My brain has been a mess the past few days.
Just now, I was just reading about the reservoir of water discovered in space recently, inside a quasar over 12 billion light years away. Then I looked out the window of this cafe, watched the cars go by… tried to imagine space, light years, water seemingly afloat somewhere unfathomable… found myself scaling earth and my surroundings to microscopic levels, thought about those cars and the people in them as bacteria living in my own body… gave the bacteria in my body voices and dialogue and life goals, sadness and heartbreak… gave in to the fact that I understand nothing… stared at the sky and silently thanked something that doesn’t exist for making it such a pretty blue… thanked my eyes for acting as interpreters of blue… and ended by thinking of something that exists all those light years away, something cognizant in whatever meaning that word really has… something staring at something large that is ultimately very small… and I became very, very sad.
I don’t marvel at these thoughts, their speed, or my emotions generated — they’re quite trite and could be summed up with cliches: Man ponders existence, feels small in universe, experiences depression. What I do marvel at is the thing inside me that feels and follows what happens when my brain touches all of this. I’m in awe of this thing I feel but I can’t describe — this thing that, if it could speak, says This is the answer, and the echo of my rationale that says, But you didn’t say anything. It’s this interaction that I appreciate.
Like I said, it’s been a bit messy, frustrating.
There probably isn’t a man in the clouds watching over us, but to deny the existence of something bigger than all of this is just silly. I just use God because it’s a beautiful word.
Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Dr. Who. Who, by the by, signed a jacket of mine at Amoeba yesterday. Yes, Matt Smith, the current Doctor, signed an article of my clothing. He and the lovely Amy Pond-portrayer look nothing like everyone else. For the first time in my life, I saw two celebrities who do not, in fact, look like “normal people.” They glowed, they looked like “movie stars.” I have no idea why.
I really don’t want this to shift gears to a longing for fictional comfort, because, as I told Hippocrates a few weeks ago, If all of that exists (the previous feeling of something larger), then none of this (this) exists, and that’s just unfortunate. Loving a challenge, he responded by saying, Who says? Why must it be mutually exclusive? It may be that they both exist, and must in order to do so.
A television show exists only if I deny that the rest exists. That’s my theory, anyway. But maybe Hippocrates is right. I don’t know, and that bothers me to pieces.
The hardest seems to be selectivity. What ideas are perfect for this script? Which belong in a future project? Does this belong in this story, or have I discovered something else that needs to be written down and reconsidered later?
Also, Kanye West’s “Monster” feat. Nicki Minaj gets my blood pumping in wonderful ways. They are both way too absurdly talented.
I just watched a video of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle talking about, among other things, Sherlock Holmes, and he refers to Watson casually as “his rather stupid friend.”
Made me SO HAPPY.
My hobbies are odd, I know, but I’m starting to realize the intense honesty in my own passionate responses. Bizarre, maybe, to be the realizer of your own honesty, but there it is.
Li-Young Lee, “The City In Which I Love You,” The City In Which I Love You
Lee is my favorite poet, and I’ve recently ordered all his collections, so I’m going to be on a kick for a while. This man… astounds me. How often do you get to say that someone astounds you?
My hero turned 60 today. Happy birthday, Robin.
All right, 4 a.m.
I wrote a bad poem. A really, really bad poem.
But. I’m trying to force myself to write, even bad shit. As long as it’s something. No one needs to read it, but I need to be producing every day. It’s the only piece of advice that seems consistent — from every writer, every artist — these days.
I’ve talked about it before, but nothing good ever comes out of revision for me, only focus and pain and dedication and a continued flow and process. Tonight was certainly not that, but I’ve got to try something new. My preferred method leaves me thinking about writing, and not writing, but so rarely produces.
And another thing I realized… I don’t hate the process of writing like so many writers do. I love it. That feeling is my universe. What I hate is the moments of forced thinking — where creating something beautiful also means exploring cavities of my brain that are typically ignored. If you can’t dive into one of those, chiseling away is a bitch, and doesn’t feel real in the slightest.
Gotta try something new.
