Sunday, December 29, 2002

"under my thumb"

-Waking up early is a good thing, but you have to have something to do otherwise you're going to lose the momentum. Since being home, I have been up before nine everyday on my own, without the assistance of alarm clocks. And I like this feeling, like waking up with life seeming full of potential. But no one else is up at this hour, and I am bad at entertaining myself and I start to lose the thrill. Find a way to employ the thrill. It's all about keeping the momentum going.

-I do not like Steel Reserve "beer". Not at all. Sarah and I decided it tasted like urine, like ass, like steel, metallic, like someone didn't wipe their ass. We threw it in a steel dumpster. Hey, if it wasn't steel, it was at least metal.

-Cold air can be fucking wonderful in little doses. Walking out of Adaptation through the parking lot to Sarah's car, the air felt eek gods wild. I was hyper-aware of my body's existence within this space, was made hyper-aware by the chilliness. This is why cold weather inspires romantic sentiments. A feeling similar to swimming, crisp movements through the air, crisp strokes through the water. A body and elements. Me and my good friend, nature, and a declaration of where the boundaries are that seperate you and I.

-There was a period of time in my life when I claimed to not like the Rolling Stones. There was a period of time in my life when I was just plain stupid. The Rolling Stones are so fucking awesome. I yanked their 40 Licks collection from Starbucks and yowser yowser yowser, I love everyone of these songs.

-I love burritos. LOVE. I cajoled Sarah into going to Chipotle tonight because I am in love with those huge burrito bars and have not been to one in the longest time. Since Madison? And I fucking sat in this booth with a water cup filled with coke, and with sauce dripping down my hands arms cheeks - and a mood ring, my mood ring that I bought at the dollar store, sitting on the table, changing colors because this mood ring is a moody little thing - and I moaned with fucking more delight than I have in the longest time, because I was eating a burrito that actually was as big as my fucking head and guacamole was spilling out of it, gushing into my mouth with free range pork and rice and beans and yum yum yumminess and fucking it was good, so damn good. And food is like that, it can feel so right sometimes.

-This is masturbation. I am a solipsistic hack. These are my thoughts after watchingAdaptation which was at times fucking so amazing, and at times, toward the end, a little tiring. No voiceovers was a command at some point in the movie. No voiceovers. And I don't think I would be able to do that. Over break, bored and dreaming, I have been trying to map out a work of fiction to undertake bringing into existence, but all my ideas are all of the semi-autobiographical sort, all voiceovers, which lots of writers do, but I am torn, confused. But even more so right now, I am hungry and tired, so I must go to bed.

-And Mick is so sincere sounding when he asks, "Angie, ain't it good to be alive?" And I am on that wavelength. Anyway who listens to the song and gets to that part is going to be on that wavelength, hypnotized with those secret wavelengths the Stones are sending out to us, and we'll be thinking, knowing that it is, it is fucking good to be alive.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

some observations

-Waking up early is a good thing, but you have to have something to do otherwise you're going to lose the momentum. Since being home, I have been up before nine everyday on my own, without the assistance of alarm clocks. And I like this feeling, like waking up with life seeming full of potential. But no one else is up at this hour, and I am bad at entertaining myself and I start to lose the thrill. Find a way to employ the thrill. It's all about keeping the momentum going.

-I do not like Steel Reserve "beer". Not at all. Sarah and I decided it tasted like urine, like ass, like steel, metallic, like someone didn't wipe their ass. We threw it in a steel dumpster. Hey, if it wasn't steel, it was at least metal.

-Cold air can be fucking wonderful in little doses. Walking out of Adaptation through the parking lot to Sarah's car, the air felt eek gods wild. I was hyper-aware of my body's existence within this space, was made hyper-aware by the chilliness. This is why cold weather inspires romantic sentiments. A feeling similar to swimming, crisp movements through the air, crisp strokes through the water. A body and elements. Me and my good friend, nature, and a declaration of where the boundaries are that seperate you and I.

-There was a period of time in my life when I claimed to not like the Rolling Stones. There was a period of time in my life when I was just plain stupid. The Rolling Stones are so fucking awesome. I yanked their 40 Licks collection from Starbucks and yowser yowser yowser, I love everyone of these songs.

-I love burritos. LOVE. I cajoled Sarah into going to Chipotle tonight because I am in love with those huge burrito bars and have not been to one in the longest time. Since Madison? And I fucking sat in this booth with a water cup filled with coke, and with sauce dripping down my hands arms cheeks - and a mood ring, my mood ring that I bought at the dollar store, sitting on the table, changing colors because this mood ring is a moody little thing - and I moaned with fucking more delight than I have in the longest time, because I was eating a burrito that actually was as big as my fucking head and guacamole was spilling out of it, gushing into my mouth with free range pork and rice and beans and yum yum yumminess and fucking it was good, so damn good. And food is like that, it can feel so right sometimes.

-This is masturbation. I am a solipsistic hack. These are my thoughts after watchingAdaptation which was at times fucking so amazing, and at times, toward the end, a little tiring. No voiceovers was a command at some point in the movie. No voiceovers. And I don't think I would be able to do that. Over break, bored and dreaming, I have been trying to map out a work of fiction to undertake bringing into existence, but all my ideas are all of the semi-autobiographical sort, all voiceovers, which lots of writers do, but I am torn, confused. But even more so right now, I am hungry and tired, so I must go to bed.

-And Mick is so sincere sounding when he asks, "Angie, ain't it good to be alive?" And I am on that wavelength. Anyway who listens to the song and gets to that part is going to be on that wavelength, hypnotized with those secret wavelengths the Stones are sending out to us, and we'll be thinking, knowing that it is, it is fucking good to be alive.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

richard simmons, where are you?

My sister got me this big anthology of modernist poetry and I am losing it. There are same days, actually many of them, long strings of them, months, years it seems like, in which the world makes sense. I nod, because duh, "I get it."

But right now, I don't think I do. Breathing, eating, belching, and moving. That was life and that was okay. It was fucking meaningful. In modernist stuff, however, there is this agony of sorts about the dissolution of meaning, the modernist dillema, if you will, and I start to see the world through these sad eyes too, thinking that everything good is really no good. God, when I am bored sometimes, this stuff resonates with me way more than it should. I have to get outside and move. Right now, that is the solution. Go outside and play. I have not done anything active in the past three days - I have been devoting my energies to conquering a nasty cold, but I have won. The fight is over. I am ready to celebrate, to find something else to read.

It is a little too cold and a little too dark for a long walk. I want to go jogging but hate wearing glasses jogging and lost my contacts in some gay club in DC and did not bring extras.

But okay, here's an alternate cure. Alternative medicine. Forget about the St. Johns Wort. The secret is rock and roll. I did a little run to Borders a short while ago, to get out of the house, and to try to pick up a CityPaper. And okay, so I was driving in the car, my mom's white minivan with the heat on cause it's cold goddamnit, and beause I was moody, not in the mood, flipping through the stations, not in the mood for any crap right now, not this, nor that, not what I want right now, not ever. And I didn't know what I wanted to hear, you know? I just knew what I didn't want to hear. I mean that's life's fucking problem right there - the one big hindrance to a happy life, the thing the modernists were dealing with. They knew what world they didn't want, what was wrong with it all, but couldn't verbalize what they did want. I mean, it's pretty hard to forward a positive vision. Ronald Reagan talked about that "shining city on the hill." And that was fucking genius, that's what we all fucking want. Don't want to hear this bad rock on the radio. Avril Lavigne can go fuck herself. I want the shining city on the hill, goddamnit! The radio was just making me even more pissy that the world (or at least the radio - another problem was that I failed to distinguish between the two) was not in alignment with my vague positive vision of where it should be. Flipping flipping flipping more crap more crap and yes more crap. And then 94.7.

