I call this the Gene philosophy, because I learned this from someone named Gene. Today I add something to it: the only reason I feel this way is because I want to…and…the addition: the way I want to feel is bliss, is joy, that’s the way I want to feel. That is how I feel now. That is how I want to feel. What I’m ready for, what “me” is ready to explore, is joy, is bliss. Think of the word “want” how the Mad Hatter uses it in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “Your hair wants cutting.” That is what it is ready for, that is what it requires. That is what it is deficient in. This is what my self is ready for, this is what it requires, this is what it is deficient in. It has required suffering, it has required company, it has required proof. It acquired those things. Now it requires joy, it wants joy. And, according to the Gene philosophy, what it wants…is what it has.
Camp Lake, novel about camp counsellors. Very tired now, every day. Tried moving to New York a few days ago but it didn’t take. Came back to the country. Happy with the book, sending it to agents. Have strands of ideas here and there, making notes, but probably won’t write anything new for a long time, so…starting to rest, taking a break. Watching TV. Letting my mind off the hook for a moment.
Starting to see the world again, as a place that might have something to offer that I might be interested in.
Read books in a bookstore with my sister today, critiqued covers and first sentences.
Feeling peaceful, able to conceptualize someday feeling happiness. Don’t feel it now. But have an intellectual model in which I believe it might be able to happen. Kindof don’t care about whether my books get published. Feeling, not suicidal but a release, a not-caring, an over-it that isn’t fun but I recognize as a powerful position. The hanged-man position in the Tarot…last time I was here was a decade ago…and the thing to do from this position is to unhang the man. I don’t feel angry anymore, I’m not angry at anyone from the past.
I’m seeing several of my other life paradigms as described within a master paradigm of suffering and joy. Almost a year ago I set out on a journey to not drink alcohol (or do any other drugs, whether they be legal or not). Since then I have come to see that abstinence as part of a larger paradigm of maintaining a meditative state. And now I see those both as part of a larger paradigm of not suffering. I’m not not-drinking not to drink. I’m not not-drinking to maintain a meditative state. Both of those are true. But in a larger sense I am not-drinking because I don’t believe it’s my duty to suffer. Not-suffering also entails not punishing myself for my past, and not punishing others for their pasts with me. I don’t want to suffer and I don’t want anyone else to suffer. So I can’t argue with my dad anymore. Or tell off my past employer. What I said to and about both in the past was right for that time. Now, not because the past has changed, not because of anything except that I don’t want to suffer or cause suffering in someone else, I don’t have any reason to engage in those discussions…because the reason I was engaging in them, ultimately, as big as I can think, is that I felt it was my duty to suffer. Working a job that doesn’t fit me, that also takes my life away, is something I was willing to do within a framework of believing it was my job to suffer, that it was necessary and good for me to suffer. Not taking care of my body is something I had been willing to do because I accepted that it was natural for me to torture my body by drinking caffeine and alcohol and doing other traumatic things to myself. If, and as, I accept and believe that my job is to joy, not to suffer, many things fall away.
I don’t know what I’m doing next. Probably not much for a while. I’m focused on things like exercise, meditation, belief (that my dreams are eventual), love (of myself and others), forgiveness (of my past selves and the pasts of others), and the idea that I wasn’t made to suffer, and that it’s okay, and good, for me not to suffer. I would like to get that from—as the expression goes—my mind to my fingers.
Seeing through some shit, some of my own and some of others.
…that someone can write a book, while it is to some degree solipsistic, is to a large degree an indicator that the writer (since their books entertain people) can make up a reality—what people say, what people do—(in certain ways) better than, or equal to, what actually happens in real life…the writer can create characters that are varied, and more interesting (in certain ways) than are (on the whole) the people who read the book :: it’s quite amazing that some people can do that
When I think about letters, symbols, images, languages, I feel good. I do not feel good when I think about riff-raff economics, cultural paperwork, road signs, or the false lines of municipalities. I need to arrange my life so that as little time as possible is spent dealing with filling out forms for governments, and as much time as possible is spent creating.
