Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Words Against the Darkness - a visit from an Al of Yore

Welcome to post 500 on Alienated in Vancouver (noise of party favours blaring in the background, over loud group cheers and the thump of distant music).

...so I was digging through a box of old writings today. Damn, there's everything in it, jumbled with little regard for when it was composed. There's a letter of reference from a 7-11 I worked at in 1989. Spelling workbooks from kindergarten. A comic strip in which I illustrated my attempts to quit smoking. Some doodles I did on acid in my mid-20's - not many of those have survived! Pages from magazines I saved. And lots of handwritten and typewritten scribble, from the days when I was a confused young man, deeply introverted and scared, romanticizing a self-indulgent, protracted suburban adolescence by writing about it, hoping to make it seem more important than it really was. Whatta loser I was! And how fond I now feel of said loser, on contemplation.

I cannot but give you a sample. The following rant was found, typewritten and undated, on a sheet of lined and holepunched notebook paper, presented, as below, in one big block, which I have considerately broken in two. Based on surrounding strata, I would guess, if forced, to place it around age 25 - circa 1995, when (I am not particularly embarrassed now to admit) I was still a virgin, probably unemployed, a drop out from school, and quite possibly given to occasional drug use. That's just the kinda guy I was.

Note: for the most part, the ellipses are in the original, and though they are sometimes awkward, I have preserved them (I must have been reading Celine or something). I have occasionally repaired the grammar.

Words Against the Darkness

The danger of art, as told by a man who has sought all his life redemption through it, is that it cultivates capacities for meaning not necessarily fulfillable in the realm of the actual; as long as the desires for communication that it awakens can further be sated by art, that isn’t necessarily a problem, and life would certainly be INTOLERABLE without recourse to the realm of the aesthetic... but should one arrive at a place where one desires to live in real worlds... REAL worlds, so to speak, with real people in them – the fabled land of unmediated experience... the knowledge of the POTENTIAL of human communication can only act to sabotage those interactions which, by and large, fall short of said potential... isolating one from those one would most desire to contact and making all others seem impossible freaks, mediocrities. Safely placed, at the all-important critical distance (necessary to aesthetic contemplation), one paces in dissatisfaction, desiring the Grail or at least a sip of the blood, and granted, as the reward for vision, endless welfare mothers pushing babies in carts to the mouth of Moloch; drunken crude and insecure men thrusting their phalluses out further than their beerbellies; the endless neon buzz of the vacuous, all-pervasive marketplace; and legions of pain and fear that serve no transcendental purpose, NEEDLESS pain and fear that teaches the sufferers nothing, save perhaps that the world is not a safe place for desire...

...such that those who desire no less are branded as freaks and outcasts, staggering stoned along the pavement, masturbating in the men’s room of suburban shopping malls, or, trapped like rats in cages, pacing the too-secure walls of the art-womb, built to insulate us against outer dark and now turned into a prison from which, to all appearances, there is no escape – raging in impotent fury against the abyss, which, now that it has descended, seems like to never leave... which, when one comes to recognize it, in the space between the dead dream homes of murdered businessmen and their subservient suburban wives, in the frightened eyes of those who perpetually hide from themselves, in the spaces inside where one can yet remember once being alive, now filled with nicotine or grass or just a swirling vacuum, those black spaces, those emptinesses which, when they are recognized for what they are, when one looks into the true face of this death, are suddenly seeable everywhere, surrounding us now in our desperation, sliding between the hungry eyes of lovers, threatening even now to pull them apart from each other and then to rend what’s left, demanding some act of defiance which one may no longer have strength for, pacing the empty streets at night praying for a moment’s respite, even to be delivered finally of desire so that one might rest. It is death. The world is dead, the human world, and only we freaks and outcasts retain our humanity, a flame carried through dark times, forever and amen, the blackest of times in which we burn now, brighter for the darkness around us, but so alone, so afraid, so far apart.


(So dramatic, so angst-ridden, so intense, so YOUNG! "Raging in impotent fury against the abyss!" ...tho' hey, that line about Moloch is kinda inspired; for awhile, I had the words "Moloch in whom I sat lonely," from Howl, typed out and tacked to my bedroom wall, back in Maple fuckin' Ridge). I have about six more boxes of such stuff to weed through, with no guarantee that I'll find what I'm looking for, and no doubt that I'll fail to be entertained when I deign to read what I've written. There is MUCH, MUCH more where that came from, folks; I'll be wincing and smiling and straining to remember: good God almighty, was that really ME?

Damn, it WAS.

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