And I melted. The before picture would have been a nasty little crabby male not smiling, not really pleased with the world, let alone in love with it. The after picture is a much prettier sight. Instantly there was a smile, I was singing along to lyrics I wish I knew, fucking beaming behind the wheel of an automobile. Led Zepplin's "House of Holies" was playing on the classic rock station. I found what I was looking for, a soundtrack that seemed appropriate for me to live to. And I quote this Bob Seger line a lot, but that means something, that means that it is fucking true, that the world is meaningful. "Just play that old time rock and roll / it's just the type of music that soothes the soul."

Friday, December 20, 2002

virginia in december, right fucking now

The morning, the morning. Dawn appearing, finally. Fucking about time. Not rosy at all, but blue, a blue like a whisper, shy with its blueness, bordering on gray. Dropped my mom at the metro and soon will be picking up my sister from the train station. Going and coming. Moving moving moving. I am reading You Shall Now Our Velocity right now and this seems all too appropriate, my time on planes yesterday, dropping and picking up various family members at all these hubs of transportation. We've got the go go go spirit in this house, and maybe it's because that is life - the going and the doing - and we want to be a superlative - livingist, movingist, humanist. Most awesome. Maybe it's what we want life to be, and like Will are trying to forget the things. I am going to get a red, nylon tracksuit, and learn how to fucking break dance.

I am giving up the resolution, I resolved earlier in this diary. I am also dropping out of school, I am not telling my mom until I am safely in Sarasota. Move move go go. Far away from the guilt that will seep its way into our spatial relations. There will be a tense air between us, and yeah, I am not ready for that, don't want to deal with it. Am going to put some more, some different air between us. This means that now I can form the talked about Drop Outs with Rebecca, our band with no one that knows how to play instruments. Or we can just talk about it like we might actually do something someday. Like we would, like we will.

new college is dead

I wrote the following email Wednesday afternoon after checking my evaluations online.


I did not sat Russian Fiction. I am a little surprised by this. But, I guess this means that I have also unsated by contract, and now I am considering my options as of what to with myself. I really do not want to be in school until next spring semester, and so, I am pretty certain that I am not going to enroll next semester and am just going to work here, save up money, and move somewhere fun with nice people. Thanks for all your help this semester, sorry for being such a mess.


Written today (Friday) by Miriam Wallace in response to the above e-mail

Well, this is all too bad, but it sounds like you've made a functional decision for yourself. I really don't see you managing to get through the hoops here in just two semesters, not with work you'd be happy about and your faculty would feel good about. Why not take some time off and think about what you really want to do with yourself? You can probably finish up a degree many places much faster than what it would take to finish it here--remember the credits for completed courses will transfer, and someday when you're ready and more focused you may find it pretty quick to clock in the necessary credit hours and get the piece of paper if it turns out you need it. (I know plenty of people who went back only when they needed a degree for the work they were doing and who got through in record time then.)

Anyway, the evaluations are pretty clear and helpful in identifying what went wrong I think, for what it's worth.



And now, I just to need to figure out the particulars, of how I am going to go about living my life. And now I am in the position of Benjamin Braddock without having even graduated, with my life ahead of me and no plans whatsoever. I talked to my friend from high school tonight on the phone and she is getting married next year. And she is going the way of the movie, following the plot - and running off into the sunset with a beau does sound appealing, but there are numerous problems with that ending, namely my lack of a beau.

So where is this text going to go - how is this scene to play out? Well the author has been trying to craft the next bit of plot for the past couple of days, and is suffering from a bit of writer's block, of life block - of what the hell am I going to do with myself.

The now what? questions of Benjamin and Elaine on the bus and wondering what to do next, now what? are here, and I am not really sure what the answers are. But I guess no one ever is and that is the point. These questions were bound to rear their head eventually - the timing has just been sped up a little by recent events.

And I don't want to be another casualty of New College, hanging around Sarasota not really doing anything with my life. I need to move, move, move - need to live.

My sister was sitting at the table today, casually eating dry cereal and asking what she could do, saying she was bored.

-What I can I do with my day?

-No. What can you do with your life?

-No, I'm just bored, I want to do something.

-Exactly. Today is your life. This right here is your life.

And it started off jokingly, but what I was saying was sincere and though what I said was vocalized and directed at my sister, it was more of an interior monologue with myself, to live, to do something with myself. The plan as of now:

-Go back to Sarasota on Jan.2, work at the Best Western, find another job too (preferaby as a waiter).

-Tell mom that I unsated and that I am dropping out, and that this is okay.

-Save up as much money as possible by working mad hours for a few months.

-Find someone to take over lease and move out and then this is where the now what? questions really have no answer. Here are the possible options I have been brainstorming these past couple of days.

-Buy plane ticket to Israel and work on a kibbutz. This is the coolest seeming option right now.

-Find a place abroad (preferably Japan) where I can teach English. I found lots of cool schools in Japan but they all require a degree, which obviously I do not posess. So keep looking and try to find one that is a little more lax in their requirements. Shouldn't be too hard.

-Move to NY with saved money and start living. Find job, party hard, and rock out.

So as they say, stay tuned.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

school schmool

In eleven hours, I am flying out of this town, moving on for a few weeks or so to Virginia. And coming back to Florida. And I am dropping out of school. There are reasons. I have to get my life on as they say. More to follow. Right now I have to get my drink on with Jamie.

So no school next semester. Sort of sad, sometimes even happy, excited about the prospects lying ahead. Goals for the next few days:

-figure all this out

-figure out a plan for saving up money and moving to ny

-continuing the i am on fire writing project, devote myself to art, to writing, work on my technique a lot, become good

-start a rock band with rebecca, the drop outs

-fucking listen to lots of bruce springsteen and live live live

-finish new dave eggers novel

-and yeah yeah yeah, laugh my way through it all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

i need the eggs

It is 8:20 pm, only 8:20 - and the thing is, I could not for the life of me tell if there was not a clock staring at me, tell if it was 2 in the morning, midnight or what it is now, only 8:20. It feels late goddamnit. I just finished watching Woody Allen's Annie Hall, fucking woke up at 7 this morning for work, drank half a bottle of wine and am already so tired. The movie did its job, it transported me. I lost myself, had no conception of my temporal relation to today, to tonight, to death even. I was fucking living Annie Hall.

And yeah, by this point, you already know that I am a big fat fucking liar, or that I am a fucking pussy, unable to hold to my resolution for all of - what was it: two days? Two whole days I am unable to hold to my resolution to avoid the internet. But I have my reasons, there is that aforementioned half bottle of wine downed by me, and there is that movie calledAnnie Hall that I just watched. And perhaps most importantly, there is the fact that I just watched this movie by myself. Alone. Jamie is off with some boy or other doing some thing or other, and I had resolved to myself to be doing the same thing, the same some things or other, but there is of course that little problem of not knowing anyone. Perhaps, a big problem considering the resolution.