And even though, to everyone’s opinion, the pictures were coming out great, the bride wanted to argue that someone like me (who washed his hair with a certain type of grease, who shaved in a certain way, etc.) wasn’t the person who would think like she wanted her wedding photographer to think. We took some indoor pictures, then she decided she wanted to take some outdoor pictures. Instead of simply moving outside, however, she wanted to argue about why I hadn’t started us taking pictures outside. Even my assistant joined in the bickering, and photographic progress stopped.
Talking with Mom about the aspect of adult children of addicts wherein our sense of normal is out of whack. I need to do the eccentric thing: define normal as what I do.
I have to remember that I am a genius, I have talent, no rejection, not even a lifetime of disconnect between me and the world is sufficient to shake that. I am learning to cope as one who runs counter, as in order to survive I must cope thus. When I see images of Europe and Africa on movies I want to go there. To someplace foreign. I will ensconce here, save money or make it writing, and go to Morocco, but not in ways that cause me suffering, in ways that cause me joy. I really need to get myself straight in terms of self-image, self-esteem, self-value. To do that within myself completely, and really ultimately believe that what other people think and do has nothing to do with my value. Their damnation, their compliments, mean nothing.
In terms of the competition, it was like I knew I was in the top few, but I still had to go out and beat those remaining few. In a more general spiritual sense, I think that I need to view this world with the trip analogy…I’m on my trip, everyone is on their own trip. I need to stay on my trip, regardless of what others are doing. Maybe that’s part of it for me.
Dream that I was in a bicycle riding competition/race where a bunch of people, each riding a bike, had to get to the bottom of a [spiral] (square-spiral) staircase that was going ‘round the core of a school building. Most of the competitors were elementary to me…hundreds approaching thousands I didn’t consider any competition, and I let them go first, because there was no real competition there. So the race was easy. But, still, there were maybe four people in these hundreds approaching thousands who were my real competition. It was as if I was technically on this playing field of a thousand, but it was clear to me how in terms of my game, it was just me and four other people. Knowing this, I could look at the field, and my place in it, differently. Last night I prayed for knowledge of how I fit into the world spiritually. Maybe this is one element of that.
I’m thinking of going to New York, getting my book published, paying off my debts, and then moving to Morocco.
Talk to no one. No riff-raff. Watch The New World. Meditate. Make myself walk pure. Create. Do nothing else. It’s a spiritual path for me, above all other. Center is the most important thing. Interface with the cultural world is secondary.
Finished my second draft of Camp Lake yesterday. Doing what I said: leaving behind the past. Not expending any energy on things, and people, of the past. Might go to New York.
I’m halfway through chapter 7 of Camp Lake, on my second draft. Part of what I’m realizing, during some points of reading this, is that, for me, in my own mind, writing this is going to change my life. Some things won’t be the same for me after I write this. Not by anyone else’s recognition, but by my own. The me that writes this is a transformed me.
When I’m done editing Camp Lake, spend some days in the woods, away from Mom’s house, to get some perspective on what I’m doing next.
One of my disillusionments is this: when I was a child, I thought the world was a place where I would be able to find someone, somewhere, I would be able to work for, who I could trust. I don’t believe that anymore.
My target philosophy for my life, at this stage in my development, should be the Gene philosophy. I’m feeling the way I am because I want to. Deal with what I want to feel, and make that happen.
It struck me today: I drive myself crazy trying to have high-level (perfect) communication and relationship with, say, my dad. I mean: I make myself anxious because it is not so. Yet, who do I have as a model for relationships? My dad, my mom, who divorced. That is where I learned to relate. And that’s ok, I don’t need them to be perfect, but I realize that I am realistic that others will not be perfect, that the context/world/environment/group will not be perfect, yet I am unrealistic about myself in that regard. I expect myself to be perfect in an imperfect world. Maybe I can change that.
My dad really lets me know where I stand with his lack of response to my email. He must respond more quickly to work email than he does to mine, or he wouldn’t have a job. I need to remember that. I am too quick to forget the bad feelings something gives me, and then I’m too willing to return to it.
