Like, I get that I am in a bad mood, and that it's affecting my ability to concentrate. And I am trying to resist the seductive pull of the Bad Mood. Trying to just let it be a feeling, and not attach too much significance to it. Trying to just let it pass or whatever. One of the ways I am thinking about doing this is through self-soothing. By trying to be really nice to myself, even though I totally don't want to. I want to be mean. I'm angry. Such a fucked-up paradox; right when the impulse is to freak out and go away and pull back from other people, this is probably the moment when you could use some connection. I know, I know. Now is a good time to stay. I don't want to, though. I'm gonna. It just sucks. I feel shitty (again) and don't really know why. Not much to say. I don't want to talk about it.
Anyways. I had a really cool time on Tuesday night, doing this reading at the New School. So happy that For the Birds invited me to come. It was really great to read with Cynthia and Cindy. DORIS was really influential to me when I was in high school, not just in terms of starting a zine, but influential in how I write and think about writing. It was such a trip to see Cindy actually reading it. DORIS always seemed to private or individual. Like a one-person radio show. It was nice to be reminded of the things which i admire so much about that zine, about the language in it. After the reading I told her how much I enjoyed her reading and we traded zines.
The crowd was mostly younger crust-punk kids. I was so intimidated! I feel like I've gotten too comfortable reading for literary fags (or illiterate fags, for that matter). It was a nice challenge. I think the kids were afraid to laugh at first. Maybe the first section of my story just needs to be shorter. Anyway they seemed to get into it. During the parts of the story that are really graphic (and pretty funny) some of the boys in the back chuckled. I'm pretty sure they were straight but I appreciate the support. A fair number of people told me they liked it, afterward, and bought zines. I felt really vindicated and real.
I used to be a punk. That used to be my community. That's kind of where I got this whole chip on my shoulder about talking to people (artists, musicians, people you don't know) who's work you liked or didn't like or just wanted to talk about. I think coming of age in a punk culture context was really good for me. It encouraged me to take risks, in terms of making my voice heard. By making my voice heard I mean making art/zines/music, and also take risks making my voice heard in terms of going up to people to talk to them, to write fan letters, to try to connect. A lot of the really special and treasured moments in my life have come from me writing fan letters, sending e-mails to strangers, saying hi to people I didn't know before. Being brave. "Brave". It's not that I think I'm so special or have any special right to insert myself into the conversation. It's not that I think that anybody wants to hear my voice, that my voice "needs" to be heard. It's more the feeling that nobody's voice, really, is so special or unique. That we don't have to be so precious about it. That grabbing the mic or whatever, asking your favorite band what their song is about, writing a poem and reading it to a room full of strangers, these are manageable. Maybe not as magickal and rare as you think when you're an audience member. Maybe just as magickal but also quotidian.
I often feel really at a loss, these days. Not to be dramatic, you guys. But like you know how some people just know what they want to do with their lives, and then their life is spent overcoming the obstacles, or refining their practice, all in service of some great need? Do people even really DO that? Anyways, I don't know. I'm not so hung-up on one particular trip. I feel like this is either (both) a sign of emotional maturity (I can make do, I guess, if I had to) or total laziness and self-hatred (I don't really want to make any big choices). Anyway Mercury's Retrograde I'm not jumping into anything.
My point is, I find as I get older that my expectations are less and less important to me. Not important... less interesting. I'm less fascinated by my capacities. It's not as enthralling as it used to be. At one point, in this here blog, I wrote that I make art about feelings and the capacity we have to feel a feeling. How stupid! I think, really, I make art about grappling with expectations.
Been thinking so much about cognitive dissonance. How can something be both good and bad? How can people be good and also evil? Maybe this is basic and everyone else gets it, but I really struggle with this and always have. This, I think, is what the "art" I make is actually about. I write a zine called Scorcher which is about sex and sexual desire as a setting. I write about how something really specific ("sex") can be exploded, over and over, into a general space. A lot of times in college I made these little one-man musicals which were about performing really intimate emotional rituals. How can something be personally significant and also be significant, or legible, to a crowd of strangers at a punk show? My big piece Lover, Ferocious is also about this, kinda. It's about how you can love someone and know they love you, and also recognize that they couldn't love you, could kill you, etc.
(SIDENOTE: the guy I based "Lover, Ferocious" off of dumped me a long time ago, but right after he dumped me, he started going out with the receptionist at the temp agency I worked for, and I dreaded having to speak to this receptionist so much that it kind of motivated me to get a real job).
The piece I made this past summer, Teach Frankenstein to Dance is also about cognitive dissonance. How something can be great and awful at the same time. It's an awful performance piece, but I also think it was kind of great.
Is it any wonder that the words "awful" and "also" sound so similar? Especially when your mouth is full?
I'm just thinking a lot about myself these days, I guess. I can never decide if my fundamental problem is that I'm too self-absorbed or if it's something else. I keep coming back to these experiences of like, meeting people in New York, bigshot famous people who ostensibly are interested in the same things I am, and I'd want to, like, talk about these things, and they have another agenda.
My friend X was telling me about how this trendy new artist, this young genius who doesn't make a lot of money, but comes from money and makes art, so it seems like he's really successful, hit on him through the internet. The Artist wrote my buddy X to tell him he'd be in town soon and couldn't wait to take him out. My buddy X seemed to think that this augured well for his own artistic career. I felt like this is actually the Artist trying to bank on his so-called Success At Art as a way of getting laid. I told my friend X that the Artist had also made a similar overture to me online, that same week (which is true). My buddy X' eyes fell. Clearly heartbroken. Anything offered to me as well as him must therefore be less valuable.
Maybe I'm being pessimistic? It's almost lunch time.