And yeah, let's sidetrack for a bit to tell a story, the story of last night, of how I went to bed early because I was tired from having to be at work at eight, and had to be at work at eight again the next day (what was today). So, I was really horny last night, so fucking horny, and my penis was ready for some self loving, and so was I. I wanted nothing more from this little world, but there was a problem, a problem either of my own or of this world's. It was damn cold outside, and also in our house without heat, and I was fucking cold too, trying to sleep inside this house, and was bundled up under covers, and ---

someone just came to the door, a teenager selling candy bars for school, and I was excited. I thought it was someone I knew - and this is important to the theme here, stay on your toes - this is so symbolic - and I said I didn't want any - that I had no money ---

it was cold, and I was bundled up under covers, so fucking cold everywhere, but my penis was either unaware of the coldness or indifferent cause it was all about the self loving. And so I tried, but I was too nervous to jizz under the covers. I did not want to have to sleep in a puddle of my own jizz or get it all over my comforter, so I tried throwing my comforter to the side and was just going to clean myself off with a towel, but I was fucking cold and said forget it - said I am just going to sleep without masturbating - too fucking cold for this right now. And I really don't see the significance of this story, but I know that when that candy boy came to my door, when I was running to my door still unaware of who it was, of who it might be, I thought that it might be Andrew. And this is probably because I just watchedAnnie Hall and wanting to experience love, I ran to the door, giddy, excited that someone was at my house, someone was visiting me.

And maybe some mention of Andrew should be made now, because he is the boy that was thought of throughout Annie Hall, he is the boy during cute moments, I squirmed under my blankets and thought about how I want to be with someone, how I want to be Woody Allen. Or Diane Keaton for fucking sakes. It didn't matter, and it still doesn't - I just want to be somewhere in the equation, with someone I loved. And so I wrote this card for Andrew a week ago, stuck it in his box, and told him that he should call me over break and that we should hang out. This was inspired by a conversation I had with him drunkenly at a wall in which he said (and which I believed) that he wanted to hang out over break. And so, I thought he would have called, I did not think of it as a crapshoot, the card. Rather, I thought of it as a guarantee, that he would call, and that I would see him. And well, I have not seen him and no, he has not called, if you could not already guess that from me watching Annie Hall all by myself with lit candels and drinking wine. And now Les Nubians as the soundtrack. I am really a little hurt that he has not called, a little shocked, and we all need the eggs.

It made so much sense when I watched Annie Hall - too much sense. Woody knows whats up, and I want to. I want to feel it too. I am going home to Virginia in two days, and that is two more days that Andrew will not call me and that everytime the phone will ring, I will naively hope that it is him, and then not be at all surprised find out that it is someone for Jamie. So what if they share fucking intials. After Jamie watched Annie Hall two days ago, I asked her how A.H. was and she said Andrew Hossack did not call. And that wasn't what I meant. Annie Hall!!!!! Fuck Andrew!

How about life, and the living of it? I went and saw the Rodin exhibit for the second time yesterday and again I saw the quote painted on the wall near the exit saying, "Take any model you can get, they are all beautiful." And it's fucking true, it all is. And, and, and - can I begin any more sentences with "and"? Probably, but let's try not to.

I held my hands together tonight, above the blanket on the couch while I was watching this movie because it was cold, because my hands needed "a little of that human touch," to quote Brucie Bruce. And I can do that, and I started another one with "and" - but whatever, I can. I can do that, hold my hands together, feel warm, cozy. It's so close, but not the same - I wanted someone's hand to hold, to fucking rub the little fleshy part between the thumb and the index finger. And fuck it, I do, I need the eggs, it's why I do it all - why I do this, even though I tell myself I shouldn't, that I am not going to - it is because I want the eggs, damnit. And something about who came first. And the eggs, damnit, the eggs! First and last and now, fucking fucking right now.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

let's play

Eugene came over a couple days ago, and I ate dinner with him, and chatted with him. Talked with him. Conversation is a fun thing with people you have never talked to. Resorting to conversation about crushes and whatnot seems a little inappropriate given the newness of the acquaintance. So, we talked, and it was fucking pretty fun for the rareness of the occurence, and one thing we talked about was the feeling of blah that I oftentimes have, where I don't really do anything with my time, but think that I should and spend a decent amount of time going over why or why I do not utlize my creative powers. For example, this entry right here.

And his advice was simple. So fucking simple. Get out and do things. Don't consume too much (books, movies, internet), but produce. And I walked to Ringling yesterday, went and looked at the circus museum, and felt the fucking rush of life, thought that I needed to incorporate the big top, all three plus rings of it into my everyday life. I biked downtown last night, and back with bread tied all over my bike - and that's what I need to be doing. Things. And the biggest hindrance to this for me is this right here, this internet thing. And so, since school is out and I really don't need to communicate with people through e-mail anymore, I am resolving to not use the internet until school starts again. Feburary, hopefully? I've made similar resolutions before and never really followed through with them, but this time I have my fingers crossed.

Let's do stuff, things. I am in Sarasota until this Thursday. My phone number is 941.351.4370. After that, I am going to be in the DC suburbs at my mommy's house until Jan. 2. Number there is 703.541.0846. Then back to SRQ. Let's rock n roll. It could be fun.

ain't nothing like the real thing, baby

Get up from the chair, you lazy bear. The street is the thing. I am going to try my hand at pre-Wozniak and Jobs life for a while, so don't fucking email me, I won't get it. Your words will float somewhere out there in space, little astronaut words. Send them through the telephone wire, through your touch even. I am here till Thursday in SRQ. Let's do things. 941.351.4370. Then I am going home to stay with mommy in Northern Virginia till Jan. 2. 703.541.0846. Then back in SRQ.

And Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell sang a song about it, a damn good song.

Friday, December 13, 2002

now i am done with this semester

woo-hoo! now i am going to go turn in this miriam wallace paper. and am kind of done with the semester, except that john moore is the nicest man ever and is giving me an incomplete in greek so i can retake the final and not fail the course (and my contract).

Genre Hybridity and Narrative (Un)Reliablity in James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

In Hogg’s Confessions, the actual confession of the eponymous hero, Robert Wringhim, is bookended by two sections of what purports to be an Editor’s narrative, essentially allowing for two tellings of the same story. One of them is an “Editor’s narrative,” this one is told first and dramatically colors the reading of the succeeding narrative, that of Wringhim’s confession. What this then causes is a questioning of narrative reliability, of which story is closer to the truth, if either of them, and what this says about the nature of a text in general. Through the contradictions between the historical narrative of the Editor and the personal one of Robert, the reader is privy to witnessing what biases the storyteller possesses that might otherwise not be so obvious. But in contrasting Robert’s narrative with that of the editor’s and vice versa, the whole nature of what a story means and why it is told is called into question. The two narratives are not only distinct with respect to their details, but they are also, and even more importantly, distinct in the style that each is written. The Editor’s Narrative is a history written under the guise of objectivity; written with “the editor” presuming that his story is closer to the truth than that of the Confession, which is more autobiographical and more concerned with the personal and the psychological to such an extent that it becomes emblematic of the Gothic genre.

Confessions sets itself up as duel between these two narrative genres, between which is more truthful, and then as this paper shows, it resolves this duel not by declaring one genre superior to the other or by deeming one more truthful, but instead declares that both are the losers, and because of this, they are both also the winners. The novel destabilizes the meaning of the narrative in its broadest sense. It does not identify one type of narrative that is unreliable, but instead says that both are, that in fact, all forms of narrative are unreliable, but that this is not a bad thing. And here’s where both come out winners in this duel: Both are necessary to get at a more reliable accounting - that this is the nature of the novel. Through a presence of many voices, of many truths, it is easier to arrive at what the truth is. Here is Bakhtin’s heteroglossia literalized with the explicitly dialogic juxtaposition of narrative voices seen in the positioning of the Editor’s narrative and Robert’s confession. And as this paper shows, the necessity of multiple forms of narrative within a text demands a more active role of the reader, since the reader must sort out what is reliable and what is not, and the reader must then construct their own interpretation. There is no such thing as “Just the facts, Joe.” Every fact in Hogg’s novel is a subjective account, up for contestation, and this is the point being made, by him and by this paper – that the “historical” account of the Editor’s narrative is just as subjective and self-interested as that of Robert’s confession.

