Tuesday, May 21, 4:13 AM
You probably want to know what I'm up to at the moment, how things are here. It's getting colder and wetter in Auckland. It's my favourite time of year because all the leaves and vegetation on the ground leftover from summer are becoming soggy and decomposing and everything smells like earth. Whenever I'm not in New Zealand this is what I miss, at least as much as the beach. The light's hitting sideways now which can be annoying when you're trying to drive somewhere, but it's good when you're making breakfast and it lands on the stainless-steel kitchen counter and percolator.
Things are changing on grand scales, too. I threw my brother a big party for his 30th birthday a few weeks ago, at our parents' house. Around 2 or 3am I was really wasted and walked out onto the deck where everyone was smoking and I looked up into the sky and I felt even drunker, because the stars had shifted. I felt lost in space! In the morning I remembered that's what the sky does, it moves. I guess I'd never been on my parents' deck and looked up in the middle of the night before.
I went out again a few days ago, onto that deck, and I was planning on looking up but this time I looked down. The house is on a steep slope and the deck is perched over the garden. On dark nights the garden is just a big black well, it could be two meters deep or fifty. When I first walked out the moon was behind some clouds but then as I was standing there, looking into the void, the clouds shifted and suddenly the garden emerged from nothing, lit up by this strong cold moonlight. It was so bright all the trees and shrubs and picnic tables and chairs had stark shadows. It looked like a crazy stage set or a diorama. I want to think of this dramatic and beautiful reveal as a gift from the universe to me, but of course the moon and the garden was completely indifferent to my being there.
I'm tutoring this course at Auckland uni at the moment, it merges gender studies, media studies and politics and I'm way out of my depth, I'm not sure if academia makes sense to me without a film or artwork or something to anchor everything. Because it has this gender component the course has attracted a small contingent of not-quite-mens-activists, devil's advocate dudes who argue in their assignments that identity politics signals the end times, or whatever. But I can't dislike them as much as I want to, because at least they're engaged enough to have a position - the majority of the students don't seem to care about politics at all. They repeat the ideas of the lecturer semi-proficiently, but I have the feeling that if the lecturer was subbed out with Jordan Peterson they'd just accept his views without question. It's depressing. The course content is pretty dry but occasionally the lecturer includes beautiful images by accident.
Because of the changing seasons I'm thinking about the future but also the past a lot of course, and the other day Max described a song as "a party for sure, but in the past tense." Do you get what he means? Here's a playlist I made about parties in the past tense, I hope you like it
01/ Cum on Feel the Noize - Quiet Riot
02/ Beautiful - A.G. Cook
03/ An Honest Mistake - The Bravery
04/ The Shit Baby - Omar S
05/ goosebumps - Travis Scott
06/ Show U How - DJ Rashad
07/ Levels - Avicii
08/ All Around the World - Mac Miller
09/ The Rhythm of the Night - Corona
10/ Blame It On Your Love - Charli XCX
11/ You're Just as Confused as I Am - The Mint Chicks
12/ We Can't Stop - Miley Cyrus
13/ She is Beautiful - Andrew W.K.
14/ The Party - Justice
What are you listening to at the moment? Are you well? I'm missing you, I thought I saw you in the supermarket the other day. I'm glad you're gone, but it doesn't make me happy. I hope I get to see you soon.
Tuesday, May 28, 3:53 PM
In her «Note» at the beginning of her book «MetaTouchTown,» poet Morgan Ritter talks about how being a poet and artist is sometimes embarrassing. Some people think that being poetic is a cop-out for making sense or effectively communicating, and that it is woke to not be «cryptic.» But Ritter says that there /s something that outweighs the embarrassment of writing poetry: that within poetry, there are ultimate forms of communications or expressions. Because they veer from the standard, often times they]re dismissed as not useful. But Ritter considers them antidotes to the prevalent systems of profiling that impose standardization upon us.
Ritter /s beginning with this note sets the table invitingly for me, someone who loves art and poetry at its heart, but still manages to despise most. Why? The culture surrounding it, like Morgan said, makes me feel strange. I think there’s a lot to unpack here.
When I was younger, I used to think poetry was simply «too much.» Untethered from structure, it was language in its most gooey and gross. How could I appreciate a glob of glimmering goo when there are other, more subtle things in the world that don /t beg to be paid attention to? Maybe that /s what I hate about most art: that in certain contexts, it begs for an audience. I want an art that is a little bit boring—that blends in with the world. That asks its viewer to complete it rather than being already complete, shouting «Look at me!» A good artwork doesn }t need to loudly announce itself to its audience. It pulls rather than pushes.