I need a plan. I need to get some peace. I’m going to do whatever interviews I’m invited to do with this Bloomberg possibility. If they offer me the position I’m going to go there, take the money, and use that to get to Morocco in exactly one year. Starting June 1, or now, I’m not going to talk to Dad for a full year, maybe more. Just on general principle. In fact, I’m going to shun any contact from anyone except some contact from Mom, Suzanne, and Amy. If I don’t get the job, I’m going to move to New York anyway and be homeless, find a job, and work quietly without any family contact for a year, then go to Morocco. I will save enough money to stay in Morocco for as long as their visitor period is, 6 months, a year, and while there I will get some motherfucking peace. A rough draft of a plan?
Mainly I need to not listen to anyone’s appraisal of me. And I need to have a positive one of myself.
And I want to finish this book. I’m so close, I think, but I need to do this last pass. Having trouble focusing.
And not feeling good about myself in relation to this world. Which I really don’t want. It’s a dangerous place to be.
All fears, if you track them back, are fears of death. I need to get to a place where nothing outside me matters, I am unafraid of death, and I have a sense of self-worth that is unaffected by others, impenetrable by others, so I can enjoy my life.
Plagued with ideas of impurity. Need to go to sleep. I’m up too late. Going to give up for today and try again tomorrow.
I write that and then I go and send Dad a bunch of email, nothing mean, thoughts. I feel compelled to let go, but I am unable. It feels horrible. I hope I don’t die tonight. That’s my prayer. Please don’t let me die tonight. I want another chance at a day.
Want to learn not to hate myself. Think I need to learn that loving myself runs counter to allowing everyone possible into my life. Dad, for instance, as much as I love him, makes me feel bad about myself, for whatever reasons. I need to think about that much more simply than I have been…to think about it like this: it makes me feel bad to interact with him, so I don’t interact with him. Simple. Had a tech interview tonight. Was expecting doom and failure beforehand. Got every question right, enjoyed the interview. I want to get over the pervasive idea that I am not worthwhile, that I am not worthy to interact with other people. I want to get to a point where I can feel ok about myself enough that I can simply operate in the world…that someone else’s decision about me doesn’t support my ideas of self-hatred.
Dream that friend/police was inspecting my car. Stuff was out of date but they decided to let me keep it. Our family van was in a warehouse/shed. I was in a desert city like Tucson. All my family had left me. I had enough gas money to drive somewhere in the region and start an independent life, or I could admit that my life there was already independent. There was freedom possible/necessary and I just had to admit it to myself—realize—that that’s how it already was. Key part of the dream was that while in waking life I sometimes think I am leaving my family by being independent, actually in the dream they have already left me, they have already moved on, are doing other things. I say that when you fear something from others it is always a fear of what you might become. Maybe when I’m afraid that Suzanne will disappear without telling me where she is, that is really a fear that I might do that. I have been constrained sometimes by fear that my moving, my independence, will in bad ways leave my family behind. But, for a while, I lived in Dayton and everyone in my family moved away from there, and I was the last one left there for many years, not by my leaving, but by being left behind. I liked the independence of that. In LA, I didn’t like it as much. Film school was okay but I never felt I had a home in LA. I love aspects of it but the driving there was hard during school and after school.
Watching Bourne Ultimatum last night, seeing Morocco in HD, makes me think of moving there. Sometimes I think of moving to New Haven and going to Yale, but I wonder, with my mind, with the Internet, I am perhaps contained enough, complete enough, to not only be able to be happily, without college and without any particular place…I am perhaps best suited to be someplace like Morocco, whose aesthetics have always attracted me, where I could get a room or even have a house, but where I would constantly be surrounded by aesthetics different from my upbringing, and where the compact, complete mind that I am could be in surroundings that acknowledge that. I could be quite happy being in my own world in a place so foreign from my youth and young adulthood. And I would love to be in Africa again. If/when my book sells, I may do this. I’d love to see writing as my absolute in life, and as a second, see travel abroad and living in Morocco (something I have always wanted to do since I first saw pictures of it or read (Hemingway’s?) description of cashing out your bank accounts and never returning from Tangier). And as a third…if at all…have jobs…and make them portable and minimal, to support the fuller me.
I really want to make the 120k Camp Lake / present writing state something like a KT boundary with the dinosaurs. Without hate, without emotion, with acceptance, leave what was on that side, on that side, and start fresh on this one. Or: continue minimally on this one.
Little patience for those not attempting the impossible.