From the get-go, right in the very first line of the novel, we learn from what angle the Editor’s Narrative is coming from and where the editor’s biases lay:

It appears from tradition, as well as some parish registers that the lands of Dalcastle were possessed by a family of the name of Colwan ... and this being all I can gather of the family from history, to tradition I must appeal for the remainder of the motley adventures of that house. But of the matter furnished by the latter of these powerful monitors, I have no reason to complain: It has been handed down to the world in unlimited abundance; and I am certain, that in recording the hideous events which follow, I am only relating to the greater part of the inhabitants of four counties of Scotland, matters of which they were perfectly well informed. (49)

The editor’s biases lay in the parish registers, in the belief that historical accounts are reliable ones. There is a failure to recognize that these are biases. Instead, these historical accounts, even those of tradition, “the latter of these powerful monitors” are looked upon as reliable. These are not “stories” or “rumors” of “which they were perfectly well informed,” rather these are “matters of which they were perfectly well informed.” Matter has the connotation of something that is definite, an event that has occurred. And these matters, which the editor relates in his narrative, are used to put the succeeding Confession in context for the reader.

Beginning the Editor’s Narrative with an accounting of the history of the Dalcastle estate firmly establishes this narrative in the tradition of historical accounts, where it is not the individual that matters so much as their role in the flow of history. The Dalcastle estate is arguably the subject of this section. The Editor’s Narrative focuses on whoever is the current occupant of Dalcastle. Dalcastle, which serves the same role as the State in historical accounts, is either the site of action where events occur or it is the object whose fate is at risk in a scene. For example, scenes where George Colwan’s life is put at risk occur away from the Dalcastle estate, but their outcome will determine the future of Dalcastle.

For the most part, the Editor’s Narrative is written in the 3rd person. There are of course, plenty of instances in which the editor makes his presence known to the reader, particularly at the end and the beginning of the Editor’s narrative with sentences written in the 1st person. However, the general tone of this narrative is that of a historical accounting written in an omniscient 3rd person. The focus of the narrative is not on the interior thoughts of individuals, but is a more superficial description of social relations that allows for the group to take on an importance not seen in the Confession where heightened individualism is the dominant focus. The scenes were George is with his comrades exhibit this distinction clearly, where the group is portrayed as an entity.

The day arrived—the party of young noblemen and gentlemen met, and were as happy and jovial as men could be. George was never seen so brilliant, or so full of spirits; and exulting to see so many gallant young chiefs and gentlemen about him, who all gloried in the same principles of loyalty. (86)

The focus on group dynamics in the Editor’s narrative is a distinction that marks this imitative historical account from the personal Gothic tale that follows. This focus on the collective action involved in history also exhibits itself explicitly in the riot scene on High Street (70-71). In that scene, a riot erupts after the brouhaha that occurs between Robert and George spills out of control. The personal is conflated with the historical here, which is one of the distinguishing features of historical fiction, such as Scott’s Waverley. Here too, we have a bumbling hero (George Colwan) stumbling into a historical setting, and erupting latent tensions between competing Scottish political groups.

Another aspect that marks this section as historical fiction are the courtroom scenes, and the long sections of what are supposedly dialogue from the judiciary records. The editor, continuing his usage of “tradition” and “history,” uses these courtroom scenes as further historical evidence of his tale. Mrs. Logan (and the reader) sit and listen to long testimony on the stand. The public record of the transcriptions of these courtroom scenes becomes narrative here. The public and the personal are thus collapsed even more, with the personal narrative literarily becoming through its transcription, a public narrative and an historical one. The public domain of the courtroom establishes it as a space where these issues of historicity can play themselves out. It is the domain of the State that the court embodies, and it is for this reason that court dialogue is featured so prominently in this section, the Editor’s Narrative, which is supposed to be emblematic of the historical fiction genre. The sources that the editor draw his information from are never considered suspect, rather the editor takes them as reliable and presents them as so. At the end of his first narrative, the editor concludes by saying, “and this is all with which history, justiciary records, and tradition, furnish me relating to these matters,” (116). The editor very subtly acknowledges here that his narrative is confined by limitations and that with having recounted these three sources already, he has reached the limit of how far his historical narrative can go. And it is at this point, that the reader receives the personal narrative, the Confession of Robert Wringhim to account for the lacunae in the Editor’s narrative, that both are necessary to understand what really occurred, or to at least to come to a better understanding.

It is in contrast with Robert’s confession that most of these differences are witnessed. The blatant subjectivity of Robert’s autobiography allows for the reader to call into question the “objectivity” of the Editor’s Narrative; allows for the reader to call into question the very notion that there can be such a thing as an “objective” narrative. Through Robert’s narrative, the reader is privileged to see many of the biases of not only the Editor’s narrative, but of historical accounts in general.

Robert’s confession is continually written in the 1st person, and is concerned with the interior thoughts of Robert and his spiritual crises. Robert’s confession is the found text that the Editor’s Narrative tries to put in perspective, but the result is that by the time the reader starts the actual Confession, the reader is already under the impression that George is possibly insane, and so a reading of his text is invariably colored by the preceding one that describes him in such non-flattering terms that make him sound psychotic.

From the beginning of his narrative, Robert is already deemed suspect – the reader has already been told that Robert is the probable killer of his brother, George. And with his Confession, with each thing he says, the reader’s suspicions are confirmed in a way that they probably would not have been, had these suspicions not been created in the Editor’s Narrative. The narrative of the editor casts suspicion on the reliability of Robert’s narrative, thus allowing for the entrance of meta-narrative concerns within this novel.

The nature of the psychological novel is called into question by the historical narrative that the reader is first given. The power that a Gothic novel may have had seems tempered by the Editor’s Narrative, with its historicism mediating the intent of the Confession. The genres dominating this novel represent not only a split between methods of narrative, over what details are important – but also at the root of all of this are dueling masculinities. The two narrative genres competing in the confines of this novel are also emblematic of two dueling masculinities. Both the narratives and masculinities are essentially fighting over what details are important. The version of masculinity that we get in the Editor’s Narrative establishes George Colwan as the masculine ideal, he is “one of the roughs,” possessing a Whitmanic love of nature and interest in the fraternity of males.

Historical fiction in this novel is the embodiment of the masculine ideal with a hero that is not self-obsessed, but instead sees the utility of group action. Whereas in the Confessions, which represent the Gothic genre with its doppelgangers and paranoid narrative pace, the reader is presented with someone that is too concerned over things, concerned to the point of paranoia and fanaticism. If the historical novel is to serve as the model of masculinity, than the gothic novel is the warning of how not to model one’s masculinity. The gothic narrative is essentially emasculated in this novel by the editor with his brusque descriptions of the differences between George and Robert, essentially the difference between historical fiction and gothic fiction.

