September 12, 2015

Forty-two Sentences


Either you're with us or you're with someone or something else that might be equally worthwhile.

Freedom of speech is most often the freedom to be celebrated for saying things that support the status quo and to be ignored for saying things that challenge it.

Instead of freedom of speech, freedom to establish a more egalitarian alternative to capitalism.

In my two year attempt to write a kind of strange, fictional-autobiography I now realize the block is very simple: I don't want people to know about my life.

Jealousy of other artists is perhaps the most natural part of being an artist.

Artists should have honest discussions about ambition.

Having the courage to be very briefly arrested for your artistic convictions.

If there was no capitalism I would still have desires. But what would they be?

The feeling that I'm trying my best mixed with the feeling that my best isn't actually very good.

Time before clocks.

Christmas is proof that the dominant culture is in fact dominant.

Vulnerable paradoxes.

Mohammad Mosaddegh, Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, Patrice Lumumba, Salvador Allende.

It is completely possible for an argument to be both brilliant and wrong.

It’s going to get worse before it gets even worse.

Remembering that neoliberalism began not with Thatcher but with Pinochet, and suspecting it will return to its roots.

The best thing to do is apologize, but one should perhaps not already be planning one's apology before one does the bad thing.

It seems everyone needs an other against which to compare, but some of us find this other within.

Markets will self-regulate themselves into ever increasing, more volatile speculative bubbles that sporadically crash.

If there really was a free market it would collapse of its own accord.

When working on a new project, for me the hardest question is always when to fight and when to compromise.

All the artists I admire are such a strange combination of completely open and completely stubborn.

There are already so many books and movies and songs and wars: why make more.

The importance of writing books that are compelling in such a way that they will never be nominated for any awards.

I feel like other writers are trying to write the perfect book while I’m trying to write brilliantly imperfect ones.

I'm hopeless but not without hope.

Reinventing the reinvention of the wheel.

Emotions, one might suggest, are always left unfinished.

During the final game of the world cup, the star player decides to score on his own team's goal as an act of treason.

Solitude versus loneliness.

Desire without expectation.

The assumptions that are in a discipline's blind spot are in fact the same assumptions holding the discipline together.

Money is the lie that makes things possible, so possible we could weep.

Feeling desire is beautiful. But acting on it requires a certain degree of ethical reflection.

If there wasn't a heaven why would anyone bother dying?

Men emotionally recounting how when they were younger they were repeatedly told not to cry.

Posting the same thing over and over again seems, to me, the more I consider the matter, to be the true essence of the internet.

A feeling that the things I'm most interested in generally don't exist.

Keeping art boring in the name of artistic excellence.

Letting things not work.

This feeling that I’ve never been in more intense despair, a feeling I’ve certainly had before.

Racism and sexism are the gasoline of capitalism.


September 7, 2015

Thirteen quotations on loneliness


I don’t believe I’m my own best front (terminal, tie-in, interface): my body, my social bones, what’s on offer there. Rather I want my art (these objects, this language) to be my social body; I believe the art is a better nexus (joint?) to the best parts of me, a realer me. I want to stay home and work – let art do all my talking.

Not unrelated, I always think if I put everything into the work (to the exclusion of all else), the objects that erupt, pullulate by this practice (distillation?) would accordingly be steeped with an ardor such that they would travel into the world and provide people all the love and company and attention I’ve there invested. That making alone would somehow be fully satisfying (qualify as social), and that the exhibition (as some utterly authentic virtual rendezvous) would somehow serve as a thorough modus of loving. In this way practice alone would assuage loneliness and destructive experiences of isolation. It’s a wager I’ve been nursing for decades. (None of this ever seems to work in the way I have planned.)
– Harry Dodge, My Meteorite

The drama of being a loser in the sex selection sweepstakes reveals a confounding irony that is at the center of Houellebecq’s work. You might have been abandoned by your mother (as most of his characters are), indifferently raised, humiliated by your peers; you might be temperamentally aggressive and hostile and feel very little kinship with or interest in most people you meet; you might find true contentment only when you’re alone. In short, you might be thoroughly unsuited for human society. But this will in no way relieve you of the need for other people. You will suffer unbearably from your loneliness, and you will not have any way to fix it.
- Elaine Blair

God knows most of us Americans hate being alone. This may explain why our popular culture is the best in the universe. We keep pouring the cream of our genius and love into producing the antiloneliness serums that are our movies, pop songs, and television shows. We take nothing more seriously than our fun. Well, all of this has been said many times before, often by pundits displaying that other familiar compulsion, to make people feel bad about what makes them human and sociable in whatever way their world allows. Loneliness is no sin. It is “an infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing” in need of infinite consolation.
– Peter Schjeldahl

Learn to love solitude, to be more alone with yourselves. The tragedy of today’s young people is that they try to unite on the basis of carrying out noisy and aggressive actions so as not to feel lonely, and this is a sad thing. The individual must learn from childhood to be on his own, for this doesn’t mean to be lonely: it means to not get bored with oneself, because a person who finds himself bored when he is alone, it seems to me, is a person in danger.
- Andrei Tarkovsky on being asked, ‘What would you like to tell young people?’