Wed, May 29, 4:50 PM
«It /s the queers who made me. Who sat with me in the automobile in the dead of night and measured the content of my character without even looking at my face. Who _ in the same car _ asked me to apply a little strawberry lip balm to my lips before the anxious kiss that was fraught because it would be for an eternity, benday dots making up the hearts and flowers? Who sat on the toilet seat, panties around her ankles, talking and talking, girl talk burrowing through the partially closed bathroom door and, boy, was it something.»
Hilton Als, White Girls pg. 217
Julianne Moore as Havana Segrand in Maps to the Stars, 2014.
Wed, May 29, 4:55 PM
I am convinced that in the 1960 film Pollyanna, with Hayley Mills as the eponymous heroine, a certain crochet dress makes an appearance. This dress, over-dress, or maybe even housecoat, embodies something entirely visceral for me. I can never imagine a body in it, just the structure and form of the fabric, its cream loops and twists as they increase to form a wearable shape. The cream colour is not like cream (the edible kind), but more like the dirty shade of a ball of string carried around in a bag for a while. I’m unsure of the details, and in doubt as to whether this garment ever actually appears, but its melancholic presence seems connected somehow to the girl, Pollyanna.
Louise Bourgeois, Turning Inwards, at Hauser and Wirth Somerset, 2016.
Wed, May 29, 5:09 PM
Two thirds of the way through the 1967 film of Thomas Hardy /s novel Far From the Madding Crowd, the heroine (again) declares her love for a soldier. Or maybe he’s her husband then a soldier. This happens on a beach as waves crash about them so loudly that it becomes impossible for the audience to hear what either of them are saying. It /s all gestural, melodrama on mute as the blue dress and blue waves and blue eyes whip around them. But close up the surroundings melt away, splashes flicking past her teeth, dribbling down her chin, as they fight to make their way past her deep and dark feeling of love that’s not entirely for him. He dies at the end.
Gurnard's Head, Cornwall, 2018.
Friday, May 31, 1:00 AM
12/21 St Neot Ave
The neighbours were so loud, playing queen and singing, moving around. I had gone to bed very early to escape the baggy time into sleep. I focussed so deeply on queen, and on their moving and shuffling to queen, I had to make them stop in order to get back to humanity. I bang the ceiling with the swiffy mop – I think it’s called – and then with some kind of meat mallet used for occasional light tapping in the vegetarian household. I put on my jeans, bra, jumper, socks (no shoes). No shoes is urgent. I was asleep, and you woke me and all I could manage was to put on my jeans and my bra and my jumper and my socks, but only just, and all in a very sleepy way. I went up and pounded on the door, felt good, goodnight queen. Back downstairs, undress, back to bed. And so it continues, pounding outfit back on, still sans shoes and this time without a bra – urgent – back upstairs for one last bang. They did not stop, I went downstairs, undressed, and put on noise cancelling headphones. Naked on my back for three hours wearing headphones thinking about Freddie Mercury, and about how if only all of my singing, moving and shuffling friends would come over to bang on the ceiling with the vegetarian meat mallet, I would feel much better.
Friday, May 31, 2:02 AM
I've been thinking a lot about how to explain myself to you. Since we haven't met, you only have my words to go on. It makes me wonder how any of us get to know each other really. I can try to paint a picture through my habits, the things I consume, the pictures I take. I think my life is unconventional but also very routine. Most of it is spent sitting in front of my computer like I am right now. I work in what I consider to be a beautiful room in New York's Chinatown. I share the space with one of my best friends, but he is in and out. Today he was in and now he is out. I spend a lot of time alone. My office is located down a long hallway behind a dentist and a doctor's office. The doctor passed away last summer and his space is untouched since then. The hallway is painted green many times over. It's dimly lit and there's a big sign that says "X-RAY". I guess our space used to be Dr. Moy's x-ray room. Now we've had it repainted. The walls are clean bright white and the floor is putty gray. The ceilings are so tall. We're on the corner so two of the walls are all windows. We get great light, except today is gray and it's going to storm later. It's making me feel pretty sad to be honest. So that's where I am.
For my work, the easiest description I can give is "graphic designer" although I don't like to associate myself with that crowd. I'm also a programmer sometimes but not a very advanced one so I don't fit in with that world either. Maybe it's better to describe my current projects. I've just today been given a quick gig to do a print ad for a publisher I do work for. It will run in an Argentine architecture magazine and is due in 5 days. I'm also making a website for a piece of writing by a friend. She's created a conspiracy theory around Charlize Theron's J'Adore Dior perfume campaign and needs an outlet for it. The third project is to start branding and materials for a new DJ/party series beginning this September. This is the first time I've gotten to do the promotion for an event at a bigger New York club so I'm excited to go in. I guess the last thing I'm working on is launching my t-shirt company: Junior Company. I was invited to participate in a pop-up shop at the end of June so I'm producing two tees to sell. There are other things happening but this seems like plenty to paint a picture.