[Robert] was an acute boy, an excellent learner, had ardent and ungovernable passions, and withal, a sternness of demeanour from which other boys shrunk … and was fond of writing essays on controverted points of theology … George was much behind him in scholastic acquirements, but greatly his superior in physical prowess, form, feature, and all that constitutes gentility in deportment and appearance. (62)

George, the historical novel, is actively living what the novel clearly sees as a positive life, especially in contrast to Robert’s. The historical novel is involved in physical activities, plays tennis and cricket with a buoyant spirit, while the gothic novel looks jealously on from the sidelines with a bloody nose.

The placement of the two narratives within the same novel invites this type of questioning and comparison between the two genres. And this type of analysis is all the more called for with the entrance of Gil-Martin into the text, whose use of language is comparable to that of a storyteller. Perhaps storytelling is the devil’s art here. Narrative reliability is thoroughly destabilized by this novel with each narrative having its own distinct methods and biases, and then we have the entrance of Gil-Martin into the equation, who with language convinces Robert what to do. Gil-Martin is capable with mere words of persuading Robert to kill his brother, George.

“I will not reason with you on this head, mighty potentate,” said I, “for whenever I do so it is but to be put down. I shall only express my determination, not to take vengeance out of the Lord’s hand in this instance. It availeth not ... Let them perish in their sins; for they shall not be meddled with by me.”
“How preposterously you talk, my dear friend!” said he. “These people are your greatest enemies...”
... I did consider it... till at length I began to have a longing to kill my brother, in particular. Should any man ever read this scroll, he will wonder at this confession and deem it savage and unnatural. So it appeared to me at first, but a constant thinking of an event changes every one of its features. (152-3)

Just from listening to Gil-Martin’s narrative is Robert convinced to commit fratricide. Language is a powerful force in this novel. The techniques of Gil-Martin are not very different from those employed by the other narrators in this novel. The Editor and Robert Wringhim are not all that distinct from the devil, and that is the point Hogg is trying to make: that narratives should not be passively accepted and trusted to be reliable. Rather that they can be dangerous things if not read properly, and this is a call for a more active, conscious reading. Readers must distinguish their reading of this text from that of Robert’s reading of Gil-Martin, otherwise we have seen the result of what happened to Robert. Language is not necessarily a good thing. It can be, and often is deceptive in this novel. The hybridization of genres within this novel, combining the historical with the gothic with the autobiographical makes this deceptiveness even more apparent, with each of these genres having their own subjective biases that they subject the reader to.

Works Cited
Hogg, James. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Ontario: Broadview Press Ltd., 2001.

i heart eggers and block quotes

I really can't believe I am going to turn this paper in. I wrote this in a couple hours, as is very obvious. It's about Eggers and it's for John Moore. It is so hard to write about a writer you really like. What else can you say other than "I really think Dave Eggers is really cool, dude!" Luckily, this paper is for Moore, and I can get away with saying things like that.

Dave Eggers and a Uniquely American Artistic Manifesto

In the vein of Walt Whitman’s exuberance, sharing Whitman’s lust for life, his love of its physicalness, and using his same technique of addressing the reader directly, Dave Eggers also implores them, the readers, (you and I!) to see this! “This”! Using broad terms to encapsulate this expansive spirit, to guard against limiting this Whitmanic/Emmersonian ideal with the coarse nature of language. Pablo Neruda called Walt Whitman “the first totalitarian poet” for this tendency of his to demand things of the reader, to collapse his identity with that of the reader, gleefully blurring those well-established lines that separated the author from the reader of a text, making them one and the same.

Loafe with me on the grass . . . . loose the stoop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I want . . . . not custom or lecture, not even the best
Only the lull I like, the hum or your valved voice. (lines 75-77)

Here in “Song of Myself,” Whitman invites the reader on to the grass with him, establishes a personal relationship with the reader, believes that the act of reading, the artistic back and forth should be an intimate one. Whitman makes this desire for intimacy explicit here by basically having the reader felate him, saying that all he likes is “the hum of your valved voice.” Your valved voice! That is you, that is me, and that is Whitman being wonderful, involving us so much in the reading of this text. In the next lines, in case we failed to get his point that the act of reading should be similar to that of a sexual act, that it should be as meaningful and as physically involving, he makes it even more explicit:

I mind how we lay in June, such a transparent summer morning;
You settled your head athwart my hips and gently turned over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my barestript heart,
And reached till you felt my beard, and reached till you held my feet. (lines 78-81)

There is a line of writers in American literature who share these Whitmanic sentiments. Emerson is the obvious precursor to Whitman, and following Whitman, the line is nearly infinite and broad with everyone from Henry Miller to Kerouac to Ginsberg to Sharon Olds to Dave Eggers fitting into it. In all of these writers there is a concern with Americanness, the belief that there is such a thing as an American spirit. This can be problematic if one considers these works, because of their concern with Americanness to idealize the State or that these works merely stems from the colonialist spirit of go, go, go, do, do, do. And while there is that side to it, that capitalist ethic of progress, that side is minimal, if even there at all in some of these writers. Some like Ginsberg, while in love with Americanness, are not in love with state institutions. And Ginsberg’s lament still has chilling power and significance now: “America, when will you angelic?” And of course, there is that thing about America fucking itself with its atom bomb, but that criticism is said in love, out of concern, because Ginsberg also has this vision of where he would like to see America headed. All of these writers are concerned with utilizing these creative powers of man that they see untapped. They call us to arms, to pick up our pens, our guitars, our brushes, whatever - just to do stuff with ourselves, with this, our short lives. And Dave Eggers is in this same strain, sharing these same concerns, and also demanding similar things of his readers. The difference is that Eggers harkens back to Whitman’s populist spirit probably more so than any of these other Whitmanic writers, maybe even more so than Whitman himself, because in his call to arms, he simply tells us to pick up a frisbee. After giving meaning and profound significance to a game of frisbee between himself and his younger brother, Toph, he lashes out at us, his own readers, and demands of us to do the same, to live and to see the beauty in it all, all of it, our everyday lives:

There is nowhere I stop and you begin. I am exhausted. I stand before you millions, 47 million, 54, 32, whatever, you know what I mean, you people ... and where is my lattice? I am not sure you are my lattice. Sometimes I know you are there and other times you are not there and sometimes when I’m in the shower with my hands scratching around in my head I think of you all, all your millions of heads and legs, standing under buildings shuffling them around, carrying them, taking them apart, making new buildings- .... Don’t you know that I am connected to you? Don’t you know that I’m trying to pump blood to you, that I hate you people, so many of you motherfuckers- When you sleep I want you to never wake up, so many of you I want you to just fucking sleep it away because I only want you to run under with me on this sand like Indians, if you’re going to sleep all day fuck you motherfuckers oh when you’re all sleeping so many sleeping I am somewhere on some stupid rickety scaffolding and I’m trying to get your stupid fucking attention I’ve been trying to show you this, just been trying to show you this. (Heartbreaking 436-437)

And there it is, that all encompassing “this” that Eggers wants to show the reader in his “totalitarian” imploring of them to realize these things. It is so easy and sometimes deceptive to say such things as “the reader.” That sanitizes the whole thing, and it tempers the profundity of what it means that these writers are addressing the reader - it makes it something other than me, other than you. We distance ourselves from their message, thinking that we already get it, we are in on the joke, he is instead addressing “the reader.” And since this is a collegiate paper, I, a reader, have also been using this term “the reader,” fearing to fall into first-person narrative because that is not how academic papers are supposed to be written. But, no more. The message is an important one, and it is addressed to us, to you, and to me! That makes me feel special and privileged, to know that these writers think so highly all of us, are so concerned that they want to talk to us. It is really a pretty amazing thing, and I feel like I must treat it as such. So, let’s rewrite the first sentence of this paragraph and start all over with this point. Make it relevant to myself and take what lessons I can from Eggers, use his call to arms, as just that, and not only create art, but live it.

