Category Archives: life

Adopted

I’ve got this excellent idea for a decades-spanning prank to pull on future children. The idea is that you raise your children while giving little clues along the way that they were adopted. Eventually you admit to them that they are adopted while they are still quite young, and you raise them in a loving fashion “just like their birth parents would have”. As the years go past, they are happy but they always have this unfulfilled curiosity about their real parents.

Eventually they leave home and in their adult life they begin to research their birth parents. They get in contact with the adoption agency and the agency tells them that their birth parents are willing to meet with them.

They set up the meeting and when they arrive, you’re there waiting for them, and you fall to your knees and cry out:

“I CAN’T KEEP THE TRUTH FROM YOU ANY LONGER… YOU’RE NOT ADOPTED!”

Migraines

I’ve been getting migraines more frequently. The doctor was perfectly charming. I’m afraid to fill the prescriptions because they sound so strong. Take one per day and no other pills of any kind. Spray into your nose and don’t operate heavy machinery. I don’t want to mess with my brain. But Philip K. Dick did all his best work on amphetamines. Maybe I’m taking the wrong path. I had a dream last night. I was back at school and everything was simple. I was sitting next to a girl with dark hair and dark eyes who’s never really left my mind . She smiled at me. Everything was going fine until she leaned on my shoulder and I began to suspect that I was asleep. Sure enough, she kissed my mouth softly and the rest of the class went on writing. When I woke it was so vivid that I wanted to call her, but with a few minutes of daylight, it crossed my mind that she was seeing someone. I hope she’s happy. I wonder sometimes if she works too hard to ever really know. Or maybe she’s just been dodging me all these years and has a fulfilling life; I can’t rule it out. I wonder if I linger in her the way she lingers in me. I wonder what traces I’ve left in other people. I can understand that – the amphetamines – writing it all in a crazy burst. I ’ve written too many fragments. Eventually I start wondering if I should knit them all together just to give some false sense of accomplishment. Anne McCaffrey wrote Restoree in her Latin class but her bio doesn’t say how much Latin she did.

Meaningful.

Willingly or unwillingly, we are in an indifferent universe where the majority of influences on our lives are not only out of our control but were entirely arbitrary based on the circumstances of our births and the lives of our parents. We still have ultimate freedom, the freedom of a card player: to fold, or to play the cards we’ve received. As Camus said, suicide is the central problem in philosophy. But a game of cards can be won or lost; a life can only be lived, and the terms of that life are yours to define. We recognise that meaning is a value we assign to words and hang on objects; we should feel no despair in realising the profound meaningless of reality, because it is precisely that meaninglessness which affords us the freedom to define ourselves. It is in interpreting that we exist. Humans are a creative race, and creating meaning is the first of our great projects to create ourselves and our place in the vast indifferent universe. Humans were telling stories before they were building cities, before they were sowing fields.

Meaning is not inherent, but you can spend your time however you want. It’s what you choose to do and what you choose not to do that defines you. We are always making these choices.

No Effort

There always seems to be such a very big gap between the things that I daydream about and my everyday life. I do not have any real fear of the future, or of change, or of dying without achieving anything by which society will supposedly measure what sort of a person I was. My fears swirl around living a life in which my dreams are more pleasant than my reality. Where the what-ifs and the might-have-beens take up more space in my memory than the things I did. So I am afraid of dreaming about things that might never happen. Things like being an author, since it is so easy to imagine never ending up as an author. In some ways the issue is that all I’d have to do is do nothing and my life would end up living itself and being empty and meaningless.

I also wish I could fly.

Rain Thoughts

It’s raining outside, so heavily it feels like the sheer force of it will batter the house apart.

Maybe it will! That would be exciting for a little while, then after that it’d be cold and wet and somewhat depressing.

I feel like I need to come up with something profound, because if I don’t, but I write something anyway, it will just end up being angst-ridden crap.

Well, watching a rainbow through the broken ceiling would be pretty cool.

Fragments

A little bird lands on the path in front of me. Nothing else but a puzzled glance, a few brief hops, and then back into flight. I pause for a moment, but my eye quickly loses the bird in the distance. The breeze ruffles my hair just a little. Or,

Inhale the musty odors of old books, eyes closed. Just for a moment, you understand. I open them, and for a moment my eyes meet hers, dark pebbles framed in brunette curls. A smile tugs at the corner of her mouth and she looks away. I smile faintly myself, my mood lightened, and a little gleam in my memory. The curve of her lips, delicate. The secrets in her eyes leapt between us for just an instant. A darkling gaze that I won’t forget. Or,

The discomfort of the seat, the stifled hot atmosphere of the theatre, my senses forget themselves, dwelling only on the figures in the light wrapped in darkness. There’s a joy in their tragic motions that I share, a love of the shadows and the nuances and the subreal. They’ll dance their slow drama every night, each performance a unique duplicate. For me, this moment alone satisfies. For them, it all lies in the instant, a stumbled line, a missed cue, a stolen glance. The mistakes of an actor lie forever in the performance, inseparable from it.

The fragments that make up memories, the experiences that make up people, are not unique, but they are beautiful. Each person in their own realm of photocopied moments assembles them a new way, putting their own captions on the pictures, creating a whole. Here is where the soul lies, within these fragments.

