Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Fucking dayjobs.

Excuse the profanity (dayjobs), but I just got done emailing my boss about a vacation I’m hoping to take in October. He didn’t really see it coming and I didn’t really lay the necessary groundwork, which means that, long story short, I’m seriously thinking about quitting my job.

So, to the admirable dypstick “goofy and horrible,” please allow me to amend a possible third term: and annoying. Life is annoying and I am annoyed with life, sometimes because I don’t get what I want and sometimes because I do get what I want, but always because the getting and wanting are the meat and potatoes of it.

I was thinking last night about your Rimbaud quote, and the way that it promises, or seems to promise, something like an escape hatch from all this. For me, great writing, no matter how “depressing,” always offers escape; but the escape it offers is always strange. It cuts both ways: I escape my life, but I gain my life. How, and in what incredible universe, can this possibly happen?

Let me give you an example: I am deeply, deeply annoyed at the fact that I’ve spent the last four hours emailing my boss, back and forth, getting further and further enmeshed in stupid departmental crap and further and further away from my hypothetical Mexico. I’m so annoyed that I have started thinking to myself: “You are so annoyed.” I’m depressed, too: I hate wasting time, and I hate waste, and though some part of me knows that I have to get acquainted with things falling apart, I am perennially ducking the meeting. I am a sentimentalist, who Joyce quotes as wishing “To do without incurring the immense debtorship of a thing done.”

It's annoying, as I've said; but the strange and unexpected thing about all this is that writing about being stuck makes me free - not literally, but in what feels like an important way. I makes me feel like I've opened the hatch in the back of my head and sat down to smoke my pipe – that’s right: I smoke a pipe when I’m free! I pick my nose and allow myself to wonder about which Star Trek captain is, was, and will be best, until the end of eternity!

I like Goofy and Horrible and allowing yourself (and your writing) to be that way, because I think that somehow, strangely, this freedom creates a phantom you - maybe even phantom yous. It’s like walking around in a cloud of identically-dressed bodyguards, except that at a certain point you look down at your tie and realize that you’ve forgotten whether you're a bodyguard or the bodyguarded. Panic, for a long moment, until you realize that it doesn’t matter: no nation on earth has the technology at this point to tell you and your creation apart. If they get you, the King lives on. If they miss, you are the King. I don’t know what happens if they kill everybody; maybe they become the king, in which case I still feel like I win.

Here's to marginality, escape, sentimentality, irresponsibility. New story has wandered into eerily Sebaldian territory. Meaning, I find myself quoting photographs. But no, unfortunately, he is not goofy (pronounce this last part in a Werner Herzog accent).

Frott on.


laurie capps said...

We are on to you fellows. Who let the surreal dogs out? Manifestos bite big bones. relax don't do it
seth brownies keep it down now voices carry down. rock on yaz. only you
from Capps Carroll Fadden
we're on the west coast drunk can you comeover
do you have underwear

Seth said...

I have no underwear.