Category Archives: From the journals

There’s no need to fear, well, anything!

Maybe the wise answer, the Answer of Wisdom, or Answer of the Voice of Wisdom, is to not seek purpose so hard — to just appreciate the present moment and to not be obsessed with these abstractions of Purpose, all that — and yet, I wonder why this felt-need for Purpose comes to me now and then. Why do I keep returning to it? Perhaps that’s just an obsessive habit, perhaps I’ve been writing too much today and so I return to the Existential Void, yet again. And it is pretty pleasant just to sit here and write, you know? I could go read some old journals but that seems like a shift into work, a bit.

(Something that I’ve noticed lately: I’ve noticed a couple people say in the media, Carlin was one, or maybe it was him twice, who said he’s not into dirty words just to throw them out there unintentionally — he called that ignorant, I think — that he used dirty words to make a point, or in service of the rhythm, the auditory punch of a swear.)

Maybe what I’m talking about, with this lack-of-purpose talk, is just that if I did have a task before me, I’d be doing that, my attention would be on that — and that without a task, this is how you think. I mean, you could be meditating, in which case all thoughts could be abandoned, let go, and you really could be part of this moment, absorbed in it — though you haven’t done a lot of meditating since last summer, with your anxiety. You have found it easy, preferable, to stay occupied — and maybe you need to face that void of meditation more often? Maybe not facing it, not meditating, is making you feel more of a lack of purpose — or a lack of comfort and calm that you feel as a lack of purpose. Maybe this comes back to just that: being more accepting of life itself — doing more meditating, having less fear of my thoughts, any thoughts (and so many fearful thoughts come from the media, anyway — if I lived without media, I’d have fewer thoughts to fear?). And since last summer, I haven’t been as interested in trying to control my thoughts. I think I tried to do that last summer, to frustrating result (especially when trying to sleep).

But there’s no need to fear, well, anything! Accept, let it all go. Whatever it feels to be alive. Maybe (sh!t — I thought I may have had some brilliant way to end that sentence by the time I’d get halfway through it — some way to relate my ennui this morning to … relating my sense of, relating my feelings today and my attempt from a few days ago to describe what it’s like to be alive.

[From journal of Fri. 27 June 2008, Journal 102, page 122-4]

Write what you’re passionate about writing!

For so long I’ve been writing stuff I didn’t think anyone would care about. I cared about my memories and family stories, but I didn’t think anyone else would. And so, no wonder I wrote only first drafts and didn’t come back to them! When M told me my idea about prose vs. poetry could be an essay, my very next thought was: but where would I publish it? I didn’t see the point if I couldn’t publish, and I didn’t have the drive or sheer will to write it and find a place for it. And so now, though, I can see that that’s a prime example of how I’ve been short-circuiting myself for years! Feeling that I had to keep one eye on market at all times — but that wasn’t the passion for me, you know! Now I’m thinking passion: write what you’re passionate about writing! Write what you’re burning to write! Write the book you hope you can finish before you die — your life becomes precious to you rather than endless and empty. M said I’m so attractive when I’m feeling positive, when I’m excited about stuff.

I am passionate about journals! Passion doesn’t always have to be — is better if it’s not — manic, but a felt-need — my need to do morning pages.

[From journal of Tues., 18 Sept. 2007, Journal 90, page 93-5]

Those areas just around a corner

So Shadowlands — great movie. Best I’ve seen since The Crying Game, but I love England, and this had much great footage. Great writing and acting — sad but not sappy like My Life. The Daily Illini said it was “romance for the literate.” Not of lot of deep philosophy but some — the whole pain thing. “The pain is part of the happiness” — it heightens the good experiences, because you know how bad it can get. The “Shadowlands” is a neat term itself. It refers to those areas just around a corner, or above the next hill, where you suppose you will find happiness — always chasing it but never here. But later Anthony Hopkins realizes that he is happy now

I love England — the architecture and countryside are beautiful — so green, like Illinois. The film also had a great, realistic kiss scene between Jack and Joy, which reminded me of me &  ___ , a caressing, passionate kiss. 

Why did Debra Winger have a Brooklyn accent? Sounded more Italian than Jewish. 