One of mine:

A soft kiss is beautiful.
In the moment before the kiss, there’s nothing else in the world,
only warm breath across your face and a slight tingle.
It feels a little like static electricity, but it’s mostly anticipation,
released in a small spark, which like saliva,
moves between you and I.

“Five days, leaving me wanting more.”

Moonlight

There always seems to be such a very big gap between the things that I daydream about and my everyday life. I do not have any real fear of the future, or of change, or of dying without achieving anything by which society will supposedly measure what sort of a person I was. My fears swirl around living a life in which my dreams are more pleasant than my reality. Where the what-ifs and the might-have-beens take up more space in my memory than the things I did. So I am afraid of dreaming about things that might never happen. Things like being an author, since it is so easy to imagine never ending up as an author. In some ways the issue is that all I’d have to do is do nothing and my life would end up living itself and being empty and meaningless.

I first realised reality was utterly devoid of objective meaning a little over four years ago. For a little while it would overcome me, until I hit upon the realisation that reality didn’t need meaning. The whole concept of meanings, values, representation, is entirely a constructed entity. It stems, I suppose, from the nature of language, and symbols more generally, in their habitual way of assigning order to things. Things isn’t a particularly good symbol itself, I should have used a word more like “entities” or “objects”, damn. So anyway my point, or my realisation, was that the whole idea of things holding meaning was not a native expectation about the world but was tied up entirely with the construction of symbols and languages. So the objective meaninglessness of reality is just a ground state. Without the minute vibrations and movements of subatomic particles the temperature of the universe could reach absolute zero, or, if the temperature of the universe was absolute zero, subatomic particles would cease moving and perhaps cease existing, or, you know, another interpretation of quantum mechanics along those lines. Likewise without thought the universe can reach a state of absolute meaninglessness, or, without meaning, thought is impossible. So I’m not in a void of meaninglessness, because my thoughts are creating a meaningful reality. It’s a subjective reality, and it’s not necessarily externally valid, but the upshot of it all is that I can find for myself the ideas that I want to hold, the thoughts that I think are worth thinking, the beautiful moments that I want fragmented through fading memory cells. From here there is no chance at all that I can become permanently unhappy because it only takes sun shining mutely on my face or wind pressing against me like a lonely animal, and I’m back immersed in the pure wonder of it all. This doesn’t stop me from being unhappy at times. It doesn’t make me feel any better when I am unhappy. In fact existing is pretty much just as beautiful in any mood, it’s just that a lot of moods tend to block out the good bits of existence and focus on the ugly ones.

So.

The problem is that I am afraid that I am going to fail to meet my own standards of how I think I should live my life.

It haunts me when I imagine the myriad ways in which things could actually be other than how I think they are, and those ways are always the sorts of things that would hurt terribly.

Peace.

 

Spectating

They move away, perhaps fetching a drink or joining another conversation. For a moment my thoughts are still on the conversation, and then the background noise saturates me. All the other conversations in the room are crawling over me. My conciousness could flick to this one, or that one, and select just those voices, and hear just these words, but for now it stays drifting. So there’s no comprehension of any of it. Odd phrases, fragments come and go, like ripples across the surface of a pool. I let go of that, and I have just a wave of sound. In this raw mass of conversations overlapping, without any meanings to latch onto, it is suddenly as though I am alone in silence.

It was a nice party, I imagine.

Later, some of us took a walk through the dark streets. It was a lovely night, nary a cloud and nary a breeze, though rather cold. For a second time, I found myself between (or betwixt, if you prefer it that way) two groups. It was less alienating the second time. I am fond of the night. There is a quietness to it, and an intimacy to it, that daytime lacks. Daylight has distinctiveness too of course, it is more lively and unashamedly happy, but I am fond of the dark smile and the quiet moments.

If anything, the big memory that tonight’s walk triggered for me was a cumulative one, of the various night walks on the various camps through school. What I loved wasn’t the destination, but the walking. Night in a quiet place, or night in the wilderness, is one of the few things in the world that still has a quasi-mystical, otherworldy or spiritual essence at its core (two others that I can think of are sex and music, though I am sure there are more). During the day everything is reducible to elements and things are simply what they are, but at night sounds are sharper, vision is deceptive and there is an elusiveness to the world. It is something to enjoy, I think.

Hello, Sun

If there is one thing to be said for irregular sleep patterns, it’s that it completely changes the way you experience times of day. It has been a long time since I have been awake at this time of day; recently my sleeping pattern has been something along the lines of six in the morning until three in the afternoon, and I had completely forgotten what mornings look like, beyond the cold hint of sunrise that tells you that you should be in bed at six. So here I am, writing a sociology assignment, and it’s only now that I realise that I had forgotten what the mid-morning looked like.

Seeing the light outside at midmorning, like a warm blanket and a soft embrace, is something that I am appreciating right now, in its immediacy, much more than I ever did when I got up to go to school every day and looked out the car window without ever quite noticing it.

I am going to regret it later, when I will be reminded more strongly that I didn’t sleep, but for now I would rather just enjoy the sensation.