in half an hour it’s going to be the last day of july; which means in twenty-four hours and thirty minutes it’s going to be august; which means in twenty-four hours and thirty minutes and twenty-four days, I'm going to be 4000 miles from here. again.
time passes in strange ways and weird directions. in many ways this summer feels like one long extended rainy day; eyes staring out the bus window and tyler the creator in my headphones. blurry mind and the feeling of always having something I want to say, or write, or express, but it never taking the shape I want it to, instead staying an uncolored space, retreating into an untouchable void, its outline an unfamiliar abstract idea. I can't grasp it yet. it's not ready. not ripe. can't catch nor harvest. instead helplessly trying to find lost words, lost thoughts, lost time. gray haze. thick fog. my own little void. it provides me a quiet voice and soft-spoken questions and pursed lips and eyebrow crease and indifference and an unwillingness to say anything. familiar and comfortable yet every other place is a place I'd rather be. stuck in my own head. too much, too often. a nostalgic silence. I wonder why that is, and I wonder what that is. I guess only time can tell.
everything is moving slowly, yet days are passing by quicker than ever. I've written about it before and I'm writing about it again. it seems to be the only thing I ever write about because right now it's the only thing I can relate to, much like how all my posts pre-summer seemed to be relating to the inevitability of us leaving UWC. I read. I think. I climb. and I read some more. it feels like I’m living in slow-motion; life hasn’t been like this at all for the past two years. it’s always been hectic and intense and incredibly dynamic, and for the first time in what feels like eternity, life has retired itself to routine; habit; ritual. life has become an instruction tape playing on repeat, stating the steps of each day with great care and careful description; so nothing can be interpreted wrongly, so everything goes according to plan. so that every day looks the same, because after all, the instructions made me survive yesterday so that must mean I'll survive today, too.
"somerset maugham once wrote that in each shave lies a philosophy. i couldn't agree more. no matter how mundane some action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act. / if you don't keep repeating a mantra of some sort to yourself, you'll never survive."
it's now 00:05 which means it's the last day of july. which means in twenty three hours and fifty-five minutes it's going to be august. which means that in twenty-three hours and fifty-five minutes and twenty-four days, i'll be 4000 miles away. again.
#2: such is life (sometimes when I think about life, I feel like a piece of driftwood washed up on shore)
during the last months of school, andrew, selina, and I had countless discussions about emotion and the human condition; as two distinct phenomena but in (according to andrew, unfortunate) inevitable relation to each other. and selina and I would argue all for emotion, because what else makes us human, really?
what is more beautiful than unrequited love? the act of loving so painful and powerful that it seems to overshadow everything else, fetal position in wrinkled bed sheets and never ever wanting to face the day. and what is more beautiful than requited love? the infatuation of a new-found lover and the lingering warmth of bodies, legs tangled in the golden daze of missed morning classes. what is more beautiful than feeling someone else's pain? soundlessly sharing their sulking, pursed lips and hand on shoulder, the one look that means "it's going to be okay" that only you and them know about. the understanding eyes and the looking down into the floor, as if to say "I wish I could take away your pain and even though I can't feel it completely, I'll help you carry it". what is more beautiful than the small acts of kindness? the nods of strangers, bus drivers that greet one with a smile, finding secret messages in hidden places, the big eyes of small children, curious about everything and everyone in the world. and what is more beautiful than the common humanity? about not having to say a thing; yet silence not threatening because although lost for words, something else is being shared. the horrifying reality of being alive in this world, perhaps.
we would talk endlessly about the dynamics that emotion provide; about how amazing it feels to be alive. about how great it is to cry when you need to cry, like how crying used to overshadow the fact that you dropped your ice cream; pain taking the shape of salty tears running down your cheeks to be swept away by the familiar hands of a nurturing mother. like how crying now overweighs the pain of anxious thoughts; a mind focused on the uncertain future; tear soaked cheeks consoled by a caring lover, fingers brushing through your hair, a chuckle and "you taste like salt". four words and lips taking the shape of a smile. ;
about how great it is to laugh when you need to laugh, and how laughter spreads like rapid wildfire, like how I would smile whenever I heard hugh's laughter through my open window, or not being able to last a single second in the not-laughing-game, staring into the eyes of an old friend, trying to keep the bubbly feeling of laughter down like trying to calm down the excitement of a child standing in line, and then bursting into a big and irresistible "HAHAHA". things like that. and then we'd smile at each other, satisfied at our attempts of expressing vitality of dynamism.
