Thursday, April 29, 2010

Journal 29.04.10

I am hair split about how much time during the day is spent in dreaming; the dreams have unprecedented practical implications in the guise of projects and businesses, I insist on devising them and writing them over and over and without hesitation. Yet they are surrogate far-fetched dreams, such as the kind of dreams that one jotted down as a child – becoming a policeman or a fireman, one is persuaded by himself about the obvious reality that one is not accomplishing any such, their only function seems to be warding off the present continuously and permanently. They are made to sound as heroic and tragic projects and always take place in the present tense inside the most obsolete yet absolute future. Precisely because I am so unable to follow through with them I am obliged to change them overtime – basically every day. Sometimes they involve the management of some large company, other times (and most of the times) they are about being a famous professor of something, and less often they also involved heavily humanized causes like being a chaplain, or an advocate for peace or a groundbreaking cultural movement. It is so well known that I am reluctant to grapple with my own situation that I insist on writing these projects over and over as if they had the power to save me from a life situation that seems vindictive – an irrevocable decree of fate, and just the same way I am all too keen on taking upon myself the clichés of bourgeois morality I also appear all too prepared to indulge in this kind of appeasements in which one accepts the fact of the world as they are and reduces his whole existence to a bundle of historical constrains within which one´s life develops forth from. Of course, should that be the case, I could never bother to write about myself and furthermore, to write with the detachment of self criticism. Writing is not only a therapeutic function of intellectual leisure (or intellectualoid) but it also a means to create oneself; to not be appeased and to outreach, to hold within one´s hand some kind of potential to re-create the future and in doing so, rejecting the present as it is, transmogrifying it into a version of the future that decidedly intrudes into the present as if with the sole desire to say no to the past instead of the common philosophical negation of the present. My last project is the least realistic of all but the most serious yet beautiful of all: I would like to run a printing press. This is so radically different from dreams that take place in the permanent slumber and unwillingness of academic halls. As a professor I could certainly become the equivalent of a Hollywood star, leading a life politically and egoistically metaphysical, riddled with concepts and perfunctorily empty of any real activity. I would console myself in passivity with the argument that the perspective of knowledge supersedes the pettiness of worldly entanglements, a well-paid version of asceticism including Sunday worship and humongous fairy tales. I know this to be a total fallacy, but I´ve withheld it many times, shamelessly, and I´ve even advocated for it, as if I were that kind of person who could ever spend the whole day in intellectual pursuits without taking a glance into the world. However, I do remember once I could, and then while living in this tiny apartment that felt more like a cage than a living space, I read in a couple of days two books by Arendt highlighting remarkable passages and then worked through at least half a textbook for Classical Greek. As remarkable as it sounds, I didn´t do it because I enjoyed it but because it kept me from dying. From my window all I could see was the dearth of living objects in a car garage down the building and smell from a far the thick sounds that sprang from the nearby Ocean. Yes, I was only a few minutes away from the Mediterranean and yet I preferred to spend the time reading books – It didn´t cross my mind at all to realize that soon enough I would be thousands of miles away and that perhaps many summers would elapse until I would be lucky enough to see the Ocean again, I am not speaking about the Mediterranean, but any Ocean – other than the sea of sickness and disappointment that family life has so gratuitously offered me until now, this is what you call community, being grossly close to one another as if glued by biology and by poverty as well. I was also very hungry at the time, spent long days without food and under the effect of pills for ADD that I had stolen from a friend as he popped to the loo at a bar where he mercifully had bought me some large beers just around the corner, in one of the most miserable yet interesting places in all of Tel Aviv; I was under the impression that there were many artist studios around there but I can´t be sure, I was never inside one of those buildings except the day when I found myself intimate with somebody inside a car that was on the top of a truck parked in the underground parking of a new building. He had no napkins in the car, this was gruesome. At the apartment I savaged all of Yaron´s foodstuffs while he was in Germany and since the computer was out of order, I just spent my days in the most desperate silence. At first I began by eating the bread and then this loaf of salmon followed by the delicious frozen soups, some of which were pretty old and wouldn´t taste so good, but they were still a delight to my hungry body at the time. One day I was so desperate that at night I leaked into the market that during daytime fill with people and smells, I went there with the sole intention of procuring myself food from the leftovers they might have left. I must say I don´t regret it at all and that such were truly beautiful and human days of my life; I spent whole nights writing until the morning and the starvation caught me so that I had to avoid the noise of the day but sinking into a restless slumber. The first night at the market was very successful: I stocked several large potatoes, loaves of bread and I think some fruits as well and candies that I had to wash carefully in order to wear off the mud on them. I was very happy at the apartment that night: I boiled the potatoes and added on them mayonnaise and I think a can of tuna, the mangos and oranges were delightfully sweet and ripe and I think I also came across some onions that I boiled and added to the potatoes and a small avocado. What a banquet! Virginia Woolf has got it so right in saying that the past is always beautiful once it has expanded into a memory – I definitely recall those days from the perspective of the just now as something very beautiful and inundated with the fragile lust of youth. Even as a writer it is impossible to detach yourself from the present, theoretically even… That´s why the whole enterprise of cultural criticism is infinitely inferior to the wisdom of philosophy and abstractness – pure thought is always timeless and irresponsible, indifferent to its own consequences! Nowadays when I leave the house I think about the very great things that I wrote while sitting by this table at this late hour and I wonder very deep within me whether there shall come a day when I will look back at the façade of the house with the vantage point of pleasure on the accomplishments of a remote past, and as for now it seems quite unlikely on account of all the disdain I harbor, but I also know it is quite possible. Differing much from those shipwrecked days at the Tel Aviv apartment, the now seems a lot more meager: I hardly ever get to spend any time with myself and when I do, it amounts to nothing just because I can´t smoke inside the house, throw a dinner party or just watch naked men over the internet. Back then food was something too pleasurable, especially when I could gather a few coins to buy a kebab and rice with beans from the Sephardic restaurants at the bottom of Eilat Street. Here I don´t have to be concerned about food because the concentration camp discipline takes care of everything: I sleep on a mattress under a stairway without a window into the real world (either I stare into the kitchen from a fat-stained glass or make sure that no one is spying on me through the worn out blinds that separate the pedestrians using the stairway from facing the chaotic positions of my body while I sleep covered only with a duvet that I wore as a child but only cut into one fourth of the original size and unwashed for a good number of years. There is more: The shower can be used only for a certain time before the local police complains about the waste of hot water and then the food rations are actually rationalized the Nazi style: The meat is bought once a week and cut into small cubes for each one of the citizens and assembled into bags labeled for each day of the week into the freezer; the number of bread loaves, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and plantains is also restricted and carefully inspected and overseen by a prosecutor. The curfew is to be observed religiously as no one but the district attorneys hold keys and no alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or guests are allowed into the facilities; not to mention any reference to one´s sexual preference or life, personal difficulties or monetary issues. And in the end the reader is just too unsurprised to find out that he is just reading the account of daily life in a family home.

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