The rain just started, I feel like I'm in a fishbowl.
It's funny, I have a generous amount of freedom working for myself, but still my weeks are usually all the same. I have a dog, Amelia, she's small. We live on the 3rd/top floor of a small apartment building with 2 other roommates. I walk her twice a day, once before I go to work and once when I come home. In a lot of ways she provides structure to my life, framing my day, the walk is always the same. Sometimes I'll call my family while I walk, but most times I'm just quiet. My office hours are monday to friday 12-8pm. I don't like waking up early and I don't like commute hour crowds on the subway. I still work a full day it's just shifted later than most people. I go to the same cafe every morning. I get a coffee and a blueberry muffin. I know it's a waste of money but it's my thing, I can't stop. The people who work there know me but we don't acknowledge it. A lot of times I'm the only person who knows where I am, but I'm always chatting. It can feel like I live inside other peoples phones.
On weekends I go to a club or a rave with friends. My hobby is dancing and listening. I love fast techno but also house music or any interesting sounds really. If I don't like the look of the parties happening I stay home and watch a movie. I like to walk around my neighborhood the next day and no one knows what I've been up to. Secret raver. I've heard it described as a group dream. When the party is really good it does feel that way. I don't take a lot of videos inside, but I can track the parties I've been to each month by reviewing my health app, the steps counter. I can see who made me dance the most and when. I usually stay out til the morning so on sundays I chill. Treat myself to breakfast and take Amelia to the dog park. I also bought rollerblades yesterday. I guess I have a new hobby now haha. I'll go for a ride with some people on sunday if the weather is nice.
I wonder what your picture of me is now knowing some more facts. I wish I could transfer my brain over so you could see for yourself, but this description of my life is the best I can do. I think it's interesting, barely knowing what you look like or sound like. Words are the closest we can get to unmediated thoughts maybe. We have a thoughts-only connection?
The rain seems to have let up slightly so I'm going to go home before it gets bad again. Plus it's 8:00pm - time to clock out!
Friday, May 31, 6:06 AM
Friday, June 17, 18:35 PM
I’m trying to think that this would be read at least, by a very close friend. I am timid about sharing the things I think about. I am timid about sharing them here through writing and to reveal what they reflect about me—my shallow thoughts, my pessimism or it all just being boring. If it is, then a close friend wouldn’t be too bothered. These mundanes might at least, be regarded as familiarities and maybe they will find some kind of amusement in that.
Today, I read a passage from an essay by a Korean writer. I discovered his book at my mom’s (Throughout most of my early education, I have been acquainted with American English. After studying in England, my usage of English had shifted to the British way, mostly from an my own intentional trigger. But somehow the word “mum” never feels natural, both written and verbal. It doesn’t evoke the same genuineness of “mom”. It doesn’t deliver the same heaviness of it.) small collection. (She doesn’t read books, though she tries; many books are purchased and left unread after a chapter or two.)(I have a feeling that in this short paragraph, I will be diverging into 5 different topics… I will try to stay on the one I started off with.) With my limited ability, I will try to translate it. So please do keep in mind that the translation makes it more cheesy and less poetically(?)(Actually, I occasionally do feel a bit cringed by some of his writings) striking as the original:
We cannot grasp a moment in our hands. A moment that draws near will come across as unfamiliar and strange to us as no other moment is given to us than the one we are in now. Though the past moments that are accumulated in me are the sum of me, the moments of the past that went past me could only be said to have been a portion of me.
So the practical sense of love only exists at the present. Love animates itself between ‘now’ and the very next moment, in that small gap between the two. Love in the past is absent and love in the future has not come. The love that I feel now, shouldn’t be spoken recklessly, in past or future terms. I will love you forever. I will be good to you from now on. Promises and vows don’t speak the same language of love but of self determination and soliloquy. The past and the future of love can be spoken through absolute trust towards one another. How you are loving now at the moment and how you will love at the very next moment—to have that self assurance is an attitude towards love we mustn’t forget.
The reason why this text came across so strongly to me was because somehow, it gave me another insight to what you told me about, “I am loving you” instead of “I love you”. “I am loving you” made so much sense to me but I couldn’t really grasp why that subtle change in a word did so. Not that this text cleared everything, but it I think it helped me get closer to why it made sense to me… Time is always passing us, ahead of us. The feeling of love is always so vividly struck in “moments”. Meanwhile we tend to speak in languages that try to capture it, confine it, stretch it.
3. It was drizzling tonight. I could feel the rain drops hitting my face, small enough to soon dry out. It’s always a bit easier at the end of the days, at nights, before heading home, to make that firm decision to cycle in the rain (considering the cruel consequence of getting soaked).
