I’m sick of everything, and of the everythingness of everything.

Fernando Pessoa — The Book of Disquiet

 

unlike pessoa i am not depressed, and everything, and the everythingness of everything, do not sicken me, quite the contrary, but perhaps this is also because i am deeply interested in nothingness and what it affords, which is freedom.

you see, the thing is, dear bernardo, everythingness and nothingness go together, arise as one, dissolve into each other, are each other’s perfect complement, two notes that sing together, make each other laugh and cry and love.

 


 

there was a lot more to vivian maier than met the eye.

 


 

a week after reminding me that writing is easy

especially if you don’t try to say more than you are thinking, to say other than what you’re thinking, for instance you might be trying to say what somebody else is thinking, like barthes or lacan.

she was dead.
RIP bernadette mayer.

 


 

I like reading the writing of writers on why they loved a particular book, even, or especially, if I’ve never heard of the writer or the writer whose book they loved. Writers are almost always thinking about writing and read books through a certain kind of writer’s lens, like Eleanor Henderson who reads a story (by Lorrie Moore) in which there are seven lines of Ha! Ha! Ha!”. Henderson : My jaw dropped. You could do that? In fiction? In life?” And then when she buys Moore’s book, Birds of America, she finds that the story is also in the book, but the string of Ha! Ha! Ha!”s goes on for a ballsy and astounding” two pages. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

In this article in Nylon, 32 of the best women writers working today” write about a book that was important to them in their 20s.

 


 

begrijp je dan niet, dat ik een heilige ben?

if you’re an ignorant ill-educated badly read dutch reader like me and you don’t really know who heere heeresma was, anton de goede made a terrific documentary, en de naam is heeresma. you can see it on npo start.

 


 

For me the main thing that’s important is understanding that reality is not the real. Reality is a synthesis of the symbolic (how we categorize and synthesize things) and the imaginary (how they phenomenologically present themselves in lived experience). The real is what disrupts all of that, what evades categorization, what evades phenomenological description. It’s precisely what escapes, what is indigestible. It’s what makes trauma so traumatic. We just can’t articulate or digest it. Words don’t work. We were completely unprepared for it. There’s no formula or equation for it. It’s wild and undomesticated, as well as being undomesticatable. And that’s materiality. Not the formulas for what we symbolically grasp of matter, but that which disrupts any formulation.

Levi R. Bryant

 


 

this article from the times by someone whose sister suddenly died is kind of annoying. for instance i hate paragraphs that begin with we all know that…’ because there is nothing that we’ all know — would that there was but ok, as an ego document of someone processing the sudden death of someone they love and without whom they could never have imagined living, it is interesting enough. and i like the idea of people who are in mourning wearing a black armband. why did that go out of fashion? i wanted to go and get a black armband straight away but because almost everything i wear is black it would be a bit pointless.

but it was the last paragraph that got to me :

The pain will fade, a thought that also makes me upset, because I am in that bit of grief where I don’t want the pain to fade, because if the pain fades, she will fade and that thought is excruciating to me. I suspect this grief, this missing of her, this longing to see her again, to hear her voice and her laugh will sit within me for ever and I will grow my insides around it.

yes, i will grow my insides around it. that’s it exactly.

 


 

There’s a new kid on the block in the treatment of depression, burnout, anxiety, you name it, and it’s called … wait for it… metacognitive therapy (MCT).

Invented by Adrian Wells, a psychology professor from Manchester, it is the subject of a (you guessed it) best-selling book with the gripping title Live More Think Less (and a new one, Being the Boss of Your Life) by his ex-student, a Danish therapist called Pia Callessen (who manages several clinics”).

According to research’ conducted by the good doctor herself of course, it has a success rate of 77%, even better’ than CBT (which is merely 50%), and that after only ten hours of therapy!

The groundbreaking premise of metacognitive therapy is that the more you think about your problems the more depressed and/or anxious you become. The therapy, such as it is, reminds me of that old Tommy Cooper joke where he says, I went to the doctor and I said, Doctor it hurts when I do this! and he raises his arm. Well, said the doctor, then don’t do it!

Brilliant!
Here, take all of my money!

 


 

j.m.basquiat


i was doing it again. i was thinking about how for judaism every second is a small gateway through which the messiah might enter which is the last idea walter benjamin wrote down and i was writing it in a kind of pseudo teacherly style and looking for a way to connect it with derrida’s idea about the two kinds of future, the predictable compartmentalised future of clocks and calendars and appointments and the fact that today is the ninth of the eleventh so tomorrow will be the tenth of the eleventh and the other kind of future, l’avenir, the time to come. this is the time of the impossible, where the most impossible impossibilities become possible, where the Other appears. or not ha ha.

The Other asks you questions.

At first it is a question you don’t understand. You didn’t quite hear it properly. Each individual sound of each word and each word as it arrives in the ear is quickly timestamped by the brain because, for it to be understood, it must be processed in the right order.

What do you do all day, the Other asks.
I am chronically sick, I say.
I don’t say, I have a chronic illness, because I don’t. I don’t have it. It has me — and it has me by the short and curlies — but also there is no it’. There is no identifiable disease, It is a syndrome, a collection of symptoms. I am trying to write about it but it’s hard. It’s much easier to write about the illness of others than it is to write about your own.

It’s like trying to write with your left hand about your right hand. And your right hand doesn’t want you to write about it.

There is another Other who asks me questions. She asks me if I have seen a therapist or coach to learn what love is. Because she is not a native English speaker the way she uses language is other’ too. You can never be sure that she means exactly what she says, or what you hear.

She asked me if I had a hinge and I spent ages thinking about that. A hinge is something which enables two things to move freely and independently but remain connected. Perhaps love is like a hinge. I asked if she knew what unhinged’ meant. And then she said she had meant hunch, not hinge.

I am allergic to therapists and especially to coaches. A coach is not a thing. It is a construction. Ok in football you have a coach. They decide which players are playing and in which position they have to play and in a game they may play there or they may not or they may suddenly take the ball and head for goal and put it in and the coach doesn’t say, oh but you weren’t playing in the position I told you to play in. The coach says in the post match interview, oh yes John was great today, except there aren’t any football players called John anymore.

But although you can kick it around, and I have, love is not a football and you can’t learn what love is from a coach or a therapist, unless they love you and then maybe, or maybe you’ll learn what love is not. And they may too, Being and Nothingness, l’être et le néant.

I still love you.
Every second is a gateway.
Remember that.

❤️

ps And greetings to Walter who could not be here.

 


 

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