Bonehead’s email response to my situation, uncertain prospects, debts, woes, plans:
i hear you. my sentiments also in part. i cling to my dreams and to writing, to the notion of the unpredictable entering my world and scooping me out of the probable. the notion of a life unlived is abhorrent but i guess as part of one’s commitment to a life less ordinary one must first and foremost have a life, therefore one must keep living regardless and if one continues to live one is at least fulfilling half of the requirements of a life less ordinary, whereas if one hangs oneself, one will fail on both counts. whether you return through necessity or no, there will undoubtedly be other opportunities, there always are for the free spirited. you are in no danger of succumbing to sleep like the invasion of the body snatchers. liberty is in your very core. let these debts not worry you – money is a fiction ultimately. we come in as skin and bones and leave that way and nothing changes from birth to death. money comes and money goes and should be given little consideration.
i have long regarded money as essentially insignificant, perhaps in defiance of my generally shaky finances. For about 23 years i’ve felt close to eviction, homelessness, utter destitution; hence my generosity to tramps, genuine tramps that is, rather than gouchers. i’ve only felt fairly secure for one year, when doing my MA in 2000/1 (i somehow got funding from the G). In 2004, when my father kicked me out of the house (for eating a ready-made meal), i had about £300 in credit; i began temping, and i now owe my bank about 5 grand, and friends & family another 4, with no prospects of even earning enough to pay my rent, let alone of paying off this sizeable debt. At least half of this debt was contracted with the idea of leaving Blighty and becoming a teacher abroad – i feel shame that i will never pay it back – shame for the money i owe my mother & friends, that is – the bank can fuck themselves.
Being unemployed in a foreign country affords me leisure for contemplation, and much of this contemplation is to do with money. Money is only a symbol but it is an important one; like language, it is an expression of the Fehu rune – the societal force, that which joins us to each other, fully a part of this messy physical reality, rather than atomic elements, insular and unwanted, and unwanting. Thus the economic instability, hyperinflation, in Germany following the Great War, and the simultaneous “crisis of the word” in literature, art, and philosophy (for example, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and Eliot’s The Waste Land, both to do with the failure of language); likewise, our own disintegrating economy and the disintegrated language of advertisements, propaganda, PR, Government statements, television, newspapers. My first German coinage, ungemeinschaft, or ‘uncommunity’, is apt.
To be unable to earn money is as much as to wear a sign saying “i am of no use to anyone, i have no skills, abilities, no quality that makes me of value to another human being; there is no reason for my existence; my existence is an affront to the human race; i am a parasite.” To be, as i am, unemployable – fit for no useful or even useless employment – is to be an exile from human society; it is as if i had a private language, and thus inescapably idiolectic i can hold no share in human reality. i am only physically here, like a brain-damaged imbecile – spiritually, i have no right to call myself human.
i am not, i hope, greedy. It is not money i want; i want the security of regular income (and no, 15 Euros a week doesn’t count); but more, i want that for which money is a symbol, that for which even language is a symbol – the force of the Fehu rune – to be human, to have some use for other human beings. To be, as i am undeniably am, unfit for even minimum wage jobs, is to be of no human use – it means that i have no value; an obsolete coin; a soldier wearing the uniform of a country that no longer exists; a man who only speaks a private language. All these, all these.