[From journal of Sat., 29 Jan. 1994 (written 30 Jan.), Journal 5, page 390]

She said I’ll be missed, which I will

Worked 10–5. We were ver’ busy. I was on “dress” table, and kept making jokes to keep myself from getting too serious, which helped to keep whole team loose. Ronald came today. B__ and A___ both worked — B__ is ver’ nice. I’ve been friendly with her. Christine expressed her frustration with the McMoron J__ through looks (rolling-eye-type looks) and putting her head on my shoulder, in a sort of giving-up-comfort-me type of  gesture. I said, “you know, Christine, it’s not hard to fill the bun cabinet,” and she said, “I know.” Told Cindy I was leaving soon. She said I’ll be missed, which I will.

Left at 5. Stopped by Subway and bought a pop from S___ to validate my presence. On a second impulse, I went back inside and asked her to coffee. She had to work late and gave me one of those “I don’t know …” kind of looks, which is not unusual, considering she has a boyfriend. But she didn’t say “no” or “I have a boyfriend.” I didn’t consider my offer too forward. Who knows? I said I’d be back before she leaves the 20th.

Home and complained to mom about work. Dad came over. He is rather opinionated and destructive (not a good word) — fiery. Just as I started to nap, Sh____ called and wanted me to come in. I really wasn’t all that interested, but decided that I might as well, since one day she might actually ask me to something interesting.

[From journal of Sat. 7 August 1993 (written 8-8), Journal 4, pages 248-9]

Jog if you like it, don’t jog only if you’re trying to live forever

How the fact I’m alive one minute to the next is only because I keep breathing, heart keeps beating, all the countless chemical reactions my body requires are still going on. And this attitude is different from usual attitude toward body in that I think we’re (I’m) so frequently distanced from my body intellectually/emotionally. Even at the doctor’s office, my blood isn’t my own, etc.

Other people are Spirits or Ideas, not their bodies, you know — and I think it’s not just me, that this attitude is also a cultural thing, a culturally chosen way (that is, arbitrary way) of looking at a body, as if it really were something separate from your mind/personality.

And not that the body’s something to worry about (so much of medicine sees body as something to conquer — take these drugs and everything will be fine. Like the farmer spraying chems on fields and thinking everything will be fine. Yes, chems are the language of life but just because you’re shouting things and things you want seem to be happening doesn’t mean you really understand what you’re saying, or who else is overhearing your shouting and being affected by it).

And I’m doing the same thing (similar thing, anyway) when I sit in front of TV and stuff my face. And I’m not talking about dieting here, just that when I’m not paying attention to the food I’m eating, I’m not paying attention to my body. I mean, I’m not going to stop eating all treats just for a “healthy heart,” which is obsession and the heart is basically uncontrollable anyway. But I am ignoring what body needs, when I’m full, etc. More like neglect. And I’m not saying my goal in life is simply to live long, like some people’s seems to be, starving themselves, lots of pointless exercise, etc.

At some level, I think it is authentic to recognize you’re not in control, that you’re totally at the whim of your body.

Yet I don’t want to get into the habit of feeding my face, because that’s taking the body for granted, also inauthentic. That’s thinking that the body doesn’t matter, that my identity is my mind only — I’m saying the body is also part of one’s identity. What it means to live mindfully is to acknowledge the body — to eat mindfully, away from the TV, but not worship the body or think your body won’t change (all those who put looking good, plastic surgery above all else, or those who do things to avoid dying). Jog if you like it, don’t jog only if you’re trying to live forever or something.

[From journal of Sat., 6 Nov. 2004, Journal 39, page 104-6]

Creating as sitting and seeing what happens

I put some Nina Simone in [the CD player]. Not sure she’s as helpful for creating as word-less music. I said to Mom last night that words don’t have the sensory impact that visual art & music do —though spoken/sung words are more immediate than words on paper.

So, I like the idea from page 62: creating as sitting and seeing what happens.

Just now I feel urge to write that Ian, next door boy, is covering his partial plywood sheet leaning against blocks of snow. He’s putting a layer of snow on the plywood.

I should nap now, as M is doing.

[From journal of Sunday, 26 Feb. 2012, Journal 154, page 64]

The silliness that kept it somewhat interesting

The women there were mothers who had no choice, needed to support their families, and yet still see them, so they worked 3rd [shift]. Avery was not a career move for the binder ladies. [This sentence dated 9/15]

Little ladies who came in at 5 a.m. every morn to punch index dividers.