It’s impossible not to find poetry in the life of this city. It’s disgusting and dark, carries a false pretense of laughter and sunscreen.
To give you some example… I’m sitting in boxer-briefs, listening to Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday as I do some reading. My window is open, and a helicopter is circling my building, clearly only yards away from the roof. My desk is shaking, Edith warbles, and one of these vibrations (I could fathom a guess which) has set off a car alarm on the street below me.
The song ends, and Pandora switches to a brief Jack-in-the-Box commercial. For some reason unbeknownst to me and my little lunar knowledge, the moon is orange and enormous tonight, its top edge gummed away, the effect a child has on a sucker.
I’m left thinking about the child in this metaphor.
I feel that helicopters must have been compared to dragonflies an infinite amount of times since the former’s creation (though I’ve never personally found an example of this in literature, it just seems a natural conclusion). So, for the sake of embracing Los Angeles’ masked cliche, this dragonfly is carving smoke with its blades — its thick, webbed spindles.
How, how does one dislike this city without including unfathomable love somewhere in parentheses?
INTERVIEW by DANIELLE OLIVER |PHOTOGRAPHY by SARAH MILLET
If you’ve been on the internet in the past three months, this author is going to need very little introduction — but we’d hate to cut out the preliminaries. Allow us to present Adam Mansbach — novelist, teacher, and author of the “children’s book for adults” and viral success, Go the Fuck to Sleep. Managing to vault to the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s bestseller list a month before it was even published, and sitting snugly atop the New York Times’ Hardcover Advice & Misc. category of best sellers, the book has created less of a buzz and more of all-out ruckus. Adam spoke humbly to Daily BR!NK about the insanity of it all — from 90-year-old tap dancers to Samuel L. Jackson’s, er… vocal support.
The book release was a big event at the New York Public Library, and you had hundreds of fans there. What was that whole experience like?
It felt great to be in that space – it’s a beautiful building. Having 500 people sit there and listen to Werner Herzog was incredible, and Judah Friedlander who was also there in person to read the book was great. Afterwards, we were in a room with 17th century tapestries, drinking vodka out of sippy cups and listening to classic 90s hiphop…
READ THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW HERE.
He was a very cool guy, and if you haven’t listened to the Samuel L. Jackson audio book yet, you should.
Socially-constructed behavior is something I’ve moved beyond being tired of talking about, or listening to people talk about. I loathe the topic, and can’t muster any interest in it when it pops up.
But, here’s a thought.
I just finished this, which is an exceptional (and quick) read about poets and madness. And yesterday I read Chelsea Fagan’s Thought Catalog article about women and comedy, which both had me thinking a touch about the dreaded aforementioned topic.
Part of my thoughts on womanhood (which I’ve starting writing as THE TOPIC in all of my notes) is that I am of the strong conviction that I am not as socially-brainwashed about my reactions to “femininity” as everyone seems to think we all are. I’ve said this before, but I was never raised as a “girl,” in some ways. My mother never truly acknowledged my womanhood until early college, when I started dealing with adult man-woman relationships and she cooed reassurances in lines like, “They’re all like this. You can’t trust any of them.”
I also feel acutely aware of when I am being treated differently because I am a woman, but rarely is my behavior shaped by this type of treatment. It’s easy to attack me on this, and say, “You’re not immune to socially-defined constructs of gender!” but you know what? I’m not going to spend my life worrying about the invisible monster of what’s being imposed upon me. It’s like religion; it may be comforting to know that I can blame a bigger force for any negative thoughts I have about my life, my femininity, just as it is perhaps a relief to embrace a God as the Reason. There’s weakness in both, in surrender to the oogy-boogy, in living my life as a “repressed” person. And as a personal proclamation and knowingly argument-inspiring declaration, I don’t believe this type of repression is responsbile in the slightest for my opinions on women, and I think it’s very sad to live one’s life with that type of defeat in mind.
In a lighter sense, I think the, “It’s not you, it’s society!” argument is verrrrry 1999. Eesh. Can we move on, please?