and andrew would shrug at our ideas, his shoulders up and down as a small sign of doubt, of impatience. like we were too young still, to truly understand. yes, emotion is beautiful-- he got that too. but for him, emotion and persona were completely different. for him, feelings existed as a separate reality, a different entity; a separation of mind and body, perhaps. one where he could distance himself from everything that he felt to focus completely on a set task. and he would shake his head as to shut us down, as if we weren't yet ready to truly listen. and he would say that emotions get in the way. that you have to separate them from who you are: from your character, and that you can't let them define you. and he would tell me that he thought that was a problem for me. that I let feelings get in the way so much that they made me perform worse. he didn't have to exchange a word with me but could catch a glimpse of me on the climbing wall and deduce from a six second climb how I was feeling that day. "it could cause troubles for you in the future" he told me. "you get stuck in your own head too much".
and we shrugged at andrew too, rolling our eyes teasingly to each other behind his back as we would walk down the dwan light trail, the late afternoon sun peeking through through the tall pine tree shadows. we too, condemned- but not the inability to understand, rather the one of listening carefully.
four months later I have dwelled in self-help books and headspace meditation, watched countless "the school of life"-videos, seen every alex honnold documentary there is on youtube, and finished all murakami's published works. and now I'm starting to think that andrew was right from the beginning. I always knew there was something in what he was saying, but I refused to live his way of life. "you're taking the beauty out of living; out of feeling everything so vividly and experiencing life so profoundly", I would say. maybe I'm doing the opposite living the way I am. I just don't know another reality.
the word of the day on dictionary.com is ANOESIS (noun): a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content. I think it ties into this nice murakami quote that states his/andrew's ideas pretty well in "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running":
"I run in order to acquire a void. [...] The thoughts that occur to me while I'm running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky was always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky. The sky both exists and doesn’t exist. It has substance and at the same time doesn’t, and we merely accept that vast expanse and drink it in."
and such is life.
(that's another thing andrew used to say all the time. whenever something happened or something bothered me, he would give me a disappointed look for letting my feelings get in the way, and he would say "you really need to cheer yourself up" or something like that. it was never as blunt-- I think andrew knew better than that-- but I think that's pretty much what he meant. like "hey, you're letting your feelings get in the way again. stop doing that". and then he would say: "such is life". as a reminder. this summer has been a very such is life-summer. I don't know if that's good or bad. I'd like to think that's good. at least I know andrew would be proud).
#3: phone notes (july 23 - july 31)
July 24, 2017 at 11:43: "can I get a kiss? and can you make it last forever?"
July 25, 2017 at 10:30: "no one knows how wretched I felt, how deep the abyss. / I wish there was a machine that could accurately measure sadness, and display it in numbers that you could record. And it would be great if that machine could fit in the palm of your hand. I think of this every time I measure the air in my tires."
July 25, 2017 at 10:42: "you are a pastel-colored persian carpet, and loneliness is a bordeaux wine stain that won't come out."
July 26, 2017 at 18:57: "AFTER DARK
unremarkable but adequate / anonymous and interchangable
people with places to go and people with no place to go; people with purpose and people with no purpose; people trying to hold time back and people trying to urge it forward.
total surrender of consciousness
a soft, enigmatic darkness
walk slowly; drink lots of water. / you just have to live one day at a time.
a new silence comes to overlay the silence that is already there
an emotional punctuation mark.
people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn't matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. they're all just fuel."
July 28, 2017 at 21:18: a sugar-soaked sentiment for sceptics / start to giggle as the ridicule reflects this / you just feel a little lonely needing someone to press your forehead against chest (+44 - loyle carner)
July 30, 2017 at 16:04: "WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
a veritable paradise
a writer has a quiet, inner motivation, and doesn't seek validation in the outwardly visible.
emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent.
i quietly absorb the things i'm able to, releasing them later, and in as changed form as possible, as part of the story line in a novel.
life is basically unfair. but even in a situation that's unfair, i think it's possible to seek out a kind of fairness-
no matter how much experience i have under my belt, no matter how old i get, it's all just a repeat of what came before (i swear murakami and andrew are like the same person)
when people pass away, do their thoughts just vanish?
their hearts, lost in thought, slowly tick away time.
just because there's an end doesn't mean existence has meaning. an end point is simply set up as a temporary marker, or perhaps an indirect metaphor for the fleeting nature of existence.
being eighteen until you die means you die when you're eighteen.
a vague, faintly colored mist over a late-spring peak"
July 31, 2017 at 10:23: "FOUCAULT
är sunt förnuft baserat på historia? -> nutidshistoria
Sanningen existerar med andra ord aldrig utanför makten (Truth never exists outside of power).
Att bli den vi blir är på samma gång att skapa oss själva på ett visst sätt. (To become who we are is at the same time creating yourself in a certain way).
Makt existerar endast som utövad makt. (Power only exists as exerted power).
Makt måste analyseras som någonting som cirkulerar, eller som någonting som bara fungerar i form av en kedja. Den finns aldrig här eller där, aldrig i någons ägo. (Power has to be analysed as something that circulates, or something that only works in a chain-like manner. It never exists here or there, and never in anyone's possession).