And there it is, that all encompassing “this” that Eggers wants to show us(!) in his “totalitarian” imploring of you and I to realize these things. Eggers’ words always awaken me, sometimes make me feel like shit, like I am one of the sleepers here, and need to come out and play, to run on the sand with Eggers, under the frisbee. And for a while, I do this. His message usually manages to stay with me for days, sometimes a week or two - but sometimes I need a little recharge. I open up my tattered copy of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius to this page and recite lines to myself, incant them, and reevaluate how I am living my life, and how I should, how I would like to.

Sure, it sounds trite, perhaps even cheesy, but I can do anything I want, I can move buildings. I am there “standing under buildings shuffling them around, carrying them, taking them apart, making new buildings.” And that is what is so wonderful about Eggers, that this fear of cheesiness that forces us to live in irony, to be too hip for the message is thrown out the window. Eggers, more so than any other contemporary writer, resonates with me so much exactly for this reason. It is because I am tired of irony and so is Eggers. These lines that he says are said seriously and without the slightest hint of irony. Eggers’ lack of irony in his writing is emblematic of his bigger message that he pushes.

He demands of us one thing: sincerity. It is so fresh. Why is this a new idea? How did we ever get to the point where the suggestion that we should be sincerely engaged with life is again a novel idea? However we got to the point is itself a moot point now, because Eggers is writing language that is, in fact, “heartbreaking”ly sincere - and this is how we are supposed to live. This is how I resolve to live my life everytime I (re)read Eggers - that I must engage sincerely with “this” - whatever “this” is - that broad “this” is what I am concerned with when I read Eggers. I cannot peg it down to what “this” is and I don’t have any particular desire to. The knowledge that I understand, that I get the message is enough.
In his short story, “After I Was Thrown Into the River and Before I Drowned,” Eggers again hits home the same message that we need to physically engage ourselves with active living. And he does this through the story of a dog, “a fast fast dog” (126). The fast fast dog, Steven, is representative of the model for living that Eggers wants us to follow. Just like his imploring of us to run and play frisbee, and to feel the feeling of life that is caused by active movement, by mobility, he gives us this character of a dog who is in love with running and the feelings produced by it, by actively living.

I love it, I love it. I run to feel the cool air through my fur. I run to feel the cold water come from my eyes. I run to feel my jaw slacken and my tongue come loose and flap from the side of my mouth and I go and go and go my name is Steven.

I can eat pizza. I can eat chicken. I can eat yogurt and rye bread with caraway seeds. It really doesn’t matter. They say, “No, no, don’t eat that stuff, you, that stuff isn’t for you, it’s for us, for people!” And I eat it anyway, I eat it with gusto, I eat the food and I feel good and I live on and run and run and look at the people and hear their stupid conversations coming from their slits for mouths and terrible eyes...Through the trees like a missile, through the trees I love to run with my claws reaching and grabbing so quickly like I’m taking everything...Damn, I’m so in love with all of this. (“After” 126-127)

When I read this, the message that I got from his novel is only reemphasized, reinforced with this short story on the artist’s life. The dog is the artist and his life is the process of art, of how an artist should live. I am sort of hesitant to use such terms as “artist” to describe what type of person Eggers is urging us to be, because Eggers is far too populist to ever use a term with all the elitist baggage it carries such as “artist.” But this is what this is - this is the best way I can think of situating what Eggers is up to in the literary tradition. What Eggers is up to falls in the same line of writing as Emmerson’s “The Poet,” as Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet,” and other tracts that aim to inspire, to get people to harness their creative potentials. To call the dog an artist, and to say that this is a tract on how to produce good art just seems a lot less messier than trying to coin a new terminology to deal with the non-artist nature of Egger’s artist.

Art is just a term for conscious living anyway, and that is what Eggers demands of us, to wake up and to live, to do things with ourselves, with each other. Eggers, through the story of Steven, says that art is a sincere engagement with life, with our bodies. It is not something cerebral or detached from the lived experience. Rather, it is in our physical activities, our exertions of our own bodies that good art is made, that the good life is lived.

This may seem like a stretch to say that this short story about a dog is a commentary on the production of art, but Eggers makes this obvious that this is his point with the entrance of the squirrels into the story. When Steven and the other dogs sneak out of their houses at night and meet up in the woods to race each other, to produce art, to live, there are squirrels who sit in trees and critique the performances of the dogs, basically serving the role of art critics. And Eggers lashes out at the field of passive criticism, saying that the squirrels and critics need to try their own hands at art, to engage themselves with life - that that is where it is at:

On the banks of the creek, near the drainpipe, on the dirt and in the weeds and on the branches of the rough grey trees are the squirrels. The squirrels have things to say; they talk before and after we jump. Sometimes while we’re jumping they talk.

“He is running funny.”

“She will not make it across.”

When we land they say things.

“He didn’t land as well as I wanted him to.”

“She made a bad landing. Because her landing was bad I am angry.”
I don’t know why the squirrels watch us, or why they talk to us. They do not try to jump the gap. The running and jumping feels so good--even when we don’t win or fall into the gap it feels so good when we run and jump--and when we are done the squirrels are talking to us, to each other in their small, jittery voices.

We look at the squirrels and we wonder why they are there. We want them to run and jump with us but they do not. They sit and talk about the things we do. Sometimes one of the dogs, annoyed past tolerance, catches a squirrel in his mouth and crushes him. But then the next night they are back, all the squirrels, more of them. Always more. (131-132)

The squirrels are portrayed as silly, as chatty, as not fully living. And this is what Eggers sees criticism as, a failure to engage first-hand with life, but engaging with it in a form mediated by other people's experiences with life. Criticism is not really assigned any value in Egger’s conception of art. Eggers instead sees art as only mattering to the artist. That is who it is for. It is not for the squirrels sitting in trees, who are too scared to run. It is for the running dogs, for you and for me. It doesn’t even matter if you fall or lose, all that matters is that you have a sincere engagement with life. Above all else in Egger's conception of art stands sincerity. This is my maxim for art: Above all, sincerity. It was developed by trying to explain why I dig Eggers so much and why I can’t stand smarmy irony.

Even after death, in heaven, Steven still holds to this conception of living and of art - even though his engagement with active living is probably the reason he drowned. That didn’t matter and doesn’t matter because he lived art, he was sincerely engaged with life.

I wanted the squirrels to be happy as we dogs were. But they were different than we were. I thought we were all the same but as I was inside my dead body and looking into the murky river bottom I knew that some are wanting to run and some are afraid to run and maybe they are broken and angry for it. (139)

It is physical activity that is of supreme importance for Egger’s conception of a good life. Eggers is thoroughly aligned with Whitman here in his prizing of human motion, movement, and exertion. For both, the body is of prime importance. In their art, as it should be, the body has as prominent a position as our bodies and their failings and successes have in our actual, lived lives. There is this dynamic energy of the human spirit that both try to capture, and they do this by literally finding a body for this dynamic spirit, and showing the human body as a dynamic form constantly in motion. This dynamic energy not only finds a mirror in the representation of the body, but also in the actual texts of both these writers and the type of language they use. They both use a dynamic go, go, go language that seems to written with speed and as a result (and of prime importance) is read with speed. These texts have a really fast momentum that actually does what their message intends- it gets people to wake up, to pick up the pace, to live a more active life.

