Pure signal.

Conceits, Desires, Well-Intentioned Diversions and Writing

I have had conceits, desires, well-intentioned diversions and writing. Writing is the thing I am all about — I am one of those unfortunate writers that professional writers like to complain about — I actually believe in what I am doing — that is has some kind of significance. I can’t offer what that significance is, and I can’t swear that it has any reality outside of my own existence, but I am aware of it — it’s in here with me — if you are concerned with me at all then you need to understand that, and if not then fuck you anyway. So writing, with it’s ambijective significance and other beasts.

The conceits are the worst part of me. When I was 17 I wasted some time with a couple of long-con operators who had worked in the fashion industry. They wanted to open a modeling school/agency — maybe all such endeavors are filled with filth and slime, this one certainly was. I was living in Newport Beach, and I was impressed with the clean sidewalks, the boats, the cars and the other trappings of wealth. (A friend who moved there from Seattle recently commented about how people there have “taste” — I vomited a little into my throat.) I would love to say that there was some redeeming quality to all of it — I suppose if you are a big fan of mine you could write it off to curiosity. I wasted some months of my life there. And I think my attachment to the University of Washington has had something of the same quality to it — saying that I am affiliated with that campus has that kind of empty respect inside it — it makes me feel more important than I actually am, in the same way that money does. Status is ultimately long-con.

The desires are both more innocent and more destructive. Of the last 5 years I probably spent three of them hoping that one particular relationship was going to finally work out. That one particular girl was actually my soul mate — she wasn’t. I had to learn that though a series of profound humiliations — I suppose I deserved all of them. Or maybe I didn’t — but they came anyway. I spent a lot of time being exited about something that wasn’t going to last, and that may not have had any reality at all to begin with. And then I spent a lot of time being sad over it. Mostly I spent a lot of time waiting, thinking that things would be better in six months, or better in a year. While I was waiting I didn’t go anywhere or really do much of anything. I was waiting for my faith to be redeemed. I perceived myself as having a long suffering faith in love — but it was really just desire. People have loved me here and there. I do think that I loved one girl once — I saw her recently and my heart fluttered as it has always fluttered, but I didn’t expect or believe anything was going to come of it. I am glad she exists, that is all. This other thing — the thing I waited for — it was some strange combination of believing that I was special, that I was going to be rewarded for being special. Of believing that another person was gods way of rewarding me as opposed to simply being another person — that is the ugly truth of much love.

Well-intentioned diversions, I think, also stem from some form of vanity. The need to be more significant than you are. I am not significant enough, so I am going to attach myself to something that has significance, and hope that some of it splashes over. That can be a cause, or it can be religious. I am not interesting enough that you should listen to me, so I am going to talk about starvation — because starvation is important. So I am going to talk about it, and by god you will listen. If you don’t listen then I can call you names — it is your fault instead of mine. I am going to talk about God (not so much the last few years, I kind of saw through that one when I was younger — but it fits the pattern, so I am going to give it a swipe.) and if people don’t listen to me it’s because I am spiritual and you are – I don’t know — shallow. But we don’t have to be fully cynical — even when considering ourselves — I think that, for instance, desiring to do something about starvation and disease can proceed from a noble impulse. Hence the title well-intentioned diversions..

Because it is important to recognize that they are diversions. And the well-intentioned part is how they always get back under my skin. The trick is that I am not very good at the things I need to do to address them. I am clumsy and afraid of blood, which made me a terrible phlebotomist. I don’t have the patience for science — I am bad at it. I put a lot of time in (when I say I don’t have the patience I don’t mean that I can’t sit for hours in front of the books and try to solve the problems — I made it all the way to Real Analysis and Modern Physics — I mean that I am not steady enough in my thinking to do the high level problem solving. It’s not a cop-out — I tried.)

And for all of that trying I accomplished absolutely nothing. The limited gains I made were compromised by my inability to get along with other scientists, or to play the grant and resume game. I spent a year with an idea that ultimately got a 12 million dollar grant, which I mismanaged to the point of having my name no-where attached to it, and the lab that got the grant shelved the idea in favor of anti-terrorism research. (Update — it’s been shifted to another lab and is actually working it’s way through to field testing, I was to negative to quick here.) I would love to say that someone stole it from me — but no, I gave it away. I was a dead weight on the idea — my lack of credibility as an investigator actually inhibited my own good idea. And ultimately even the idea itself withered and died. (other folks have come up with better variations on the same thing without my help — this is the point — not that I am some kind of victim, but that through trying to do good, I was ABSOLUTELY USELESS.)

But through all of this I have had writing. Writing is the one thing which has given back to me. Which is not to say that I have been recognized for it, or that it paid my bills, or that this is the acceptance speech for some award. I mentioned, I am one of those writers who professional writers hate — they write tracts about me. I am an embarrassment to them. I write because I think it is important. I write because it is the only thing that I can do. I write to save my life.