Got to 120k words on Camp Lake. I said I was going to write no less than 100k and no more than 120k words on the raw-writing draft, so I am done with that part of the work. I plan to smooth, order, and edit, and write a couple of sections that I already know I need, over the next couple weeks. Then, if it’s complete enough for me to let go of, I’m going to send it off.
I am using this as a milestone, a boundary, in some other things in my life too. I won’t use this boundary as a cause to get upset if I here-and-there break it, but in general I want to boundary off the old communication with people with whom I really don’t have anything to do with in my current life. The people who are current with me are Mom, Suzanne, Amy, Ashley. I’m not exiling Dad but I don’t want to be involved with him or anyone else where it’s basically a lose-lose entanglement.
My energy is for my sake, I reserve it and release it as it serves me.
Dream that I was skiing along a hallway heading to a class to which I was late. It was a freedom/mobility dream, though, I wasn’t worried about being late to the class. Me and a couple other people went into the class. The teacher was critiquing my work (which happened to be painting in this case). No one recognized me. We were just a few minutes late. I sat in the back of the class. The teacher was saying how brilliant my work was.
Stop. And never look back.
Wake up meditating. Get to, or maintain, that clear/blank state right as I wake up.
To the extent that I damn Dad, I damn myself. To the extent that he calls me crazy, he is crazy too. I come from him, so if his claim that I’m crazy is true, then it must be true about him, too. I might be able to accept him if I look at it that way…there is something wrong with him…he is flawed…I am too…and we have a kinship in that. Which I think can allow love. But that doesn’t eliminate the aspect that his communications to me (and perhaps mine to him) are designed to hurt, and I choose not to be hurt by him anymore, even if that means not even reading email he sends me.
I feel worried, and I’m thinking about Rebecca, and I’m feeling disconnected from the world.
There is something about writing a book that makes me know I must demand a higher level of interpersonal lingual interaction, or cut off lower-level such interaction, or at least make a clear understanding in my mind of the delineations. There is an overflow of riff-raff communication going on, riff-raff noise, that I think depletes a certain kind of person…and that kind of person is me. So much of the frame on which we hang our ideas of human relationships has to do with language, that if the language being presented me by other people, compared with the language being presented them by me, is glacially different in substance level, content level, etc., that in a way there’s not much relationship there. I would like, for instance, to be able to play frisbee with someone without talking to them, or to fuck them without talking to them. And maybe to some degree I can. In my current writing, though, I’m becoming clear that, even after this writing is over, I cannot go back to the lingual noise (even listening to it) that makes up the vast majority of chatter between humans. In some form, I need to live aloof, aside, separate, above, between, or otherwise separate from bonehead-level symbolic interactions.
The level of consciousness when writing should be just above that of dreaming.
It’s going to end. Decide how it’s going to end.
Unbearable loneliness. I realize that’s a misnomer, since technically I am bearing it, but…that’s how it feels.
I’m at a point where the loneliness is so great that I have to do something about it. I could numb it, as before, with alcohol, with lying to myself, with pretending the facts of the world are not what they are. Or I can face it, live through it. To go that second route I think will involve some non-traditional tactics, one of which I’ve skirted with before. And that is real separation, not pretending that there is a connection where there isn’t. That’s a hard road.
Reading that, it’s funny. That’s how I thought when I was 18. What can possibly become of a person who writes that when they’re 18? They will not find comfort in the company of average family members, workmates, etc. A person like the person who had those thoughts at 18 is going to flounder with how to connect to the world, if he chooses to connect with it at all. He is not going to find it easy, in any way, to connect with the world. Much of what he tries, in that regard, will be failure. My uselessness/irrelevance with respect to certain domains of the world does not imply a lack of value in myself. I’m very different, though; I’m special. To even think that goes against one of the deepest rules within me, which is to abate ego and treat everyone as if they were the same. It is hard for me to consider, now, that the present me is that much different than everyone else; I don’t think we are that different from each other. But I can certainly say that the thoughts and actions of my 18-year-old self who wrote that text, are very different from the average person. Though to me now, it’s a bit stylized, the insight and poetry held by that person is greater than what most people achieve in their lifetime. Hence am I alone.