Then the train sounds from the black thick part of the forest where it can’t be seen, then comes into view, passing through the lighter woods, and it shoots through, the green squares glowing and inside the bodies with their white shirts. I try to soak myself in this. This I can’t believe I deserve. I want to close my eyes to feel this more but then realize I shouldn’t close my eyes. I keep my eyes open ... (135)

Works Cited
Eggers, Dave. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.

Eggers, Dave. “After I Was Thrown Into the River and Before I Drowned.” 126-140. Speaking With the Angel. Hornby, Nick (ed). New York: Riverhead Books, 2000.

Whitman, Walt. “Song of Myself.” The Complete Poems. New York: Penguin Classics, 1996.

what i need from you

I want sex. I put a card in Andrew's box Wednesday saying I was being forward, saying to call me. He has not. That makes me a little sad, but it's Andrew so I do not take too much offense to it. I saw him in the computer lab today in the midst of printing out my last two papers of this semester, in the midst of a joyous mood, that I was done with fucking school for a bit, for a couple of weeks. I smiled, said hi, and that was that. Open your stupid mouth, you fucking idiot. If you're not going to use it to make out with me, to fellate me, then at least goddamn motherfucking say something. That's what I want - and how I have allowed life to become so civil, to smile and say hi and not bite your fucking nose, I do not know.

I cleaned my kitchen tonight. Bleached the stovetop, scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed until it was white, spotless as fucking spotless can be, with one of those hard sponges I fought off savage grime and reestablished civilization. Order in the fucking kitchen, clean as clean can fucking be, and now I want to dirty something, myself.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

I.U.D.S.I.S. - stay in school, cause it's the best

I am in the computer lab, trying to write a paper, but having trouble breathing. I haven't started the paper. There is a cleaning woman behind me, spraying chemicals all through the air, cleaning shit - and it smells like bleach, like cleaning the bathtub - and fucking shit, I don't want to write any more papers. I want to be done. I want this woman to stop cleaning, to get away from me, to stop spraying stuff. Space. It's what I want. I hate Miriam Wallace so much, more than this smell.

I bought my plane ticket home today. I made contact with Mary Miller, we are going to rock n roll the capital city over break, and things are looking good if I look past today, past these two papers. So close to the finish line, then I can breath, have space. Buckling down and writing this paper in countdown 5...4...3...2...1...

Monday, December 9, 2002

guess i'll go eat worms

It is always when I have to get out of my house, when I just have to escape, when I want to spend time with other people, it is these times, when I realize how few friends I have, how I know absolutely no one that I can go visit. And I left my house a while ago, walked through the rain, losing the tension that was bottling up inside me, inside 8418 Cypress Circle, feeling collected, and of this world. I made my way to the C-Store hoping that Sarah Latshaw would be working. But no, it was Tina Jajo!!! I was so sad and took my time walking through Ham Center, making my way to the mailroom, hoping to God that I would encounter someone I knew, anyone, someone that I could spend time with, but no one - Ham Center was deserted. I took my sweet time loitering in the mailroom, checking my mailbox, checking Ben Haber's and then Andrew came in - and I was so excited, was so hoping that I could engage Andrew for a bit - but he was on his way to the SAC meeting, and so I made my way to the only room I visit on campus - the only person that I am friends with who lives there - Beki Martin. But, she too was nowhere to be found. And so sadly, I realized that I knew not one person that I could visit and that I was going to have to return home.

I made my way home through the rain again, content, excited with the falling rain and sang that "You've got gray eyes" song from the Trainspotting soundtrack, danced a little, down the street, up to my door.

I came in the house, took off my shoes, my raincoat and set down my umbrella. And then I heard my house again, Clay's grating voice - and I put right back on my shoes, my raincoat, grabbed my umbrella and walked through the rain again. This time to the library, hoping that I would find someone here - but not one person. And now, I am going to be more of a loser and go see if the one person I know on campus is back yet, and think about what a friendless loser I am some more.

Sunday, December 8, 2002


I changed my mind. I don't care. I just woke up to Clay's voice in my living room. Probably the most horrible method of waking up I could imagine. I hope he leaves today.

Saturday, December 7, 2002

go tell it on the mountain?

And I am already breaking my resolution to stop being public, to make it to the new year without writing for anyone else once. But there are reasons. There always tend to be.

Today after biking back to work to return the keys that I being a space cadet, left work with, I ran into Rebecca and Abby and ended up biking with Rebecca downtown to go the X-mas Parade. And something happened. It was one of those rare moments of insight, of this is meaningful. I was thinking about it at the time - its hard not to - to just live! unmediated by thoughts of what the living means - and it seemed so so meaningful. Prior to the parade starting, we walked up and down Main Street seeing people, families, human beings gather on the side of the street, making a parade route, more people in Sarasota then I have ever seen gathered in one place. Vendors selling light-up things, stuff ravers would probably like, and kids all over the place. Smiling police officers. Old people on folding chairs. It was such a sight, a wonderful ritual, a gathering that affirms something. I'm not sure what, but I am trying to figure that out for my sake and yours, that is why I am writing in my diary even though I had resolved to stop, it is because I don't know anymore. My arguments about the performative aspects to diary writing seem a little hollow now that I am filled with the spirit.

And I don't know how to describe it, or even where to start, but let's start in the trash cans behind C'est la Vie. And yes, that is life - how fucking appropriate - how loaded with meaning. C'est la vie! There in those trash cans, is Rebecca, is me, and we are gathering huge bags of bread to bring back to school, to sit and snack on during the parade.

Now, we are sitting on that curb, on that long curb stretching from 301 to 41, completely filled with people of all ages, all sitting, waiting together for it to start, for something. And we are snacking on the bread. Eating it.

Shriners pass us by, some New College people find us, police on motercycles doing tricks, horses, and a marching band in kilts, Riverview or Riverside High and one of the tuba players checks me out very obviously. It is good for the ego after being turned down from many boys who I asked to make out with me last night. One said yes and we made out, but here come some Girl Scouts dressed up as candy canes, and behind them, Brownies dressed up as presents. And then, I turned around to my left to see the woman next to me, twitching violently in her wheelchair. I think to myself that she has problems, that it is rude to stare, and try to refocus on the parade. But seconds later, her friend with her cries for help. Help. And it was the most desperate sounding plea ever - it sent chills down my spine and we are all mortal - and the parade kept going and the woman next to me was having a seizure. And I didn't know what to do. I am like everyone else. I was helpless, confused, and scared and worst of all, still, silent. The friend begged, bellowed for someone to call 911. And I was going to run, I started to but I didn't know where to go, where I was running, I didn't know where a phone was. Someone must have had a cellphone, where the hell was I going, and I stopped, and one of the New College people had one, and called 911. I watched eagerly as she pressed Talk, hoping that she would press it faster, that this was dire.

An old white woman, someone much closer to death than me looked terrified as she looked at the sight of the woman having a seizure. I have never seen that look so strongly in anyone's eyes, that fear of death, of mortality. And more motorcyles kept driving by in the parade. All these people jolly, and so few noticed, and here next to me, crying, confused, a woman having a violent seizure.

The medics finally arrived, took her away in a stretcher and I didn't know if I should look at her or at the parade, which one would be more rude, the least sympathetic. I wavered between both, the contrast between the two, an amazing and beautiful thing, yet completely terrifying in its beauty, in the distinction between Camera 1 and Camera 2. And now you are the voyeur, looking at her, at her having a seizure, deliriously crying when the medics were there, "Help Me." And more chills, more sincere longing than I think I might have ever heard.

