You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2012.
And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.
(Isaiah 47. 7 – 10)
Once upon a time i was, as usual, telling a student about the shitty working conditions at McLingua, the minimum wage pay which forces you to work 12 hours a day to pay the rent. She asked if i wanted to get a real job for a real company, then said: “But I do not think you are the kind of person who wants to work for a company and stay there.” This was, and is, true. i’ve only had one non-temp job in my life, at the hospital in England. i liked working there as a temp, and as soon as i was permascum i felt trapped & desperate to escape.
The older i get the more i accept such things. My character is my fate (or daimon). It keeps me from making bad choices. Bad as were my temp jobs, doing a PhD would have been worse, as would have been a long-term office job. My nature prevented me securing a PhD post or a normal job. No matter how hard i try, i appear to have come from another planet. People usually find it alarming at first, then they mostly warm to me and find me amusingly elberry. But it takes a while, and hence i failed almost every interview, things not moving beyond the “alarming” stage. i don’t blame the interviewers really, as if i were an interviewer, for an entry-level job, i would want someone malleable & predictable and not too bright. And entry-level jobs were the only kind i could even apply for, lacking the experience and “track record” in whatever noxious bullshit was in fashion.
At present i work too much and don’t have the time to write as i wish. i seem to spend almost half the day traveling, which means i can read but feel overexposed to humanity, at the mercy of public transport, and unable to write. However, i think this is also part of my fate and it gives me plenty of time to think about Bitches & Trash (my new book).
i didn’t even think about publication until someone asked; i replied, vaguely, that i’ll probably just Lulu it like my short stories and essays, and sell a dozen copies at most. i no longer even consider the possibility of money (let alone fame). 8 odd years ago, i realised the world of publishing is totally inimical to my nature and imagination. ZMKC’s tale of rejection is similar to mine, except that i couldn’t even get an agent; most just returned my offerings with a form letter. Two or three, who actually read some of it, said that it seemed good but there was no market for it. And how could there be a market for books no publisher will publish?
This vexed me in my youth but now seems of no consequence. A decade ago i wanted fame and money; over time, i came to see fame as a poisoned chalice; and about 4 years ago i lost all interest in fame of any kind. Money, this i would like, but i haven’t seriously thought about making money from writing in about 5 or 6 years. When i fantasise, i fantasise about getting a highly-paid and stimulating job where i can get home before 1900 and have the weekend free; then it would be possible to write several times a week and there wouldn’t be the slightest motivation to write except because i like writing.
Bitches & Trash is very different to The Better Maker. i carefully plotted the latter and so rarely felt any surprises in the writing. With B & T i have only a vague idea of the next 10,000 words and will just have to be flexible and see what happens. If it fizzles out, so be it. Consequently, i am often surprised as i write; i feel i am discovering the book in the writing. Something of this seems to communicate itself in the work, so even as it’s presently a haphazard bodge it has a life TBM for the most part lacked.
Part of this is just experience; i wrote TBM over 2 years, and then spent another few years rewriting it. If nothing else, i learnt a lot about how to write a novel. However, i believe it’s also to do with my attitude – that i no longer think “this will win lots of prizes and i will be rich and be on telly in a waistcoat”. Instead, i think i’ll eventually do a final draft and put it on Lulu and a few people might read it, and maybe after i’m dead it might be taken up and exploited by the publishers who wouldn’t touch it now.
i’m reminded of Dan Pink’s theory of intrinstic motivation. It has, apparently, been shown that for mechanical tasks extrinsic motivation (e.g. money) increases productivity; and that the exact opposite happens with intellectual/creative tasks – that offering people money actually makes them less productive.
