Thinking about the reasons why people choose to engage in or disengage from certain types of narrative or archives of their own experience. I mean this both in terms of making records (public or private writings or artworks or artifact collections/collages) and also in terms of setting up mental spaces of a certain character, with specific limits.
I experience long periods of absence from record-keeping due to actual fear of giving permanence to certain feelings, emotions, mental states, experiences; fear of injecting certain thoughts into others’ minds by giving voice to them. (How does this relate to parenthood and the desire to control our children’s perceptions of us before they are even born?)
Changing archives: the strong urge to purge journals of past entries that don’t fit with current ideas/ideals of self, only to discover later that the criteria upon which I was sorting no longer seem to apply — particularly judgments on spiritual vs secular, intellectual vs mundane, art vs artifice.
What qualifies as authentic? What qualifies as well-designed?
. . .
I don’t want to read a novel, or even a published diary (originally written on paper), or correspondence, or philosophical texts — I have a very specific desire to read a particular kind of early-90′s era online journal that very few people are making anymore. I still crave that particular form.
. . .
My belly is so taut (taught). It’s hard to stand from sitting. My back aches. I have been straining so hard to fit my life into some sort of framework in anticipation of this baby, there is no room for anything else. In my mental life, I feel constricted, I want to open out. I want to stick certain pockets of the past back onto me and expand out through them, but I also realize this is incorrect. I shouldn’t be attempting to fit back into old clothing I’ve outgrown, in hopes that wearing it will make me look nice enough to work up the courage necessary to enter the new clothing store. There is no need to reclaim my lost selves. I have not lost them. There is no losing anything that is actually real. The past is not a place to look for myself. The past is not a place at all.
Where has my mind been all this time? The same place, all along. Radical inclusion is radical exclusion. Reject all possible personas — embrace their intersection.
. . .
Persistent problems with the idea of work, why my “work” never seems to be the thing I’m interested in. Some sort of box I create around it, so it becomes insulated from other aspects of my intellectual/perceptual life, when, in order to flourish, it should be constantly infused by them, part of a hydraulic, pulsing, live system.
“Work” is bland immediately — a task to be completed. It is shocking to me when I find myself talking about my “work” at social gatherings and other people have the impression it is exciting, that I find it interesting and alive.
Where *is* the aliveness in my life? The baby is unmistakably living — moving, kicking, growing, changing. Is this also true of me? I must be moving and changing too, even if I can’t always feel it.
. . .
It takes a very concerted effort to live this close to the beach without experiencing the ocean every single day, without really even noticing it for weeks at a time. Stop doing all that work to avoid seeing something so beautiful. Identify the effort you’re making and STOP.