Now there is a lot more space around me. The two woman and their chairs are gone. I move into where they were seating, spreading myself out. And then the cause of this here, of who knows what else that you will not see, a gospel choir singing the most rocking version of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" I have ever heard. It was fucking amazing, and yeah, I am going to tell it I think. Just got to find me a mountain and figure out exactly what it is I need to tell. But the knowledege that I have to do this is good, is something I needed. And here's the answer for every asshole who asks me what I want to do after I'm done with school. I'm going to fucking tell it on the mountain. And that's that.

I biked home with lots of bread on my handlebars, and saw stars like I think I have never seen them before, was happy with every car that passed far too close me, that almost hit me. Happy with it all.

Thursday, December 5, 2002

frenching ronald regan

It was all a lie, a big lie, or I have changed my mind or something like that. But, I collected money with Beki for her wall, went to his door, heard his voice, saw his face, and the crush is so back on, so right on. And I have a paper due tomorrow on Durkheim, whom I have never read and I need to do it, to start reading and to quit daydreaming, to quit hoping that this boy will be at Beki's wall, that maybe he will be near Ronald Regean, near some missletoe.


Because tonight, walking into my house, there was an argument between Bonnie and Jamie, and it involved Bonnie not realizing her interference in someone else's social relations, and I don't want anyone involved in mine anymore.

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

time to dig out that alanis cd

Because I don't have a fucking guitar, and even worse for my cause of being an angsty chick singer, I don't know how to fucking play one. I was walking home from the Midnight Breakfast shindig awhile ago, walking home by myself, and so full of rage for the first time in a long time. It was such a good feeling - I sang obscenities and felt like I could have kicked anyone's ass and it was a great fucking feeling of pure rage, of malicious hatred for my fellow students here at this fucking place. And yeah, the angsty chick singing: I ranted and half sang, "Oh, you're a fucking asshole." Stretch it out, break up those syllables and croon it, it feels so fucking good. Direct it to that person you are not pleased with, that person that you think is a motherfucking asshole, make it personal, include their name in the song to get the full angsty chick rock effect. And since I don't have a guitar, since my singing can only please me so much, I need another outlet for my rage, and so here we go in "You Oughta Know" fashion, ready to fucking rage at you, you fucking asshole.

And yeah, the crush is over now, I can admit it to you guys, fold my hand, show you the cards I was holding, the cards I had already let half the table see. I had a crush on this boy Ben Haber and for a while it was a little out of control, I was a little obsessed you might say. I made him another secret admirer card yesterday, drunk off of wine, off of Cabernet Sauvignon, and giddy with having a crush, and feeling like making a little love note. And so I did, and last night went to put it in his box, and checked it today like the good crush-holder that I am, to make sure he picked it up, which he did. Whoo!

And then I went to the Town Meeting today and plopped myself down in front of him, which I did not realize until halfway through the thing and drank far too much coffee for my own good, coffee from which I am only now recovering. After the meeting, I laid in bed, sick with the massive amounts of coffee and Papa John's pizza swirling around in my stomach. I slept for a couple of hours, woke up and wanted to cry, felt that I physically had to, not because I was sad, but just my body wanted to cry from some weird caffeine high. And whatever, fuck you!!!

Okay so yeah, I did not say one word to my crush at the town meeting, I am big fat wimp, I know, I need no reminders. And so later, in discussion with my roommates, in my crush-gushing, I resolved to definitly talk to him tonight! tonight at that midnight breakfast thingy, I was going to be brave and try to talk to him,

but oh again, I should just cut and paste, because again I didn't talk to him, I'm a sad, pathetic wimp, and again, I need no reminders. While eating pancakes covered in syrup and whipped cream, eating the yumm yummy things, I looked to the side, and saw Ben Haber engaged in conversation with none other than the subject of my angsty chick rock songs: Andrew "motherfucking asshole" (with crooned syllables) Hossack. And yeah, I have some history with Andrew, things are weird, and I know how he talks to people he likes, who he is hitting on. There is a certain stance, a body language, and I saw it, and was so, so, so sad - and sort of jealously hoping that the conversation would end soon. I am a sad loser - yes, it is all true, so true. And they talked some more and I recalled a conversation with Motherfucking Asshole in which I was sort of telling him about how cute Ben Haber was, and he was contesting my claims, countering them with claims that some other boy was so cute.

And then, they left together. As Sara Latshaw, who I just encountered here in the library told me, it was just a walk. But Sara said that is the type of thing she gets really upset about too. Walks. And I took a few today after I felt like crap from the caffeine, believing that walks were good, were the best thing, that fresh air was and is all that is needed to rouse the spirits. And seeing them walk off together definitly roused the spirits, it was something I was trying to ignore, I tried instead to focus on whatever it was Sam Grindstaff was saying, on his new haircut, but then Beki pointed at the leaving party with an aghast mouth, reminded me of what I was trying not to see. And yeah, down with crushes.

I need to make myself some cards, get a crush on myself, leave them in my box to get the next time I check my mail, so I will smile with delight, need to stop investing energy into fags here, it is always something silly, something stupid. And you're a motherfucking asshole. I'm going to write a song about you. Forget the dream of horses. All is full of rage.

Sunday, December 1, 2002


I am tired, but that is a good thing. This is not the lazy tiredness of usual, but the that was a good day's work tiredness - where I have exhausted myself with the activities of the day and am ready to go to bed, to wake up early tomorrow (eight maybe?) and live another productive day. This is a good feeling, and a feeling that is buoyed by good news, by lucky coincidence.

I woke up this morning at six to catch my eight o' clock flight out of DC, got there and they were overbooked and looking for passengers who would give up their seats. I decided why not?, that I was in no rush to get back to Sarasota and that I could get some travel vouchers out of it. I got $400 in travel vouchers AND got to ride in first class!!! Fucking rock n roll! It was such a good thing, a lucky moment, where I felt that fate was on my side in a major way, that the day was going to go my way, that life was, that everything was going to be this bright, this full of luck.

And yeah, I had to wait around National Airport for two hours, and I had to wait around Atlanta for four hours. But it was totally worth it. In Atlanta, while I was trying to read Anna Karenin, Matt Ramsey came and sat next to me, and started chatting. I had never talked to him in my life, but his company was a decent way to pass the time - his conversation was actually really amusing. We went and got beers to help the four hours pass and I got him to talk about the New College homo scene, which was a really fun conversation in which I found out lots of gossip and exchanged some too. Much more fun than Tolstoy and the sound of Headline News in the background.

I got on the flight, drank a lot more beer since I was in first class and I had to take advantage of the free drinks, had to live it up as they say, and made my way at a couple hundred miles an hour to Florida, to Sarasota, to here, to my house where I am now writing this. Being drunk on a plane is such a funny experience, making the flight fly by. Get it? Flight? Fly? Yeah, scratch that bit of nonsense. I was feeling bold and was seriously considering making my way back to coach and asking Matt to come to the bathroom since he had joked about wanting to join the mile high club. I didn't though, I was too scared since it would look very weird for me to wander all the way back to coach.

When we were waiting for our luggage, I told him about my never executed idea and he thought it was funny. I came home, went to a dinner at the Leeta Lane house where I felt more than a little uncomfortable, finally escaped to come back home and be boring, be domestic, and doodle hearts around pictures of boys I still have crushes on. And now, sleep calls.