Friday, July 25, 2003

total participation excludes self-doubt

And I am home in Virginia. I took the Chinatown bus, got an aisle to myself, looked down into other cars, saw fields, factories, and rivers, got really excited about the rivers especially, passing over bridges, and water underneath, so much of it, empty space, a big shining strip of it. America, America, America - I saw you today, and fuck, so beautiful, so so beautiul. To the right across the aisle, I saw the sunset. I understood the line: "Purple mountain's majesty. The purple and pink of the sky, looking so otherworldy after having spent months in the city, or actually looking so of this world, so worldy, and for that reason, so beautiful.

I ate a Snickers and a bag of Combos on the bus, kept on wishing that they would turn off the A/C, and finished reading Nabakov's Speak, Memory, the last chapter of which can be read alone, and perhaps should be, since the writing is about time and memory, a topic which would already give the writing weight, but Nabakov sets off the "veral pyrotechnics" (a phrase Dimino once said about Faulkner) and says some sentences that will either awe you or make you jealous, depending on your confidence in your on writing.

I took the Metro from the bus to my neighborhood, and looking at the Metro map trying to figure out how to get home, I realized that we deal with what we are given. That, today, this Metro map which never seemed so easy and so tiny, looked like a map of a pretend city. The New York subway map has about eight million stops on it, and you have to run your finger along the map on the platforms to help with the sense of where exactly you are or are going, trace it with your finger, let the sense of touch try to help, make it seem more there, that you can touch it. But the Metro, this evening, looked as if it had maybe ten stops when I was looking at the map. And I have never noticed its puniness, have always thought it adequate, more so - but now, I know something else, I have even become accustomed to it, and I am not sure. The streets are emptier here, there was one other person on my Metro car.

I came home, so happy to see my mom and sister, and went off into a tirade about Bush's deception about Iraq, provoked by what, now I am not sure, and my sister told me that living in "the city" (that's what she called it, that's what lots of people call it, the city), that living in the city was making me neurotic, that I needed to spend time in the country, but it's not the city, shit, it is Bush, it is being lied to, it is our collective complacency, our unacted upon discontent that makes me neurotic. When the whole Niger lie first dropped, I was sick for days with a sore throat, and I was a little convinced that my personal sickness was a more localized version of a national sickness setting in, a "malaise" if we want to reapply Carter's term of a post-Watergate nation for whatever this one will be. And it really does make my blood boil, such things. Someone needs a good shaking. Democratic leaders in Congress, for one, who are failing to exercise leadership on this issue. Conservatives, for all I disagree with them, exercise leadership when they feel wronged, when they want to take someone down, and they do it fearlessly. And shockingly enough, Fox News, from my watching of the cable news networks tonight is being the toughest on Bush about this, cranking up the heat.

All of this makes me seriously mad. That's an expression that people use, and so you may think that I am doing the same, but my appreciation for this country and its institutions of government is a heartfelt, sincere one - and reconciling that with a willful deception by these instituitions really is the source of a deep pang whenever I walk by a newstand.

I am here in Virgina tonight, and I will sleep in my old bed, here in one of these fifty states, and I passed through a few today, and Saturday, I am going back to New York, driving there with my Mom. Last night in Brooklyn with Rebecca, I saw Traci and the Plastics, which moved me by its excellence and really inspired me to, if not create art, then to at least live more artfully. One of her personas in the video show, read some poem/song, one line in which was: "Total participation excludes self-doubt."

And that is my current motto: Total participation excludes self-doubt.

With that knowledge, I totatlly participated in the dancing festivities that followed at Luxx, I danced and danced and danced, and my heart beat like a fucking drum, something about velocity in Nabakov today, human's desire for it, his son's particularly. My legs felt like jelly when I got home. And this morning, I went to the Fela Kuti tribute/exhibit at the New Museum which was also inspiring. And then I left New York, left Rebecca, came to our nation's captiol with too much on my mind, and will hopefully leave here with even more on it, because I love it, the thoughts, the living.

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