue a past that never was (neither theirs nor yours).


Am I pressing forward like a knight on a great journey, moving slowly through the forest in my scant armour, anxious before every clearing, aware that at any moment I might be overcome by my enemies? Or have I set myself in a little cottage with a mean fire in a dirty stove with smoke staining the windows? And am I digging through the ashes looking for something which won’t be there—a glint of gold or silver or something else entirely, smoked, mesmirizing, complete & occupying… (—& is this death itself?)


When I first started playing Hearthstone I’m sure that it was more than just a reflex—that my strategies were considered, thoughtful, that I cared more intensely than I do now whether I won or lost. I remember being frustrated, as someone who had then spent no money in the game, at my opponents’ deeper card pools, at the cards themselves which I imagined I would never own. But I still enjoyed the game, and something kept me playing. I carefully considered each move before I made it, and if I made mistakes, it was as a neophyte, someone negotiating the transition from other card games I had played to a new ruleset (and entirely new system or method of delivery which made the change necessary).

Though I go long periods without playing (that is by design), now it is little more than a feeling, an exercise in stimulation—I don’t care as much whether I win or lose, though I’d like to win; I know the game well enough that I don’t have to think very deeply about my moves, even when they’re wrong (I realized recently that I have been playing much too cautiously, especially when I have the upper hand). But moving up the rankings is no longer my goal—instead it is the persuit of the reward chain, the quest for gold, and more than that a feeling of completeness that I never experience while playing but imagine that I will, in the seconds before each game has begun. Paradoxically, because sometimes I win, I am occupying a position of permanent loss.


That anticipation empties me out, if I am not careful trapping me a loop which is difficult to escape. It is the loss of will, a surrender of the self, and it is only with a heroic effort afterwards that I am able to recover myself at all. I reflected on this yesterday while sitting through an Old English class that I had barely prepared for, though I had all of the time in the world to get myself in order. Feeling like there was nothing behind me or ahead, terrified by that feeling. I want to succeed in that class, I hate to feel unprepared, I like wading through archaic sentences and language, seeing the connections to modern words or alighting on alien syntax. But that day I had been trapped in a position of permanent escape, as if I could live in frozen time forever waiting for a moment of action. As if in that space I am accomplishing something that I don’t understand.

Where do I think I am running off to? I remember watching a series of YouTube videos about the video game Downwell and marvelling at the amount of time that the host had seemed to put in, maxing out the score categories and still infatuated with the world. In one of the videos he constructs a chain of time-vortexes, places where his character could exist free from downward pressure, free from harm (action is frozen while inside, but if an enemy touches a time vortex they explode). Wouldn’t it be nice? asked the voice, speaking of his construction.

In the medieval period, depictions of courtly love were both a model for behaviour and a cautionary tale. Being carried away by one’s physical desire, letting the imagination delude, was rightfully portrayed by some authors as dangerous. But the imagination had consequences outside of becoming too infatuated with one’s object—in mid-fourteenth century England it was made illegal to imagine the death of the king. Putting an imaginative act into law would seem to engender that act of imagination, but by criminalizing the imagination they were making clear a distinction that might otherwise feel too commonplace to note: not everyone imagines the death of the king. 


Something that I am struggling with is recognizing that not everyone feels the same draw for escape that I do, not everyone is able to imagine themselves so perfectly without. Without thought, without desire, without self. For them the imagination is not as dangerous. I can speculate why that is: perhaps they grew up in a persistent world whose contours or limits they never had any reason to doubt. Perhaps their actions had consequences, in both the positive and negative sense. Perhaps they feel deeply connected to their own sense of merit. Perhaps they have never felt the terror of feeling broken, not even once, let alone in a circuit, as if they were running laps.

Perhaps they never had to imagine a different life, even without realizing that’s what they were doing. I don’t think it is laudable to exist in this way, though I once did. Heroes who thought this way end up dead. I am reminded of something that Borges said about being shy as a young man, that he had thought of it as a distinction until he realized it was actually a handicap. I wish that escape did not have such a hold over me, but I haven’t yet figured out how it can be overcome.