The ox is driven to pasture by blows; perhaps my years of constant rejection were a boon and without them i would not have my present indifference to extrinsic motivation. People sometimes accuse me of being arrogant or petulant (the Southron editors of the Dabbler accused me of “throwing a hissy fit” when i asked them to either format a review correctly or not use it at all – they chose to delete it; this after they’d ignored several relatively polite requests), of deliberately offending people, taking stupid risks, not taking care of myself, not being sufficiently diligent in my go-getting and apple polishing and fawning, acting like a retard, smelling like a dog, and so on. It’s not that i particularly want to offend people but that it really doesn’t seem to make any difference if i try to be nice or not; whatever i do, i can’t get a real job, can’t get my books published, can’t be a Volvo-owning success story. So, after years of rejection, i’ve just given up trying and am now largely disinterested. If people get upset that is their problem, as the Germans like to say.
i was similar in my last life. i liked to be respected (to an often ridiculous extent), but standard notions of fame revolted me, and i was also largely unaffected by financial concerns. In that case, it was because of my privileged background – i was raised to think myself above such things. In this life i’ve arrived at similar detachment through years of rejection & failure.
When i was younger i was more often suicidal, feeling i had no place in this world and shouldn’t exist (what should such poor fellows as I do crawling between heaven and earth). Comparing this to my last life i can see i have a certain basic character and it can manifest in many different ways. It is essentially apart from the world of Volvo-owning Southrons with their mortgages and savings and career plans, their many successes. They naturally look down at me. But i would say i’m not really in the same world as them. i feel closer to a dobermann or a stone than to such folk.
In our culture there don’t seem any convenient niches for those like myself – we are often wildly different and may even loathe each other, but we have one thing in common, that we are essentially disinterested. We do things because we like doing them and feel they are good things to do. We have a limited capacity for compromise (hence, we are often assholes). For a long time, one could take oneself off to a monastery, or even become a R.S. Thomas-style clergyman, terrifying the congregation. More recently, universities were a kind of lay monastery. i don’t think they are any longer. DG Myers writes of his father (also a teacher):
My father did not lack ambition, but he did not have what is conventionally thought of as ambition. He did not itch for career advancement. He avoided academic politics, stayed as silent as Clarence Thomas during faculty meetings, never sought an administrative appointment, and did not waste his time cozying up with the comers and climbers who could have taken him with them up the ladder.
Dad reached his intellectual maturity at exactly the right time—an expanding postwar economy, a massive population shift to the West, a sky-high confidence in education and a rising demand for scientific training. He could afford to neglect his professional image, to avoid the avoidance of risk, to fulfill his responsibilities and expect to be rewarded for nothing else.
This was all done away with in my lifetime. Had i been born 25 years earlier, i would probably have done a PhD in the 70s and would probably have lost my job in the 80s or 90s, as happened to a friend of mine – fired on a pretext by the University of Durham, because he opposed the increasing bureaucracy and all-round foolishness of the modern degree factory. However, i think the world will always have niches for people like me: i cannot expect the world to run to my desires, but nor do i think it wholly hostile and alien. In some sense, i feel the world – even the Volvo-driving world – requires those who go their own way; that die Einzelgänger determine the reality in which we all live. The influence is usually very discreet – so one could see DG Myers as a fairly obscure prof; but i think such people have in reality a great influence, occultly determined and difficult to understand, but real all the same. If, for example, Myers influences each student and some of these students then influence a hundred people, and some of those hundred influence others, then one could see Myers as being, in fact, quietly and extensively effective. And i feel that only die Einzelgänger, like Myers, can be such an influence; their detachment is their power.
1. Via David Thompson, this is sordid and worthwhile.
2. i’m making some progress on Bitches & Trash, my new novel. So far, my hero is still doing pointless minimum wage data entry jobs. Here’s a scene with a fellow temp called TGV:
TGV at eight in the morning on the bus. He is, as ever, chuckling and scowling.
– All right, brother, he begins. Another day, another fisting. Nice and filthy. Blood all over yer hand. Heh heh heh. That’s why they pay us top dollar, heh heh heh, enough to drink ourselves stupid on Mad Dog 20-20.
– How long have you been doing this?
A knowing look from TGV. There’s no time in this racket, brother. It’s all just fucking eternity. Every day is eternity but what’s eternity plus eternity times fisting? Eternal fisting. Your fist up the devil’s arse. That’s how he likes it, brother.
– I feel sick.
