I am not comfortable in the world. Everyone is more beautiful than I, and I do not know what I am doing here.
I do not know what I am doing here, and do not know what I am good for. I can observe (and serve in doing so) but what? And why? The world is emerging around me moment by moment, arising in some ongoing unstoppable explosion, and yet it remains mute, or perhaps too crazy with the exhilaration of the effort required to forget the question.
I imagine the crazy algae-green bubble of this planet, pirouetting forward, its surface a welter of activity, a thin veil of chaos over the ordered process of its orbit, and imagine the frenetic crescendo of human creation and chatter. I imagine me, still and questioning, at the center of it, and so very out of place.
I miss writing. I need to write. I need to write because if I don’t I will surely go mad, and yet and though every time I sit down I find I am clogged with myself, too full to know where to begin, and none of it intelligible, nor important. I miss writing and I have forgotten how.
There is something so oddly familiar about so many of the Asian-influenced spiritualities adopted by the supposedly post-religious, something so recognizably Western and Christian and ancient. Let us work, dear ones, to let go of ego! Let us dissolve our attachment to self! How is this just not one more manifestation of the guilt of original sin? How else to be absolved from the shame of being human? I do not think that this is what drives the heart of Buddhist thought, but it lies very much in my own.
It is unpleasant to admit, but I feel deliciously distant from everyone these days. I keep wanting to travel, but it is not so much because I want to see the world, or explore it, but so that I can remain at a distance, even when present; so that I can remain a stranger, even when settled; so that I can more easily explain this seemingly pregiven alienation.
The only human project that impresses me is that of dying.
Ever since I can remember I have felt trapped in a cage of human paradox. Every system, every philosophy, every metaphysic I’ve been presented with my mind has seized immediately as a possible key out. Today the keyring has become so heavy I can hardly drag it with me, and still I cannot even find the lock to try them on.
The Melancholy of Anatomy.
I am not thinking well, and only in fragments, or, I am finding my way, and in poetry.
The history of philosophy, of religion, of metaphysics, is so overwhelmingly the history of men, but why? It seems it should be the other way around. Women have for so long been more familiar with a hatred of the body, and embodiment; women have been for so long more motivated to seek escape, or at least a reason.
To be born is to cause pain; to lament, or, worse, to remedy this is to exacerbate it.
Commiseration is the only true comfort.
Imagine the peace of the world if we sought the solace of despair instead of scrabbling for happiness.
I dreamed last night that I was an artist, and that my latest work was being shown.
I dreamed that I had impregnated myself, and that, after six months of rest and tender silence, I’d carefully aborted the fetus. I dreamt that this translucent figure, so perfect in its unblemished stillness, was being displayed in the center of a vast gallery, suspended forever in a clear glass spotlit sphere. I dreamt that the piece was titled either ‘the problem,’ or ‘the prophecy,’ or, perhaps, both.
I dreamed that in my dream no one understood–and there were so many no ones!– why I had done such a thing. I dreamt that I did not know either; I knew only that I’d known I’d felt I had no choice but to make this terrible sacrifice. I dreamt, in my dream, I was an artist mute with sorrow and rage.
When I woke up I wondered whether anyone had in fact, and not in dream, done such a thing, in part because as an act of sovereignty it seemed necessary that the artist be a woman, and it part because of how visceral and painful and endlessly provocative the thought. Outside a related controversial project by a recent Yale art student, I could find nothing, and now I am a little scared to post this.
Of course to bear a child is to condemn it to death; of course many artists sacrifice children to their work; of course the philosophical question around whether art can ever be worth a human life is not a new one; of course this was only a dream. Still, I have been so angry recently, and so very preoccupied with women and with power and with dying. Still, there is the ambiguity of an aborted sacrifice. Still, and after all, this is a dream.
Did anonymity exist before the written word? Did text make possible a voice with no name? I am at once both in love with and repulsed by the universal and irresponsible potential of this. There was a time when what was said could only be said directly, or by virtue of the lubrication of a certain personal trust. Today I take for granted the possibility of countless anonymous venues, thanks first to writing and then, now, to recording and duplication. Today origin is no longer obvious.
Duplication. I can duplicate a text; I can use this same process for duplicity. Must authorship always be taken on faith? I fear yes, and I am delighted.