Sue C___ — talk we had the last night of overtime — she wants to be E.M.T.

All those women there who got trapped/thrown into this situation, no choice but factory work. Didn’t want 2nd shift — couldn’t see their kids at all if they worked 2nd.

My little black book.

The silliness that kept it somewhat interesting — I think it was something like a release valve: the throwing of paper balls, Sam and her stickers, Debbie and her lewd comments — Jeanie on her knees — “why don’t you wait ’til Ed gets here so it’ll do you some good”

Sam telling me to go get the hand fork by pumping her hand up and down, looked like masturbation.

[From journal of 5 Sept. 1994, “Work at Avery” factory, Journal 6, page 145. See more about this place, written on same day, here.]

‘Purpose is just an illusion of dreams and desires’

Anyway, I don’t want to get caught up in abstractions and outrages and abstract outrages. I thought about telling M about the ___ but then I thought, meh, I could confine this to my journal and not demand M’s attention. And after I thought of letting go, I felt lighter, unburdened, and more conscious/aware of being alive here and now.

On my camera — no, my phone’s — photos, I saw a pic I took earlier this week, a pic of one of the sayings on (one of the Exquisite Corpse poems) the hallway billboard. It seemed key, somehow, pertinent to me at that moment when I took pic (and here’s what I photo’d): “Purpose is just an illusion of dreams and desires.” (Of course this wasn’t the only saying from Ex. Corpse in the pic — there’s also: “So I learned a new chapter in life: You only live once. Or twice.”)

[From journal of Thurs., 26 Nov., 2020, Journal 335, pages 83+]

Sometimes, I’d like that person not to have to be me

There’s a sense in my hetero relationship — maybe in most hetero relationships — that the man’s in charge of house repairs, car maintenance, etc., fixing physical problems — and sometimes, I’d like that person not to have to be me — ha! I mean, no, it’s a natural role for me to fill — I don’t know much about cars , but I can change headlights, can do some things. … And, no, I’m not really saying I mind playing that role of husband — house-bound, the property manager, the fixer of problems not-emotional, not-social. I’m not saying I mind it, but I might be a little jealous, at moments, of not having my own bigger, stronger person to take care of sh!t, of having a real adult around to watch for housefires, kinda like I had when living in my Papa‘s house, I guess, it now occurs to me. And, no, I’m not afraid of having my own house now, as I once may have been. We can call repair dudes — and if we had money, we could get siding or other things replaced.  … Women joke that they wish they had a wife to cook & clean & mend & sh!t. I can joke here I wish I had a husband to do car maintenance — oh, yeah, my right rear car wheel locked up again yesterday morning — felt hot and smelled hot by time I got to school, and it was about -12° F. or -14° F. at [my school] when I got there (I think my car said -12° F., but it’s usually about 2° warm) and as I held my hand near the wheel to feel the warmth (a poetic-sounding line), I noticed steam coming off my fingers (and not the wheel) and my fingers didn’t even feel sweaty or weird.

[From journal of Tues., 4 Feb. 2014, Journal 191, page 136-138]

I do want to ignore the clocks I could look at

I’m not sure what time it is, and I do want to ignore the clocks I could look at. I’m guessing it’s around 8:45, based on the TV show (Hallie Jackson in for Will-he Geist on Today) — and yeah, yeah — M’s up since a little after 8. Walked dog … Sam didn’t wanna turn right there onto that street back to ___. Sam’s outside. He got [his cable] wrapped around tree and I let him off and he was being so calm and gentle. And I came in and stretched and saw him in same spot and went out again (temps in 40°s [F.] this morning, not too bad) and he showed me his belly and I scratched it. And I went to smell hyacinths on east side of house. I smelled the one west of garage door the last day or two. It’s probably late in April for hyacinths, but, well, that wouldn’t be a surprise, considering the cold. Last night I ate two bowls popcorn in late p.m., walked dog, and watched the 1968 Thos. Crown Affair (I like that abrev. for “Thomas”: “Thos.”) and it was stylish, I’ll give it that.

[From journal of Sun., 22 April 2018, Journal 275, page 90]