– Feel it brother, feel it. It’s all sweet. Maybe you gonna puke on Pikey. Tell you, brother, all the temps’ll fucking applaud you for that one. Only way to roll, vomiting on the Man. Cos it’s all we got left. The Man’s got it all sown up, nowhere to run, only thing you can do is puke on his boots, as he’s kickin you in the head. Puke and hope. Hope and puke. Puke and puke and hope. While you’re being fisted by the Devil, heh heh heh.
– Have you ever vomited on someone?
TGV nods sagely. – On some fancy bitch last week. So I was in pub and I sees this bitch looking all hoity toity and that, and I thinks, TGV has a chance here. Aye, a chance to humiliate himself. So I go up all smooth like and say, all right love, you in porn or summat? And she starts calling me a fucker and swearing and screaming and suddenly I were chunderin all over her head. Vindaloo, brother, vindaloo.
Theodore Dalrymple often likens champagne socialists to Marie Antoinette dressing up as a shepherdess. There is something a little, or very, disgusting about people who have never known relative poverty (let alone the real thing), or ever done a useful hard job, or even a useless hard job, opining about “the working classes” and how they commit so many crimes because they don’t get enough money from “the rich”, and how only having enough money for a flat, daily fast food, enormous quantities of alcohol and drugs, a Playstation, an iphone, an ipad, an Apple Mac, an ipod, a widescreen TV, a wardrobe full of Burberry etc., inevitably leads people to rape, riot, burn buildings down, mug, murder, torture, and so on. Because the sheer injustice of it drives them mad.
Hunter S Thompson somewhere distinguishes between being poor and broke. He says, i think, that he was never poor, only broke: meaning he could afford food and alcohol and was never in danger of becoming homeless. i’ve sometimes been unable to meet rent payments without borrowing money but on the whole i wouldn’t say i’ve ever been poor. Broke, yes; and without a credit card & generous friends & family i would have become homeless several times between 2006 and 2011 (or rather, i would have committed suicide). But i’ve never known real poverty, poverty of the eating tree bark soup variety. i have, however, done many hard jobs, most of them totally useless, and i’ve lived in ghettos and in posh areas in Leeds (where my upstairs neighbours were drug dealers, and Bonehead & i got in an altercation with half a dozen chavs on the street outside my flat, in my first week) and Manchester (where a girl high on LSD broke into my house as i was getting ready for work one morning). i lack patience for well-off middle class types who have never done a gruellingly hard job, have never worked alongside normal, uneducated plebs, have never been routinely bullied as part of their work, have never had to fight or face down chav gangs, mouthing off about capitalism and inequality and Tories and how we must overthrow the Establishment and so on.
In general, it’s hard to sustain a simplistic view of class without either living in a rich man’s enclave, or being a fanatic. Daily contact with shoplifters, crackheads, rapists, Muslims, lifelong dolescum, alcoholics, etc., will encourage a certain skepticism in a man. i’ve met very decent plebs, who one might accurately call “working class” in that they were largely uneducated and had jobs and liked to work; they were often quite physically violent but with some provocation; one strongarm guy i worked with greatly alarmed a sheltered colleague, but i felt that these brawlers are fine as long as you don’t “take the piss” as they put it. Even then, they wouldn’t beat you to death with an ashtray. These plebs had no sympathy for dolescum and would have regarded a Polly Toynbee type of leftist with wonder and contempt, as knowing evidently nothing about life outside her left-wing dinner parties.
My father, like Dalrymple, was a doctor. He was a GP and spent most of his time with what leftists would call “the poor”. On the whole he had no illusions about humanity; if anything, he could have done with a few. i remember he once referred to people in South Shields as “the scum of the earth”. He was nonetheless a good doctor; he seemed able to treat a patient as he was in the moment, reserving his judgement for later. He voted Liberal Democrats because he regarded Labour as what they were – a bunch of disgruntled, hate-filled idiots; and he regarded Thatcher as one of the great destroyers, a crass, money-obsessed idiot.
It would be interesting to know how many doctors are leftists, compared to academics. i would guess that academia is more often the home of left-wing sentiment, being as it is as far removed from “the working class” and poverty as is possible. With experience, simplistic solutions become untenable. The most important thing is to have experience, to know what you’re talking about – not from official reports and statistics, but from living in shitholes and fighting chavs and crackheads. Otherwise, you’re just a tourist.
