Pinocchio's Diary

Thinking a lot about the nature, the character of desire and, his sister, disappointment. It seems to me that to disclose a desire is to admit a kind of weakness. I'm all about debasing myself. I'm really interested in the process of becoming, remaining, being abject. Yet somehow the revelation of a desire feels existentially dangerous. It means to admit that I want something I don't have and might not get. Some people say that the first step in getting what you want is admitting what you want but I'm not so sure. I think that admitting you want something is admitting that you are incomplete, somehow. Does that make sense.

But then on the other hand to conquer desire, to achieve desire, to get the Thing You Want is equally dangerous: it's a death, in a way. I wonder why the only viable way of being that ever occurs to me, or the mode of being that somehow is my most reliable fantasy is one of constant disappointment, exclusion.

I have to put myself on the fire because then I know where I am. If I torture myself I can locate myself. I'd rather be pinned down than potentially lost. It feels like everything is so fragile and will blow me away.

On Thanksgiving Teebs and Kayla and Chantal and I hung out and we did some writing and we made martinis and watched TV and ate pie and played mad libs. One of the themes for one of the madlibs was "Pinocchio's Diary" which I found oddly resonant. Something about Pinocchio always feels really important to me. I feel (I'm sure I've said this before) like a reverse Pinoccio. I'd so much rather not be a real boy. Pinocchio, for me, is about the desire for subjectivity and the inherent danger there. Maybe I should do a show about Pinocchio? Somehow the notion of Pinocchio's Diary seemed really cool to me because I imagine that if Pinocchio had lied, his nose would grow (we know this) and then writing his diary would be an exercise in bringing his nose back to normal. A place to tell the truth, or something. In his Diary. Do I tell the truth here? For the most part/basically always.

I don't know why but lately it seems like I'm making a tiny bit of progress. Everything still kills me. I'm still painfully insecure and jealous and feel pretty worthless every day but these symptoms seem to be lasting shorter periods of time. Like I'm watching myself torture myself. I have an iota of leverage to stop, at a certain point. Usually. It just sucks to be in pain. My health insurance is changing and I think I am going to go off my meds (with a doctor's help). I don't know if they've been helping, and it's been a year and the biggest change is I don't feel like it's important to say but the big change is that I feel less... creative? Maybe I'm just less creative. Maybe I should quit more.

Saturday night Erik took me to a very nice, extremely fancy dinner of Peruvian food (nouveau-Peruvian, I should say) at a new place in Williamsburg. It was totally excellent, and maybe the fanciest and best meal I've had since lovely Sugar Baby took us out in Berlin to that restaurant underneath the pied-a-terre. You know, that really really really really nice Italian restaurant owned by the lovely old German gay couple. That place was so fancy that they put a fresh astray at my left elbow every time I finished a cigarette. It was really beyond. I wasn't allowed to smoke during the Peruvian dinner but they did give us some really nice dry sherry after the meal in one of these annoying effete little glasses.

I want everything to be salty and bitter and strong. To wipe out a dream with a toothache.

I thought it felt like kind of a Salon des Refusés being at a gallery opening in New York City last night. Being among the ones who're not in Miami we're the one's who're not at Basel. We're at an art opening for NOT A PHOTO paintings and art inspired by photos. It was great, of course.

Shoutout to Adam Parker Smith whose painting (installation?) Crush kind of stole the show, to my mind:

Seems to be a pretty perfect way out of painting, drag, love, etc. I just stood in the middle of the gallery watching the hair being blown by the fan. Watching people take videos of the hair. I took a video too but it didn't come out well enough for me to post it here.

Before the opening I went to Prada and bought these shoes I really wanted that were on sale. I felt dizzy, like I was buzzing. I had gone to two different stores yesterday looking for these shoes in my size. Not helped by the fact that they have their own idiosyncratic sizing... system. I don't know how much to write about this thought process without making myself seem/feel like an asshole. I was immediately reminded of that Wayne Koestenbaum essay about buying a Prada suit. I bet he's in Miami right now. The shoes were on big sale and I swear I'll never buy anything else ever.

To blow off steam I went to the gallery opening but I was there with a big Prada shopping bag and it was Humiliating. No, really. If I was actually wearing the shoes I bought I'd look fine, but there I looked I just looked like someone who swung by this art opening after shopping at Prada which was true. Thinking about the difference between wearing and buying. Shopping and being, having. Knowing and hoping. Can't I do both? Why not?

