misc brooklyn, summer/fall

talia and i moved into our new place last month. you can see the empire state building from our window, and when perched on the fire escape for air and cigarettes you can see the J/Z train as it passes. books still in boxes. we’re at an impasse: should we buy bookshelves or should we arrange them on the floor, as I’ve had my books for the last five years? 

i turn 24 in a week. currently reading: lerner’s new novel, a book about fin de siecle vienna, n+1’s new compilation. currently writing: nothing.


“I know you, I know you. You’re the only serious person in the room, aren’t you, the only one who understands, and you can prove it by the fact that you’ve never finished a single thing in your life. You’re the only well-educated person, because you never went to college, and you resent education, you resent social ease, you resent good manners, you resent success, you resent any kind of success, you resent God, you resent Christ, you resent thousand-dollar bills, you resent Christmas, by God, you resent happiness, you resent happiness itself, because none of that’s real. What is real, then? Nothing’s real to you that isn’t part of your own past, real life, a swamp of failures, of social, sexual, financial, personal…spiritual failure. Real life. You poor bastard. You don’t know what real life is, you’ve never been near it. All you have is a thousand intellectualized ideas about life. But life? Have you ever measured yourself against anything but your own lousy past? Have you ever faced anything outside yourself? Life! You poor bastard.” 

Gaddis, from The Recognitions

Mississippi Man sharing Mobile Home with a Single Female

there’s something incredibly striking here, i think. perhaps the most beautiful thing i’ve read this year.

"daily needs doing daily logs gravy job & sunsets & sunrises awesome fishing seeing sea turtles an massive marlin and other fish jumping out of the water an stormy seas we would ride freak waves and roller coaster’s of waves as in swells choppy had hasp on the refrigerator to keep the door from flying open an everything going onto the floor you eat your plate would slide away we put silicone on the bottom of plates to hold them from sliding away an for cooking there was a alum rack made around the top to hold your pot’s in place we would sometimes break ropes i would have to repair splicing are quick mending in major storms other days was calm and slick like glass was the most peaceful life away from society just a 4 man crew working we rotated 12 hour watches"

..

"Thanks for your time Reading this not real good at writing either as ya may see my grammar but hey who’s perfect right i know things college people don’t are how to do which i don’t knock people either it’s just how we designed"

..

"I’m sorry it’s so complex are me being picky maybe I’m asking to much for what i need an would like and for pets i can’t handle them indoors it’s pretty nasty i tried that they stink up your home even though you bathe them i had a 1 tea cup Pomeranian an two regular one had mourned itself to death after a long story maybe later. all three was my so very loyal best friends an when i came home from offshore after 90 days they would sit on my picnic table while i played online music you tube videos an drink and had me a nice fire built in my yard"

..

"as all good things they do end but we were good to one another I’m told I’m a good guy genuine and sweet and kind"

and Cioran, for good measure, from A Short History of Decay

and Cioran, for good measure, from A Short History of Decay

Moreover, in this extremity of solitude none could count on any help from his neighbour; each had to bear the load of his troubles alone. If, by some chance, one of us tried to unburden himself or to say something about his feelings, the reply he got, whatever it might be, usually wounded him. And then it dawned on him that he and the man with him weren’t talking about the same thing. For while he himself spoke from the depths of long days of brooding upon his personal distress, and the image he had tried to impart had been slowly shaped and proved in the fires of passion and regret, this meant nothing to the man to whom he was speaking, and who pictured a conventional emotion, a grief that is traded on the market-place, mass-produced. Whether friendly or hostile, the reply always missed fire, and the attempt to communicate had to be given up. This was true of those at least for whom silence was unbearable, and since the others could not find the truly expressive word, they resigned themselves to using the current coin of language, the commonplaces of plain narrative, of anecdote, and of their daily paper. So, in these cases, too, even the sincerest grief had to make do with the set phrases of ordinary conversation. Only on these terms could the prisoners of the plague ensure the sympathy of their door-porter and the interest of their hearers.
Albert Camus, from The Plague

Elaine Scarry brings up an interesting point. Pain, she says, is unique in its inexpressibility. It represents the apotheosis of subjectivity, unsharable and therefore incommunicable. Language itself breaks down — words become inadequate, phonemes unpronounceable. Meaning reaches a dead end. Knowledge of pain, more than knowledge of anything else, is predicated on experiencing it. Possessing it. Being in it. And yet.

And yet to presume to know another’s pain, while folly, is to make an originary, inaugurating step towards empathy. To presume to know another’s pain is to project your own past experience of pain — yes singular, yes subjective — onto the other, solipsism and subjectivity made common. Empathy, says Scarry, is predicated on the experience of pain, on being in pain and encountering others in pain.