She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge
She studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s College, that’s where I caught her eye.
She told me that her Dad was loaded
I said in that case I’ll have a rum and coke-cola.
She said fine and in thirty seconds time she said, I want to live like common people
I want to do whatever common people do, I want to sleep with common people
I want to sleep with common people like you.
Well what else could I do – I said I’ll see what I can do.
I took her to a supermarket
I don’t know why but I had to start it somewhere, so it started there.
I said pretend you’ve got no money, she just laughed and said oh you’re so funny.
I said yeah? Well I can’t see anyone else smiling in here.
Are you sure you want to live like common people
You want to see whatever common people see
You want to sleep with common people,
you want to sleep with common people like me.
But she didn’t understand, she just smiled and held my hand.
Rent a flat above a shop, cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool, pretend you never went to school.
But still you’ll never get it right
‘cos when you’re laid in bed at night watching roaches climb the wall
If you call your Dad he could stop it all.
You’ll never live like common people
You’ll never do what common people do
You’ll never fail like common people
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view, and dance and drink and screw
Because there’s nothing else to do.
Sing along with the common people, sing along and it might just get you thru’
Laugh along with the common people
Laugh along even though they’re laughing at you and the stupid things that you do.
Because you think that poor is cool.
i spent the weekend in Vienna, suddenly sick of Munich with all its tittering Schicki-Mickies; taking the same s- and u-bahn every day, seeing the same places; eating the same Gemüseburgers. i arranged to meet the Viking to buy his old computer (my 2.5-year-old Packard Bell has a wonky audio socket and the screen’s been flickering for the last year, also three of the keys fell off). Here are my notes:
En route, a five hour trip. i booked a seat in the quiet compartment and all is well until an Austrian family get on, all occupying different double seats and shouting across to each other. The bitch sits directly in front of me, a typical loudmouth German female. i wish to annihilate her.
Instead i make strangling gestures, snarling silently in misogynistic hatred. i then retributively listen to Rammstein. Although the quiet zone (no phones, no loud conversations, no German bellowings) is common and conspicuously displayed, i think most people simply don’t mind noise and so they don’t take it seriously; they wouldn’t mind if the other passengers ran around naked, smeared in excrement, flagellating themselves and killing Jews, so they don’t see how anyone could object to them bellowing away on their mobile phones.
Schopenhauer thought that one could correlate intelligence with sensitivity to noise. There may be something in this though i don’t think it’s necessarily a moral difference – many touchy, intelligent people are awful, and i’ve known amiable dullards. But i would say, at least, that the dullards are rarely interesting to me; whereas most of my friends, and all my women, hate noise (Juniper developed tinnitus after working alongside a hideous woman with a hideous screeching voice). Most people are “worse than senseless things”, in that senseless things don’t turn the radio on to maximum volume then walk away and just leave it on because they don’t see any reason not to.
The train arrives in Vienna and i decide to walk to my hotel. i get lost and wander quasi-ghettos. Largely Stalinist architecture, big roads, squalor and boarded up shops; even the women are ugly and have rickets and gammy legs.
i finally come to the Hotel Kolbeck, after 100 tedious minutes on foot. It’s a good hotel: unpretentious, small, clean, friendly, 5 minutes’ to the u-bahn, and affordable (78 € for two nights). i have a fondness for these grim but honest places, where you see this out your window:
Alongside the financial motivation (i.e. it’s cheap) i also like places which aren’t ritzy, aren’t in a good area, but are clean and you have everything you need. The passable interior takes on a peculiar, sparse nobility when you look out of the window. No kettle, so my drug-dealer bag full of green tea will be of no use here.
