Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Night comes. Night, that dreadful hour when you're by yourself, that dreadful hour when you are forced to face the hollowness that's inside you.

It creeps up to you out of its hiding place, an ugly lair in the recesses of your heart, and strikes out when your guard is down. A gossamer of daily routines weaved out of threadbare material with you at its center, feeling safe and well protected.

But see, there goes one thread - SNAP! - and it sees an opportunity and snaps at you. Like a hermetic tank with one tiny crack, it floods out and drowns you, slowly, surely, and painfully.

The pyramid collapses with one little act of negligence. The whole magnificent architecture you spent an eternity to erect comes tumbling down.

Night comes, lighting the sky with small dots of stars, leaving you all by yourself to fend yourself from your own thoughts.

Jittery. Fidgety. Things aren't right.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reflection: Creation in Silence and Solitude

When silence knocks at your door in your deep-sea solitude, will you answer it and let it enter and seep into the core of your being? Or will you thrash about and spurn the terrifying loneliness that it brings to your solitude? “For the memories themselves are not important,” writes Rilke, “Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves – only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.”

Memories. Do they not constitute the material with which we mold ourselves and create something out of ourselves? And is it not the breadth of experience that defines the scope of our lives and gives us that rich depth from which we draw our inspiration? Why, then, am I shut up in this small apartment, far from life and all its inexhaustible experiences, and dwelling among the dead, in the imaginary realities of poets and writers? Why are you not plunging yourself into the swift current of life? Why are you not— living? Or are you gazing down into yourself, probing what has just happened in your life, and trying to make sense of it all – all, that is, of a mere 22 years?

But listen to the wise man: “Present experience has,” Nietzsche writes, “always found us ‘absent-minded’: we cannot give our hearts to it – not even our ears! Rather, as one divinely preoccupied and immersed in himself into whose ear the bell has just boomed with all its strength the twelve beats of noon suddenly starts up and asks himself: ‘what really was that which just struck?’ so we sometimes rub our ears afterward and ask, utterly surprised and disconcerted, ‘what really was that which we have just experienced?’ and moreover: ‘who are we really?’ and, afterward as aforesaid, count the twelve trembling bell-strokes of our experience, our life, our being – and alas! miscount them. – So we are necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not comprehend ourselves, we have to misunderstand ourselves, for us the law ‘Each is farthest from himself’ applies to all eternity – we are not ‘men of knowledge with respect to ourselves.”

Yes, so who am I really? Is that what am I asking and seeking? My “Self”? Let me reflect back to the time when I was still callous and immature, arrogant and clueless, and think – in retrospect – who I was. And who was I, other than what those four telling words reveal? No, self-search is not the point, not the point at all.

Rather, I am engaged in creating something out of all that past, setting aside for the moment if this act would “justify” that heap of memories, that pulp of experience. Creation requires attention and concentration; it requires, moreover, sacrifice, or more precisely the sacrifice of everything present and ordinary.

The budding and burgeoning of this little plant I am nourishing with my past requires my turning-in and turning-to the future (which amounts to my turning-away from the present) is known and understood by so many artists. What I impart in this plant whose flowers and fruit remain hidden from me, is the cry of loneliness, that species of human experience that echoes back throughout the history of art. And it is this cry that seeps out of the text and leaps up to the minds of the readers. An emptiness. Do I feel it? That whatever is permeating through your work and your life amounts to nothing? That your work is only – no, not even – a tiny molecule in the sea of creativity? I do feel it – or think I do – just underneath my soles, throbbing with menacing pulse. If someone were to push me ever gently, I’d fall into this abyss of nothingness. I stand on a fragile and dangerous ground – so thin, so tiny, so high.

Carve out that part of your experience that calls you to take it up in your hands. Carve it out and lay it in front of your eyes – can you do that? Comb through your past, sift it, shake it, and see if you can find any gems glittering in the dirt. Can you find them? Those diamonds of your experience, buried deep inside the mantle of your existence, exposed to the pressure of all that past. Can you find them, cut them, and polish them into round brilliant cut?

Death be not proud

Let me gut out all the feelings I have and see them splatter on the page in blotches of awkward sentences. My brush is ready to be dipped into the cans of roiling emotions; I pick the colors from the palette of my experience. Where is this going?

The first stroke sweeps across the canvass like an arc that could have been smooth with slightly more paint, with slightly more feeling. Nothing occurs on the canvass. The paint dribbles down in spidery lines - a thought lost and abandoned in an over-elaborate analogy.

Life is sometimes difficult even when it isn't. Even when everything is going well, we choose to interpret it otherwise based on pale comparisons. Akihabara happened because he couldn't see other unfortunate people on the brink of death. People commit suicide for insignificant events - when seen from a larger perspective.

We become too small to see things, to see the world in any other way but in the way dictated by our emotions. Life thus becomes difficult when it's not. This is our weakness, our fatal flaw.

Ending one's life has its appeal. I've felt it; it's strange. So strange that I'm baffled when it comes from nowhere and takes over me. It really does, this ghost of an emotion, this gaping hole that sucks everything out of you in slow bleeding.

What am I talking about?

The death wish.

I said it.

All of a sudden the world transforms itself. A veritable metamorphosis takes place. Now, obliterating your own being seems like the most natural thing to do. It just makes perfect sense.

Life loses its vitality; soul loses its brilliance. The world becomes GRAY.

There is no sense of vertigo or violent sea of emotions. There's just this calm, single nutshell of a feeling that sinks deeper and deeper. Deeper and deeper. Half falling, half sleeping, half listless, half everything.


Liminality of being.

Imbalance of forces.

The ground is shifting underneath, ready to swallow you in.

And all you need to do seems to just end it, right there and then. Yet, despite this seemingly unhealthy, insane mode of being, you have before you-- a perfect calmness.


Blue and gray.

More gray than anything else.

But it's there, sitting, sinking, falling, rising all at once, like a particle out of the quantum world.

Maybe it is so. Maybe it comes from that odd part of the universe. A particle of feeling escaped from it and wandered into my world, into consciousness without rhyme or reason.

Without meaning.

And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Missing Piece

We're looking for missing pieces in our lives.

Usually, it takes the form of another human being: the ideal lover, the soul mate, the one, the love-at-first-sight.

Sometimes, though, you meet them in the middle of the night, in the folds of your dreams.

Fragments of a dream stayed in my mind like a familiar flagrance from long ago.

I remember: a girl waiting - for me.

I walk in with her into a store where her father owns and runs. He spreads open his arms to greet her but as soon as he sees me, he clamps his mouth shut. It’s obvious that he doesn’t like me. She tries to appease him. I’m with her and I’m her lover.

I disappear and come back to find her all alone sitting outside, waiting for me. A moment later, she is surrounded by her friends – her guy friends – who watch over her and make sure she’s OK. She’s wearing a white, fluffy woolen jacket, asleep with her head resting on the armrest of the wooden chair she’s sitting in.

I walk up to her slowly and stop next to her. Then I gently touch her neck. She stirs and look up at me.

She smiles. I smile. A moment of happiness.

When I woke up, I wanted to go back to the dream and live it and continue seeing her, whoever she was. I wanted to stay in my dream where I was comfortable and happy with this girl who was waiting for me until she fell asleep.

Everyone wants to be loved - by a great person.