Loneliness, which is really lack of love, is the pain of being unable to be present, makes us inhabit our bodies differently. At its most radical, loneliness’ pain relates to a missing presence beyond any comprehension or memory, as the speech of what feels the unspeakable. Where it does not, or rather cannot, remain trapped in the self-soothing, heterosexual loops intended for it, it may become a question of political engagement.
- C.E., Undoing Sex: Against Sexual Optimism

Loneliness is the deal. Loneliness is the last great taboo. If we don’t accept loneliness, then capitalism wins hands down. Because capitalism is all about trying to convince people that you can distract yourself, that you can make it better. And it ain’t true.
-Tilda Swinton

So often loneliness comes from being out of touch with parts of oneself. We go searching for those parts in other people, but there’s a difference between feeling separate from others and separate from oneself.
- Diane Ackerman

Suicide is a crime of loneliness, and adulated people can be frighteningly alone. Intelligence does not help in these circumstances; brilliance is almost always profoundly isolating.
- Andrew Solomon

I have been trying, for some time now, to find dignity in my loneliness. I have been finding this hard to do. It is easier, of course, to find dignity in one’s solitude. Loneliness is solitude with a problem.
- Maggie Nelson

So much of our social justice work comes from creating worlds that reflect the opposite of our loneliness.
- KeiyaA

For all the things that we believed / Nothing's ever been achieved / But loneliness, fucking loneliness
- Momus, Loneliness

Solitude can become loneliness; this happens when all by myself I am deserted by my own self.
– Hannah Arendt

Our internal loneliness is echoed by the structural loneliness of society.
- Claudia Rankine


September 6, 2015

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha Quote


This border is rotten meat, a hallucination, a wavering line
a stupid idea. Can't we blink and it'll be gone?

- Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Bodymap


September 2, 2015

Waiting Poem (First Draft)


I’m trying to figure things out but I’m not figuring things out, unable to separate my thoughts from my feelings from the things I have utterly and totally wrong. It all folds together in one long unfigured mush. After I die they can dissect this mush and find the tumor. Someone will decide if this tumor is a thought, idea or feeling and someone else can decide that they’re wrong. They might decide to argue about it or decide it’s simply not worth the bother. But for now I am still alive, trying to figure things out, searching for where to start, or what might be the beginning and what might be the end. Having a beginning or an end might be a start. A crime scene needs a clue, a culprit, a verdict, but more than any of these things it needs a judge. When I get sad I want to blame someone and I want that someone to blame myself. I don’t know what the point is of publishing books after you die but I know there is often an increase in demand. When posthumous demand decreases we might think of it as a different kind of success. And then there is this chronic hacking cough, the most literal thing I am currently trying to figure out. Everyone thinks they are my friend but I am forced to admit I don’t think of them in quite the same way. Let’s let differences remain different! Or let’s not and say we did! Last summer I was sad and this summer is similar but different. How are we to understand a pain that won’t let us ever quite escape? How many pages have I written or will I write before I die? Too many and, what’s more, too few. A sinking feeling that is almost criminal? I am trying to figure things out but in the grip of a terrible unfiguring. Before I had no readership but now I have only the readership that will hate these words. There are so many of us who all agree, who want to replace literature with telepathy. And if we can agree on that I am certain we can agree on so many wonderful things. Do you want to read the first three pages of a possible new book and let me know what you think? Past page fifteen I have the terrible, awful, horrible feeling that there is no turning back. I am trying to turn back, figure things out, learn where I went wrong. Each fork in the road is a devastating lie regarding the nature of choice. Things come too easy to me and it is all unbearably hard. But keep going, we keep going, as each step demands and falls in love with yet another step. This is the true nature of time. Different shades of waiting and different calamities of time. When you turn against things they turn towards you, and again, turn into step after delicate step. One of the words I have been using far too often in my writing is the word tears. This word is like so many words, an appointment I probably should have cancelled. This word is like a secret that is also the exact opposite of a secret, a secret place. A secret that needs editing and will always remain unedited. Crying as you write the word tears.