i go to Stephansplatz to meet the Viking. He looks like what he is – a fundamentalist puritan Roman Catholic Chemist in a hat. After a decade of professional Chemistry he has entered a peculiar mental hinterland inhabited solely by himself, Nicola Tesla, and some of the more villainous Popes. We go to a cellar restaurant with stone walls and various pagan-looking articles on the walls (severed heads etc.). Good stolid meat and booze. A beggar comes in trying to sell some kind of homeless magazine. We both say no and he goes to the other tables then returns and tries to pester us into giving him money. We grunt and ignore him. i’ve learnt to more or less ignore beggars as even saying “sorry, no” or “no thank you” is often taken as “please tell me how you need money for your orphan child without a kidney until i give you everything i have”. Italy is the worst: there, the waiters passively let gypsies badger the guests; most Italians just ignore it completely, but i had to defeat a hunchback gypsy witch in a staring contest when i made the mistake of telling her i had no money, which led to exhortations to give her the money i didn’t have, because then St Anthony would give me money, etc. etc.
The Viking tells me an elderly beggar woman in Canada offered him a blowjob for a fiver.
Later, as we are walking the city at night, an old woman pesters him for money and he gives her 2 €. Perhaps he will go to collect his blowjob after we part.
We end up in Starbucks for two gingerbread lattes. We sit on the ground floor by the stairs and witness feminine beauty descending every few minutes. A girl who looks about 15 in her face, but with a great body, walks by. She is wearing tight American flag leggings and we both stare at her (cute) ass. Later, i ask the Viking if he thinks she was legal. He shrugs. To him, as a fundamental puritan Roman Catholic, it is all sin. A 5 Euro blowjob from an elderly schizophrenic, an orgy with a 14-year-old girl, a gingerbread latte, Chemistry, it’s all sin and will lead to the pit of fiery torment. And so we sit there leering at the beautiful girls, drinking our gingerbread lattes.
The girls are as hot as in Munich but they don’t look as stuck up and rich. In Munich, they’re all rich or have a rich papa. There are plenty like this in Vienna but there are also the ghettos and quasi-ghettos. Munich isn’t an easy town for bohemians because it’s so expensive, and so hard to get a flat. People think about money, all the time. In Vienna, the girls look not exclusively interested in money. At least, they cast longing, lustful gazes at the Viking, who seems to exert a tremendous power of sexual attraction, in direct relation to his complete obliviousness and his Catholic tramp aspect. Here he is, scrutinising a map and thinking about the Inquisition:
He leads us in the wrong direction for 15 minutes because, in his words: “I was holding the map the wrong way up.”
He gives me his new old laptop. It runs on Linux but has Windows as a vestigial possibility. It has a Slovak keyboard. It has Catholic imagery. His blonde hairs sprout from under the keyboard and seem stuck into the circuits when i try to remove them.
We part and i sleep the sleep of the damned. He returns either to his present home (Bratislava) or to the beggar woman to whom he gave 2 Euro.
The next day we meet and go to Alte Wien, one of the essential cool places to see in Vienna, though according to Wikipedia it is no longer very hip “and the clientele often includes bizarre characters”. It’s actually fairly quiet and not pretentious or glitzy. They have tiny coffees because the Viennese don’t seem to understand that a chap might want a large black coffee; you can either get an espresso or a cappuccino or a cafe latte. i try to explain the concept in one place – “a big cup, with only black coffee, no milk, no cream, just coffee” and the girl looks bewildered and pained. She says she would have to give me three espressos in one cup, which would cost 12 Euros.
At Alte Wien we discuss the relation of thought to language. The Viking only reads Chemistry books, manga, and Christian theology. As a puritan, he believes the words don’t make any difference to the idea, that the Bible is better read in a 21st-century retard translation since (obviously) it is blasphemous to read it for the beauty of language. My own feeling is that you can’t even have the idea without the words and if the idea is powerful the words must also be powerful; if a potentially powerful idea is rendered in bland, lumpen prose, you will read it and have to as it were mentally rewrite it in order to really feel the idea. i had this experience with a friend’s book on Milton, which i spent hundreds of hours literally rewriting: the ideas were very good, the prose dead; i couldn’t even fully apprehend the ideas until i had dissolved her lame academic prose into the idea, then recast it in my own words, an exhausting exercise.