Now I have to switch gears and go back to Joshua Mehigan’s essay on madness, and, in turn, contradict myself the slightest bit and say that I DO feel a sort of social pressure that says who I am is unacceptable. (Though not really, to be honest. It’s too easy to say it’s a contradiction — if you’re following me so far, you should see the flaw in lumping the two types of social pressure together, and since I don’t really want to go off on tangent here to explain why, I’m just going to assume you see the nuance. Cheap, I know, but I have shit to do.)
I do feel that my behavior is socially-constructed so that I don’t act “crazy.” It’s rare that I find myself in a daily situation where I feel like my behavior is expressing who I really am.
If I could, I would…
Okay. I just wrote two paragraphs, all things I would do if I weren’t told not to — ranging from screaming to sniffing to vandalism to the types of speech patterns I would have, the conversations I would engage in. In essence, I just sat down and imagined a life free from “acceptability constraints,” free from lowering myself to a common denominator.
I feel wild, and animal. I have curiosity unfit for something that lacks wings.
And yet, here I am, afraid of repercussions of social oddity.
I just took five minutes more of thought, and I think the root of this, the “why don’t you,” the frozen diaphragm, is…
How lonely I would be!
Could you imagine, living like a madman, living honestly? I know very few people who would love me just the same.
If there’s ever a jumping-off point in my life, this is what it’s going to be. Rejecting restriction.
On Wednesday, I’m going back home (halfway across the country) to see the last Harry Potter movie with my mother. Yes, technically it’s also her birthday. Yes, I’m also bringing E.R. to show him my hometown. But we all know the real reason: my childhood is coming to an end, and I want to give it a nice send-off with my mommy.
Hopefully we’ll get drunk and do some crying.
(And you all KNOW I spent last week rereading Deathly Hallows for the eighth time.)
Oh, come on. It’s 4:45 a.m. and you just gave me a medical condition I had to look up the symptoms for.
I am now convinced I have peripheral neuropathy. Ten minutes ago I thought I just needed a drink.
I’m awake with what began as a racing mind, was overtaken by an upset stomach, and has now turned into the heebie-jeebies and a runny nose. Seriously, I itch all over, and I’ve got a snot-erfall going on. Too gross? Do I redeem myself by mentioning that it’s only one nostril.
Enough about boogers. What I wanted to talk about was the heebie-jeebies. The creepy-crawlies.
It happens to me every now and then, and it completely prevents sleep. It prevents everything, really. I can’t even hold still, but moving feels almost equally torturous. It’s in my hair, on my back, up my legs. Almost feels like I’ve gotta pee and have been holding it for too long.
It happens to my mother, too. She used to mention it when I was a kid, saying it kept her up at night. So maybe it’s a hereditary thing.
The worst is what happens to my fingers. They become dry and overly sensitive, so touching anything becomes nearly impossible. I’ve licked the tips of my fingers between every paragraph I’ve typed so far.
Is this disconcerting? Too much information?
Perhaps it’s a form of anxiety. I don’t really buy that, but perhaps it is. It feels more like my body is malfunctioning.
I’ve just remembered an open bottle of wine in the kitchen from last night’s dinner. Often, that helps.
I’m out on the couch reading lit blogs and adding people whose lives I wish I could have on Twitter, the godforsaken platform I still don’t understand in the least, but I figured I’d start using to promote Daily BR!NK to a greater extent.
Truth is, I had a large coffee today, which I rarely partake in, and I had a conversation with a friend about a potential artistic collaboration that would entail a lot of buckling down and pressure on my end and a lot of willingness to trust on his. This… has rekindled something I’ve been lacking. We brainstormed, or rather, brainsieged, I think, for a bit, and I realized I’d forgotten how it feels to be on the same page with someone, creatively. To speak the same language, and to build from the same elements. Or, to face facts more directly, I haven’t talked to many creative people in the past
few months. I am very lucidly excited about this potential project.
My fingers — dry, wet, dry, wet — and my nose — drip slop bip bop — are complaining.
Enough. I’m awake because I’m awake. Back to reading.