March 1, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. That was, at times, what they call “brutally honest”.

    As far as the love thing… You and I have almost polar opposite histories, but I feel like I should say something about it anyway…

    Maybe just to unload my own conscience, but maybe also in an attempt at consoling or empathizing.

    One can be the lonliest number, man. You know I know how that is. But what I don’t know is what it’s like to try, try again and get excited for it, and see it start happening and then FAIL! And recover and try, try again. That’s gotta leave different kinds of bruises.

    I just went from one unhealthy unrequited obsession to another until I read, I think it was, Peter Carroll’s bit about how to release oneself from obsessions and then opened myself up and asked the Universe to give me what I needed.

    And when Julie came around, I was convinced Julie was what I needed and I accepted the Gift. (But it could’ve been a replacement obsession… Anyway…) That myth sustained me for several years and it still has some power to it. As the years keep passing, I’ve doubted it, dismissed it, questioned it, but never fully turned my back on it. Julie is, in many ways, exactly what I needed. Well, at the very least you could say she’s exactly what I needed to end up exactly where I am, but where I am isn’t so bad. (At least I’ve gotten used to it!)

    Some days I wish I had a Life Philosophy. You know? Like some kind of system all worked out. Like I’d go back to the basic questions, the basic basics and start from Square One and figure it all out from there.

    So, what’s a basic question? What am I? A chattering monkey? A sentient flea on the side of an insignificant mudball in the middle of relatively nowhere? “An atom in an ectoplasmic sea, without a direction or a reason to exist”? Or more?

    I don’t know. Which is where I always end up. I don’t really know. For all the questions in Life. From ethics to physics: I mostly don’t really know. I wasn’t there, I didn’t do it, I didn’t see it, you can’t prove a thing. No, really. Big Bang? Fuck if I know. China? I’ve heard rumors, maybe felt some effects, possibly met folks from there… But, personally verifiable information? None. I don’t know.

    I just take people’s word for it. My worldview is one flying fart in the wind of the mass-consensus we all draw from to make everyday decisions as well as life-changing decisions. For example, I trust the guy down the block to purify my drinking water. Never met him, but I’d have fatal diseases without him. He’s part of my extended monkey-sphere, like the inventor of fire. I am nothing and neither is he, but together we are the dominant species on the planet (which is still insignificant in the larger picture, but we can’t think about everything like we’re Zeus or Buddha up on the mountaintop all the time or life is useless and we might as well give up).

    It’s all connected like that. That’s Square One for real. You can’t ever forget that or Life becomes unbearable. IT is ALL ONE thing. We are constantly swapping contents with the greater extrinsic Universe. Our “own” minds are not even safe from that interweaving mess. We are bits in the stream and specks in the spectrum. We are a temporary instance of sentience.

    Which is to say… It’s all just dust in the wind, dude. Life is basically meaningless no matter how you slice it… Meaning is all in our minds. You can’t really fail at that. Life goes on with or without modern Western ideals. All you gotta do is hang on for the ride and play whatever games strike your fancy.

    But that’s still taking a really Existential view of things. And real life quickly becomes too caught up in being Human and tossed about by our emotions and desires, goals and all that. All those things we get ourselves all worked up over, because we got tired of being mellow and wanted to really DO something with our (meaningless on a Galactic level, but ever so important on a monkey level) lives. “Tiger got to hunt/ Bird got to fly/ Man got to ask, Why, why, why?”

    Sometimes, I think it best if you just assess the situation as best you can and then aim for Happy. Whatever you can do to achieve and maintain the Happy… Sometimes it’s not too clear where Happy might be, but you gotta keep aiming somewhere regardless, so you strike out in a random direction hoping to hit Happy… Other times, it seems really fucking crystal clear where Happy is. But, then it turns out that wasn’t Happy. That was eight years of whatthefuckwasIthinking? It can’t be helped. You aimed the best you could at the time. If you could’ve aimed better, of course you would have. Even so-called “self-destructive” behaviors are a twisted back-handed shot at happiness. And the fucked-up thing is…

    6 billion (and counting) people are all aiming in the same direction.

    And you think, All right, now people
    They have finally woked up
    But as soon as the trouble over
    Watch them take another nap
    Nobody is making merry
    Only trotting scared of boss
    Everybody’s making hurry
    For some old forgotten cause
    But one thing is surely eternal
    It’s condition of a man
    Who don’t know where he is going
    Who don’t know where does he stand
    Who’s dream power is corked bottle
    Put away in dry dark place
    Who’s youth power is well buried
    Under propaganda waves
    Who’s dream life is in opposition
    With the life he leads today
    Who’s beaten down in believing
    It just kinda goes this way!
    Oh no, it doesn’t have to be so
    Forces of the creative mind are unstoppable!

    Comment by Chuk Baldock | March 7, 2008 | Reply

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