i would distinguish between rhetoric (e.g. Dr Johnson, George Steiner, Milton, Kierkegaard), anti-rhetoric (Wittgenstein), and non-rhetoric (my friend’s book). Rhetoric one could see as a writer’s conscious attention to language; it can be for good or ill, so most modern academic books are malignly rhetorical, using language against itself, to conceal the profound worthlessness and vacuity of the “thought”. Anti-rhetoric is itself, i think, a kind of rhetoric – it is paying close attention to language, to prevent unnecessary excesses of style (Camus and Wittgenstein). Non-rhetoric is, in a sense, honest – it’s what you find in people who write but really have no talent for language; they don’t even try to use rhetoric (most Fantasy books are non-rhetoric; some have very good ideas and characters, but the writers can’t write).
As we are talking about this, someone who looks almost exactly like Thomas Bernhard sits behind the Viking and reads a newspaper, looking contentedly suicidal.
We then proceed to the Christmas markets. The first is Am Spittelberg. This is on a series of small sidestreets and, to my surprise, the stalls are quite interesting, with cheap Glühwein (3.50 € for a big mug and you get 2 € back when you return the mug) and some sexy Christmas Austrian girls. i buy a leather money pouch for an old friend:
i thought about buying one for Juniper too but decided it would be a bit creepy to buy identical gifts. i also acquire some woman-strangling gloves and a big blue mug. This is the first good Christmas market i’ve seen to date. i feel very Christmassy and drunk. Partly it’s the atmosphere, the small sidestreets, the sense of being in a medieval city rather than in a huge modernist square (that is, in a place made for human beings rather than cars or ideologies):
The Viking and i continue, eating poppy bullets (Mohn Kugeln) and feeling bloated on sweets and booze. We see a stall. All the products contain rose petals. A bizarre idea. A heretical idea, the Viking clearly thinks, stroking his beard and scowling. However, the gorgeous freckled girl behind the stall drags us over, by the power of her freckles. She offers us samples. It all tastes like Turkish delight. i don’t really want to buy anything but then:
elberry: Are you from Vienna?
girl: Yes, but I am a student here.
elberry: what are you studying?
girl: German philosophy.
elberry: Ah. Do you read Wittgenstein?
girl: Yes, it includes Wittgenstein. But he is very hard.
elberry: Poh, i think he’s quite clear really –
Viking bursts into a kind of simultaneously imploding/exploding laughter.
girl: He uses words in a special way so you must first understand how he uses them.
We talk a little about Kant and Heidegger and in the end the Viking buys some rose booze and i buy some rose jam that i don’t really want.
Viking: She was a good saleswoman.
elberry: You mean she was hot and she was studying philosophy.
A highly successful Christmas expedition. Emboldened by philosophy, we proceed to the Rathaus market. Monstrous abomination, a crime against Christmas and philosophy. A huge open square with stalls selling the same trash they have in the main Munich market – plastic or wooden angels, toys, candles, mass-produced & overpriced. It is swarming with families – Mann und Frau und Kinder. Nobody here reads Wittgenstein. We plunge into the crowds then our resolve snaps and we decide to fight out way out. It is almost impossible to escape as hordes of families bear down upon us, grinning and sweeping us towards the plastic angels. We fight and manage to break through the line and then find ourselves in yet another aisle of kitsch, surrounded by families who don’t read Wittgenstein, and have to fight once more, then again and again and again.
Finally we emerge, bruised and sore. We got to Figlmüller, a famous Schnitzel house, shaken by our near destruction. i eat Schnitzel, the Viking some kind of baked cheese. i am disappointed. The Schnitzel is okay but i had better in a normal beer garden in Landshut, for 2 € less. On the other hand, there is a lot of it. Two Slovak girls sit near us and i exhort the Viking to lay his engorged phallus in their potato salad, and say: “You gonna do something about that?”
“I don’t know how to say that in Slovak yet.”
We walk the Schnitzel off then part. When i try to use my new computer to check my email it automatically goes to Linux, as i forget to select Windows as my OS. To my delight, i find that on Linux it’s still logged into the Viking’s Facebook page. i frape him:
A good weekend in Vienna, selling my body in the Prater for 5€ a time. Made enough to buy myself a huge pot of mashed potato!