Makten utövas utifrån en strategisk position. Det är då viktigt att betona att det är själva positionen som studeras och analyseras, inte de subjekt som innehar den. / Maktrelationerna är på samma gång målinriktade och icke-subjektiva (Power is used from a strategic position. It then gets important to highlight that it's the position that should be studied and analysed, not the subject that has it. / Power relations are at the same time goal oriented and non- subjective)."
July 31, 2017 at 16:09: "A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING
in search of lost time
zuibun nagaku ikasarwte itadaite orumasu ne / i have been caused to live by the deep conditions of the universe to which i am humbly and deeply grateful
if you waste time is it lost forever? and if time is lost forever, what does that mean?
i never think anyone gives a shit. / is that sad? i don't think that's sad.
the way you write ronin is with the character for wave and the character for person, which is pretty much how i feel, like a little wave person floating around on the stormy sea of life"
July 31, 2017 at 23:38:
"life is suffering-- and yet."
#4: past days (unremarkable but adequate)
something changed the flow within me. it sounds like I'm talking in terms of some murakami novel right now (I did finish four of his works this month so I guess I'm inevitably under the influence), but something did. something made everything "OK", and that something that has changed within me has suddenly accepted the notion of distance. I wonder why that is; what happened. maybe it's because I've learned that I get by pretty well by myself; so well that I'm naturally becoming accustomed to solitude. during one of my first conversations with elliott he asked me how long I can be alone. like really alone. I hesitantly answered "a week, maybe?" to which he said "woaah. I think I could go two days, maybe". two months later and I wouldn't be hesitant anymore. almost longing for that sensation of complete independency. "we [something] alone, we die alone. everything else is just a distraction." (or something like that). (that's a crappy teenage quote from a crappy teenage film (the art of getting by). mikael gave it to me for my 14th birthday or something.)
anyway. something in my being came to simply accept that this is how life works; this is how love works. sometimes. "such is life."
one night i spend with klanen. or half of it. we sit in sara’s garden sipping wine and listening to music; talking about life and everything that used to be. I come to realize I share so many memories with these people. I guess it’s inevitable when you’ve been friends for so long (seven years). I laugh more than I’ve laughed in a while and I think about always finding laughter in friends rather than in anyone else. maybe that’s why I’m so bad at telling stories— or telling jokes. I just never really learned how. and maybe that’s why I take every opportunity there is to burst into laughter. and maybe that’s why people always ask me: ”why are you always laughing at me?”. they should know I’m not laughing at them, I'm just taking the opportunity to widen my smile and let my laughter escape my throat while I can, because at home, my lips are pursed. it’s sad, because I’m a pretty smile-y person otherwise. I smile a lot. I just never really smile at home. I wonder why that is.
anyway. klanen. it’s a weird discrepancy nowadays. having been away for two years, hanging out with them is just not… the same. or, it is. it’s always the same; the same as it’s always been, but at the same time, things are different. I can sense it in the air. it’s not different for me, but it’s different for them: that’s how it feels. the way I remember them is completely different from how they see themselves. or at least so I would imagine. they’ve grown accustomed to a life without me whereas they are always going to be backs to lean on, for me. for me, they'll be the friends that I know I'll cherish forever. that I know (and hope) will always be there. that will always bring laughter and old memories and good conversations. I hope they feel the same about me, but if they don't, I guess that that is what life is and that is how life works. "such is life", once again.
mihir gets here in seven days. I’m excited but also scared to see him. I’m nervous about how our friendship will adapt to being home (because it is like a separate reality), much like how I was nervous about having carlie here, and much like how I was nervous about simen coming for a day. and sam visiting last year. back home I’m just a different person: one filled with reticence and very keen about my personal space. maybe because that’s the life I’ve always known here. I’m sure that I would get thrown into my easygoing bubbly character if I got back to uwc though. no doubt. maybe I just adjust to my environment; like a chameleon hiding in its surroundings, a wallflower carefully observing its competitors; and then blending into the scenery. acting in accordance. not necessarily conforming to the norm, but finding a way of living appropriate to the scene. like how at home it seems appropriate to be more reserved and spend time alone, and at school it seemed appropriate to throw myself on lázaro’s bed, scream in the cafeteria, and cry in class. how strange one’s being is, because then, WHO REALLY AM I? if i keep changing.
#5: ok ok ok ok ok ok oh (chirp chirp)
on the first day of every month, I create a new playlist. and on the last day of every month, I type a description.
for the description of my july playlist, I write: "london heat and orange juice park dwellings; warmth in my heart and toxins in my blood. / raindrops tracing lines down the windowpane and eyes staring out the bus window. mornings spent reading and afternoons spent in the climbing gym".
song of the month: see you again - tyler the creator.
#6: on murakami
I finished my last murakami a couple of days ago. doesn't seem like a big deal, except for me it seems like (a hard-boiled wonderland and) the end of the world (HAHA!!!!!!!!). and what now???
