all, thoughts

Go on.

The holidays. The weather. The lack of sunlight. Friends, family, bosses, clients, coworkers, lovers and exes and would-be lovers and would-be exes. Ourselves. Everything. It’s so easy to get depressed, overwhelmed, hurt, lonely, angry and annoyed at everything right now. But this is us operating, seeing and thinking in linear, limited ways.

And nothing is linear. We are intricate, multidimensional creatures and the world around us is a complicated prism of lights and smoke and mirrors. Nothing is simple. Nothing is black and white.

Tis the season to remember to step back and see everything and everyone from a different angle, and from another one, and again, and again, as long as it takes to put it all in its full, proper context. And then to step outside of our own limited bubble of thoughts and actions, to turn the prismatic mirror onto ourselves and to try to grasp how others perceive us.

This is what I keep reminding myself: Step back. Breathe. This is all temporary. We are bigger than this. I am bigger than this. We are the universe, and the universe doesn’t get sad or angry. The universe simply goes on.

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all, prose & poetry

The Fall

It’s been one of those months that build up inside you, day by day, each hour a composite of lead-weight minutes, and the seconds all ticking from within your rib cage, tick-tock atop a tickety-tock, all at once, like a flurry of water drops on cement, loud, pointed, neverending, each a tiny kick, cracking the surface until wild underground weeds push their way through and take over. Eyes blink slower, hair rustles, whispering amongst itself, and the heartbeat becomes an overflowing river of white noise. Something will implode, alone in the proverbial forest, with not a soul to hear nor make a sound.

You write the same thing over and over. Start with a doodle and the inevitable comes out. Sketches of blank-faced women, thin arms ending in long, alien fingers, falling, floating in space. Sentences that drag on, imagery of decay, destruction from within, people morphing into something inanimate, entrapment, something impending to both awe and indifference.

You try to hold onto your old gods and their prophets: a sea of pink elephants swimming in the rising sun; impending apocalypse; a dozen photos of the sunset spread out on a bed; an old envelope filled with a moment, a breath, a key; the sounds of enormous flying whales, their wings flapping-flapping-flapping, moving higher and higher and taking you up up up, beyond air, beyond sound and life, to somewhere that never existed but matters more than anything that ever has.

You stagger, pull up, fall. The sky above is actually cracked white plaster, pipes forming a crude geometric design alongside its breadth. Wind is gushing in the largest of the tubes, clouds escaping among steely weldings, precipitation forming in small shuddering droplets.

Mesmerized, you are unable to recall the oldest of all things – how to breathe, move, struggle. Your thoughts form into hollowed out caverns, framed by impenetrable rock and darkness. You forget what came before, what brought you here, what lies beyond the present and eternity. Sounds descend through a burrow of interweaving nerves. Vision calibrates among lost concepts of dimension and time.

You focus on the last remnants of what was memory and language. You put words to what are floating, unsteady instances in the quandary of being. This here is a stone, a brick, one upon another. Between them, a solid membrane and another above, and here, yes, another brick, hundreds of them, in tall, proud columns, gargantuan rows. That’s around and below. A body of you stacked in still, umber pieces.

Abandoning your dreams of the sky, you try to sink into the earth, reach for the groundwater, sprout roots and harden with bark. In a last breath of reason, you absorb this solid new self until the reality of it is irreversibly set and wrong. Despite your best efforts, you have not become a tree, but an empty, abandoned building.

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all, inspiration

Tao Lin, author:

 from a 2007 interview 

What is your current worldview?

The universe doesn’t tell us what to do. But consciousness means that each moment we are required to do something, even if it means to just sit there. We must choose. That is what consciousness is, to choose.

So people make assumptions to create temporary philosophies, or rules, in order to know what to do in each situation. Assumptions can be “pain and suffering is bad,” “satisfying my urges is good,” “surviving is good,” etc. All assumptions are equally arbitrary from the perspective of the universe itself. Therefore when I do “good” things I am also aware that it is “good” only from my own perspective, and only for a certain moment in time, and only because I have made assumptions, which other people also have made.

Depression is featured prominently in your book Eeee Eee Eeee and I wanted to know what your personal experience and views on depression are.

I think I have “felt bad” a lot but I’ve also “felt good” a lot, even if it’s because of something like having a coffee and knowing I have a number of hours alone at a computer to write or listen to music or whatever, or getting an unexpected email or text message or something from a person that I like. I’m not sure if there’s any way to measure if I have been more “depressed” than other people. I try not to make it into a contest. My view on depression is that it is probably on a scale, like from 1 neuron to 1,000,000,000 neurons, and a person isn’t either clinically depressed or not clinically depressed, but that those terms (and this can be extrapolated to most terms that exist) were created by corporations to make more money.

I think when people are able to self-diagnose themselves as “depressed” they are also more prone, in those times (when they think they are depressed), to think in opposite ways of when they are happy. For example a depressed person might think, “I look fat in this dress,” whereas an hour ago, when they were not a depressed person, they would think, “I look good in this dress,” though they weigh the same. Maybe if a person can have some detachment and realize that they are thinking the exact opposite of what they were thinking an hour or a day or a week ago they can learn a little to “choose” to think in a way that can help make them “happier.”

Thoughts cause emotions, I think. A person thinks something, and then feels emotions. And a person can control what they think, if not completely then at least to some degree.

Which New Yorker do you most admire?

I don’t know what “admire” means, but I like Werner Herzog because he doesn’t complain and is not dramatic. He always makes many documentaries about people who are in very terrible or potentially dramatic situations who remain calm and nice and do not complain or act dramatic or act like they are in a terrible situation, but just another situation. I know he isn’t from New York but that is okay. He has probably been to New York before.

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