In Munich it is cold and feels close to snow. i lug my bags home and try to prise the Viking’s pubic hairs out of the keyboard.
New Public Enemy song. Some highlights:
“Say what you oughta
World outta order
Paid the cost father time ain’t never lost
Y’all ain’t heard it
I work it
The senior circuit
See some quit it
Cuz they don’t get it
My aim is
Forget what my name is
Yeah I ain’t famous to be famous”
“Birds droppin out of the sky
And y’all google why?”
1. Two poems i wrote for the ballerina:
hesitant and sleepless
Klosterlikor and Kafka
a girl leaves in the snow
It began to snow during our last lesson, a Saturday in late October. She gave me the gifts you see here:
So much is a gesture. That is, a sign, something of little or no value in itself; it has value because it suggests or necessitates emotion. Here, the gifts – chosen with care & thought, and quite expensive for a frugal German – suggest some affection, and so i am glad. After the class we exited together, in the snow, walking close together as the wind came against us.
2. Such emotions often seem to coincide with spiritual cataclysms and adjustments and what have you. In this case, i’ve started having unusual dreams, and a token came to me a few days after the snow. The token was a symbol and a strange one at that – a symbol of just war, especially of the underdog against the oppressor (it is an explicitly Luciferan symbol); it is also a Hermetic image. It came in a fairly earthly way, on the bus. A woman left it on her seat and i saw & took it as i was about to exit, a stop after hers.
i also made a bindrune for the ballerina. Making bindrunes is like writing: i turn possibilities over in my mind then start; and unexpected shapes emerge. In this case, the bindrune looks like a dancer. When it’s good, it surprises me.
3. i accidentally started writing a new book. i was pushed to it by reading Alan Garner’s Boneland, and feeling all broody about the ballerina. i merely wanted to write something to reflect my mood and this came out:
Dawn and a howl. This is how a story began. Dawn is earliest. When he thinks back, he comes to the howl.
Prelude, pre-condition, or a stumbling and defiance and spite.
That earliest is always dawn in his mind. Winds lay the earth down in great broad plains, and then rise and become mountains. They are the oldest winds and endure. Where the mountains peak, the sky.
First, rivers. Blue and green and brown, suddenly there in the stone and dust. In this impermanence, life.
The sky is blue from rivers.
And one day he became a raven and flew.
i was surprised to find a second page came the next day, and now i’ve done 3000 words and have a good idea how to write the first volume.
4. i sometimes share dreams with Juniper. i mean that, 400 or so km apart, we sometimes have the same, or very similar, dreams. In this case, she dreamt:
last ight: we met somewhere nd you were sad, all the time talking about [the ballerina], we walked along a river I never saw before, then wanted to eat but my fridge was rather empty, only some remainings left which you mixed together, became a kind of dough and in the end you had little cakes which looked like Muffins, then you looked extremely pleased with one in your hands and said: amazing, I did it my self, I am able to produce something nice like these Muffins…. Then my dream ended
This describes well how i feel when i do good writing. Not blogging or emails or book reviews, but, for example, my dozen or so short stories. In these moments i am surprised, i produce something better than myself, far better. It is an intoxicating feeling. It was habitual in my early 20s – most of all from age 22 to 25: my own thoughts seemed greater than myself; my mind was a fire then. After leaving university, when i was 25, it re-emerged with difficulty in my short stories. i wrote most of these in a few months when i was 27 or so. Then i began working and my mind seemed extinguished. i merely survived for 5 years.
i feel now that the ashes of my mind are at least warm. i don’t delude myself: i know my writings mean nothing to most people and that some of my readers probably hate everything – or at least most – of my work, and would be happy if i died and everything i’ve written was destroyed without recall, and they regard me as subhuman trash from Huddersfield. This is natural. i don’t write for them. i write, if you like, to the greater glory of god and i only ask that i be utterly destroyed, if i have no worth.
5. This is a song i like. The last lines:
What did I learn, it’s not that easy
When you get burned and go on burning light
i pray that i burn, one way or another – to be utterly destroyed, or to become a fire and light-bearer.