Thinking of the new Comme des Garçons bags, the laminated shopping bags. I almost bought one. Like a permanent customer. Weird.

So then what, dear Billy? So he didn't call you back. Or he didn't call you back fast enough or enthusiastically ENOUGH so by the time he did by the time he did you had woken yourself up and taken yourself out to console yourself with something lasting.

Thinking about that passage in the Grace Jones memoir: “I never ask for anything in a relationship, because I have this sugar daddy I have created for myself: me. I am my own sugar daddy. I have a very strong male side, which I developed to protect my female side. If I want a diamond necklace I can go and buy myself a diamond necklace.” It's weird. I feel complete, done. Fine. Peaceful? Sure. I feel sure. No I feel less uncertain. Hmm. Maybe that's not entirely true.

Felt a bit better after five glasses of free wine. I don't pay for wine. And now the anxiety of care. Now that I got my Dream Shoes I enter the panic of parenthood: what kind of wax do I need to put on them? How much longer will I have them before I ruin them? How can I live up to my new shoes? Having something nice, expensive, cherished is so unusual for me. It's a way for me to measure myself against my life. That time I went to the Prada store and just walked in and bought a pair of shoes, like an asshole. That one time. I think about boys. The only things I want or let myself think I might admit wanting: love, desire, shoes, food. Cigarettes. Something adjacent to being alive. I want watercolor sets. I don't want paintings I want art supplies. I don't want an actual lover I want a pile of scribbled phone numbers. Who am I kidding.

Tonight I'm going to the gym and then I'm going to make mujadara to eat the for rest of the week.
I wish instead of torturing myself or lavishing myself with un-earned love, accolades, punishment whatever. I wish I could treat myself as something other than bland. I wish I didn't have to hide, obliterate myself with hot sauce.

I am mourning, in a way, the death of my senses. I think I know what's been weakening them-- chemicals? How to be critical, engaged, and not be paranoid? And not be untrustworthy?

How to find a sense of self, power, direction in admitting or charting desire. How to have a map where I locate myself instead of a record of places I've been and cannot return to. How to convince you to fall in love with me. How to be less reprehensible. How to take care of fine Italian leather.

To pick out a book. To carve out time in your day to quietly reflect. To just make lists, just take notes. It might not take much, just recounting little details, tiny bits of it until my nose shrinks back down to a manageable size.


Can I Show You

It's fall. I'm falling. I'm into it.

I'm really excited about this new art book project. If you're in New York, please come check it out.


Art by Julia Norton
Text by Max Steele
Published by Art Vandelay Press

Release party with reading 11/17 at Endless Editions (191 Henry St Brooklyn NY)

Facebook Event

I am beyond thrilled to collaborate with one of my favorite artists and dearest friends, Julia Norton. She asked me to contribute text to a project she was working on, and which she describes like this:

"The idea behind Dark Level started as a coping mechanism. This past year I began living alone after a lifetime of living with others. Sleeping in an empty apartment at night, I was wary of every sound and every dimly defined shape. I tried to remember the countless times in my life where I have felt scared in the darkness - in the woods at night, on an empty street, in a laser tag arena, falling off the rainbow road - and what it took to overcome those emotions. In a parallel way I have also felt at home in the dark - perhaps at a nightclub, dancing carefree. Darkness can change its implications depending on so many factors. It shields you, it blinds you, it makes you vulnerable, it frees you. In the end, for me, it comes back to risk-taking; walking into the unknown, daring to be yourself." -JN

Curator Rick Herron gave the project a sweet shout-out on the BRIC blog:

"Julia Norton makes paintings about the architecture of childhood nostalgia. Her work functions as urban planning for space colonies, or blue prints for a vast bio-dome to usher in a neo-Cambrian explosion of unimaginable flora. In a new series of photographs called Dark Level: Process, made in collaboration with artist Max Steele, detached hands reach in from the edge of the frame to stretch, tear, and pull at a thin veil of fabric appearing to distort the fabric of the universe itself. Created to accompany written works by Steele, Norton’s Dark Level series doesn’t so much illustrate the text as haunt it."

The party will be fun and we'll have this gorgeous book available. Please come.

ALSO, I am excited that a piece I originally wrote a long time ago, MY DREAM DATE WITH DAVID WOJNAROWICZ is now published, truly, on DANDY DICKS.