"the murakami curse" they call it. "feeling v emtpy !" I write in an instagram post. how else do I convey exactly what I'm feeling to an audience that doesn't understand? which proves itself to be exactly right, as lázaro writes: "Murakami is so mainstream". ignorant fucker. how do I consider him my best friend? "i really don't know what your point is here." I reply.
I don't even know where to start. everyone who knows me knows I love murakami, almost always having one of his works within arms reach wherever I go. whenever I enter a book store I go straight to their fiction section and scout out their M writers looking for older versions of his novels (the old vintage covers are so pretty. I like the concept of the new ones but I really dislike their looks -- and so, naturally, I now collect his old vintage cover paperbacks. which is hard, because I've managed to pick up quite a few Murakami's here and there. and so they never really match. and it wasn't until last year I decided that the old vintage covers were the prettiest ones). whatever. I know he's problematic. I know he never gives much attention to women outside of them being sexual objects or occupying man's mind. I know, I know. I know his protagonists are almost always middle-aged (30-ish) Japanese men, lost in life. yes, it's sad. no, it never gets tiring. don't ask me how. I wish I knew.
it all started on september 19, 2012. or at least then I posted a picture of "kafka on the shore" on my instagram along with the caption: "taking a break from work and homework". haha. when I thought slaving it away as a mail distributor was work and when I thought having an 8th grade math test was crucial to my character. oh how I miss being fourteen. september 19 2012. that's almost five years ago. it took me five years to get through all his published works. I guess that's a pretty long time. although let me add, in those five years I barely read anything else. trust me, I tried. but I never found anything as captivating as murakami; never found the same magic as I do in cats and dead authors and deep wells and fish raining from the sky. and so I've always retreated to his works, their spines now like old friends watching over me from the shelf above my desk, re-reading works again and again, trying to puzzle the pieces together, link the stories. separate universes, parallel existences. in five years I've managed to re-read:
kafka on the shore x3 (once in swedish, twice in english)
norwegian wood x2 (once in swedish, once in english)
sputnik sweetheart x2 (swe, eng)
south of the border, west of the sun x3
the wind-up bird chronicle x2 (swe, eng)
the elephant vanishes x2
I'm not exactly sure what i'm trying to say here. maybe I'm trying to write about essence, rather than the truth. or maybe I'm just trying to humble brag about how much I adore his work. next time I re-read I think I'll re-read them all in order.
also I've been wanting to type up a long essay on how his works link together for a very long time now. before I left for the US I was going to do my extended essay on murakami (except then I realized I couldn't). there are so many links and concepts that float through all his work; like the wells, for example. norwegian wood. wind-up. kafka(?). pinball. some of his short stories. even in his 'memoir' (what i talk about...), he writes about wells. bringing characters back -- like how ushikawa (from wind-up) makes a reappearance in 1Q84. note also that wind-up (at least parts of it) is played out in 1984. sppooooookY!!!!!!!!!! I have this weird theory about kumiko's brother being the cult leader in 1Q84 but I have a hard time re-calling 1Q84 -- it's been four years since I read it. also the man in the TV in after dark? someone tell me that's not kumiko's brother, too?!!!
sorry. now I'm partly freaking myself out (I find all of this so fucking creepy, even though it's fiction. truth be told, I can't read murakami as soon as it gets dark and I'm by myself because I freak myself out and start thinking I'm in a separate reality or something. when I read/finished 1Q84 I was so scared every time the moon was out because I thought I'd suddenly start seeing a little green moon next to it. now I'm freaking myself out again.
also, this is so different from the rest of this blog post that I'll just stop now. I get carried away with murakami too easily, yet I have a hard time explaining exactly what about his work is so appealing. I guess you'll just have to read them. I'd recommend 'kafka on the shore'. that was my first one, and that's still my favorite one. although I honestly really really liked 'hear the wind sing', but I think that was mostly because it resonated with me as a writer. for his more realistic work, I always preferred 'south of the border, west of the sun' more than 'norwegian wood'. I don't know why. when deeva finished 'norwegian wood' she said it "fucked her up". she never mentioned anything like that when she returned 'south of the border'. people have also told me they struggled with 'the wind-up bird'. I can't remember if I did the first time around (it's been a while since I read that one, too), but second time around I could link together pieces I wasn't able to link together the first time, which was exciting. I've struggled too, though, with his work. the one I struggled most with was probably 'hardboiled wonderland and the end of the world'. mindfuck.
I got carried away again. I'll stop for real now.
#7: it's august
and in twenty-two days and forty-five minutes I'll be out of here. again. how strange.
if this blog post touched you in any way, if you like what i do, or if you simply want to support my being alive, you can buy me a coffee here: https://ko-fi.com/annelixie. it would make my day.