I like to feel wet—my short hair, when it sticks on my forehead, feels pleasant. Or when I’m able to feel each rain drops; when they slide down the strands of my hair—tips are nicely shaped—sharp but soft, holding all that soft water—as they drop and tickle my cheeks. And when I feel as if my eyelashes were heavier, seeing those white flakes resting on them. I like to take selfies as soon as I arrive home, or oddly, I decide to after witnessing my poor(?) state under that brilliant white light, reflected in the mirror of the lift.
It reminds me of a passage from Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. “Eventually I confess to a friend some details about my weeping—its intensity, its frequency. She says (kindly) that she thinks we sometimes weep in front of a mirror not to inflame self-pity, but because we want to feel witnessed in our despair. (Can a reflection be a witness? Can one pass oneself the sponge wet with vinegar from a reed?)”
4/5. I am sitting at T’s tea bar, drinking Silk Stockings tea. It’s very sweet and milky. They took it out of the menu but whenever I ask for it, they’d make it for me. It’s a bit pricey (Starbucks pricey) but worth at least a try if you like something sweet. I dare say it tastes a bit like Taiwanese milk tea. I’m in this area too often because of work. I’m spending too much money on an over-priced milk tea. Or the coffee at White Label Coffee. I had a tiny, short crush on a girl who works there. Crushes happen too fast; by a slight chance I delude myself then in a slight hope of possibility I flatter myself.
6. I’ve been thinking about or more like creeped up by an apprehension, recently. These days, it has been following the gratification I feel from an affection, or importance (I don’t know what name to give it) I have towards someone. I think back to that confidence I had at the start—when it was only a start. I was pleased to put myself in that new position, in prospect of what was forming between us that was, so naturally, in small steps but quickly permeating into each others’ days, minds, and imaginations. And in that, I saw a lot of hope for the better—the “happier”—stupidly, disregarding all that ugly feelings I’d have sooner or later. Things were still fragile but had no power to take anything away from me. Now I dread this affection—of it fading away, mine being left alone when I’m still stuck in this stubborn notion that the form of our affection has to look the same and that it has to be reciprocal—my affection is too vulnerable, worried and needy. I dread that in this reality, even a fair amount of reciprocal will not be enough to keep us smiling at each other. That it will break. Tears and blames. Fear of it happening—that “happiness”—or whatever this intensity that is so overwhelming will soon be out of my reach or will not permitted. Some day, one day, in a month or two possibly. Stupid confidence never comes when I desperately need it.
6.2. During the time I cleaned my bathroom for a little over two hours, I thought about us. As I scrubbed the walls of the shower crouched naked under the running water, I was easily drenched in that stupid melancholia again. Tomorrow being the last day before I left town, before we could be together facing each other eye to eye again, I easily succeeded in shoving myself into radical decisions on that maddening contemplation I have been having about us. When I purely thought about what you would want, I became colder, bolder to a decision that would kill me. When I thought about what I wanted, I found reasons to drag this along.
7. I would like to go to Venice. Have you been there before? Would you like to go to the Biennale this summer? I keep having that image of myself under a parasol with sunglasses (I don’t even wear my sunglasses that often) having pizza. I think I should go to Italy soon. I want to go to Poland. I want to visit China; Beijing or Shanghai. But I want to be somewhere cheap. Then it’s definitely not where I’m imagining in my head right now but I do miss swimming in Zürich.
8. There’s a book I came across that I must read very soon. Flash Eileen Myles… (I was quite sure it was flash something but then after a quick search it turns out to be Afterglow by Eileen Myles.)
17. I got a new phone today and it’s probably the 10th one in my life. In the few recent years, I have lost a phone each year. On every occasion to come to Korea in the summer, I obtained a new one. Most of the times my mum would have a spare that would spare me with a lot of money. My last iPhone was the one she gave up on, to replace it with a Samsung Galaxy, which was “much easier to use” according to her. One of the screenshots I took today with this new phone is a conversation between me and my friend Goya, who is graduating this year. I ask her, “Are you hustling like your dick’s about to fall off?” “It’s already fallen off.” “I never had it, but it’s definitely fallen off.”
The other day, the night before my flight to Korea, we are at an Ethiopian restaurant. Two of us Koreans are on about a saying in Korean, “Digging until your dick falls off”, meaning that you are going through long duration of worthless efforts. (As for my friend, it means “constantly doing stupid things.”) I guess though, both of us were amused by the English translation that(at least for me) did sound a little more harsh than what we were used to—hearing and using in Korean. We break into huge laughters until we hear the guy at the next table turn—with his half apprehensive, half curious look in his face—say, “Wait, what are you guys talking about?” I guess it wasn’t so funny for them, as one of the other’s face had a clear shadow on his face. But I had to admit that I was holding my laugh even after he said, “No, no… That’s not so funny. I don’t wanna laugh that hard.”