Here we are — with very small type and a few hours to go. Where do we start, we start at the beginning. I put the crystal in my pocket as some sign of good luck. I put the crystal in my hand, my left palm, according to the specifications of S — that’s what they told us to do, somatic rituals and all, and eat chocolate; that was an important component an affect of good judgement and woo.
Meanwhile, thoughts, feelings, truths, and truths emerge, or at least, I think that was the intention — it was the truth, anyway. I purchased the thing at a shop just down S; back when I used to get coffee in the mornings, when I had a laptop, when I had style, when I had people. I long for some of those days, but then, I didn’t have a sense of anything in truth; no sense of future, no sense of danger, of expectation, of ruin, of provee; everything was artisanal donuts back then.
S, by the way, means provisions, resolutions, settlements; those things bestowed, given, or granted, appointed. It refers to a kind of decision, a state of decision or a kind of decision-ality. This I did not have, although, maybe that’s wrong completely.
Anyway, at the time, though barely even then, I found the time to write. Here was how S instructed us: perform these exercises: watch this video of a cave, look at these grasses, think about a thing, blow through a tube, make certain specific wishes; make utterances of truth; place a vegetable on your head; find something from the ground. Yes, even the ground here in S, whatever ground that is.
The idea was a kind of transference — of the essence of the thing, or some natural truth, or supernatural truth, or some clearer personal vision (though not of sight), or truth of sound (without hearing), or taste or feeling or knowing (without tasting a thing or feeling a thing or knowing). I suppose it worked, although truly, I think that nothing is really automatic despite that things suddenly arise at times. Certainly nothing is random, certainly there’s a purposefulness to all this being the in the world ness.
A sense of expectancy grounded the practice, but it goes without saying that none of us was expecting much. It’s an essential bit of my e-learning, and here is what I e-learned: that from pages come from text, that text sometimes equals thoughts and other times equal spirit; that the two do not necessarily align, and that both are separate from reality, whatever. That from text, from much automatic being-in-the-moment-ness, and from a tapping into intuition, only a few lines are really worth it in the end; a few words, maybe. That random phrases winnowed from the ether can be put together as if with intention. That truth is a thing that we can lay on a page. That S is full of S. Take that as you will.
Needless to say, i’ve retired that practice of writing with magic, although in truth I really did come to believe in it in some soft and essential ways. There is something honest about acknowledging that bodies can spit something up if you make them cough long and hard and rough enough.
I cannot think with all this music on. It is exactly what I need though — an imitation of rhythm. It goes along with the cadence of my typing and therefore informs my thoughts, their pace and expression, their urgency. Aren’t you never supposed to write dialogue to a soundtrack? A friend told me that once.
i appreciate your calling last night. i do not know what to tell you. i do though. it’s time to leave. i think that everyone should get out of here, should stop falling over themselves to soften those blows that seem to have no other real intent than to close us down. i have to try not to change the music — it’s supposed to help me concentrate.
I have this image of a cloth book that S wants to slam shut, but the book is so soft, that the sound is barely audible, that the feeling is only one of terrible satisfaction, and while the intention is certainly sad and painful, it only creates a dullness (which is maybe worse?) but one that, certainly, we can tolerate for a time. At least, although the book is closed, we know that it can be opened up again, and anyway, no one could ever read cloth to begin with, so why sweat it?
Do you remember, you sent me that photo from years ago — I think there were pants hanging on a line. Or maybe they were… Anyway, they hung, do you recall? You had been on a road trip, maybe, with your person. How are they? How are you? I’m sorry for being so distracted. I like to think about those better times. Even today I took some photos, but I mean, photograph-like: as if the subject and my point of view, and a camera were enough to create meaning.
If we can pretend that such a thing is even possible, maybe that makes it okay for us to leave? Or at least, okay to want that. At least, I think its time that we do. thinking of you,
You could look this up yourself, but I’m going to tell you the story. I don’t know that it’s an important story, but it is something, and I suppose I hesitate to discount anything these days. It’s the story of He Shi Bi. I have no idea how to pronounce that, really. It is not a good story.
In the beginning, S, a person of meager position, brought to the Ruler a massive stone. S said to them, this is a very precious stone. The Ruler, however, had advisors who did not think so, who thought, in fact, that this was a common stone and that S’s present was undignified and in error. Angry at being betrayed, S ordered their soldiers cut off S’s left foot.
Years passed, and the Ruler’s child succeeded to the thrown, and S, thinking to clarify things, presented the stone to the court again. Again, the Ruler’s advisors did not think anything of the offering. They thought, in fact, that this order was ugly, and that S’s present was undignified and in error. Angry at being betrayed, S ordered their soldiers cut off S’s right foot.
A third member of the family succeeded to the thrown and S thought again to present the stone to the Ruler. But as S carried the stone with them, they collapsed in despair. As S wept for three days and nights, their tears turned to blood and the blood ran down their cheeks.
News of this reached the Ruler, and they asked S, “S, why are you crying when others have suffered worse?” Defeated, S replied, “I am not grieving for my injuries, but for the stone that was cast out; for loyalty thought faithless time and time again.” Seeing S in pain, the Ruler asked that the stone be opened. When S’s jewelers split the stone, they found inside the purest jade, sparkling, and translucent. Overjoyed, the Ruler had It carved into a disc and in honor of their service, the disc was named after S.
But here the story goes off the rails. Of course the Ruler kept the stone. And the thing that was kept became possession, and that possession became a thing of pride, a thing to be stolen and traded, and lost; people’s lives were put against it. And S? This character stopped being important to the story a long time ago.
The name He Shi Bi belongs to the stone, not to the person, and it’s a fictional stone at that.
AboutMe: the big picture of you. Make a personal page and inspire people to connect with you. Here are the tools you’ll need to tell your story: an Intro — the easiest way to share. A backstory — set yourself apart. Stats — measured activity. Control, keep track, connect; learn more, save, share. Everyone has a unique story: your skills, your aspirations, your individuality. Tell the world: you are more than your title. We all define success differently — define what success means to you. Point to an inspirational quote, add an objective, write your mission statement. Tell the world who you are, what you have achieved, what you do, and who you strive to be. Claim your name.
I want to write about S Burten, but what is that that I have to say? Only that I enjoy them on Instagram. I’ve never sat in one in real life, but I like that you like what I like too. Anyway, there’s definitely an easy joy to these sculptures, and something more intangible. That thing, and always that thing, I would contend, is where we’re always hoping to meet.
In the end, what are we talking about? Some tents, some grammar, some idiotic colors the tones of human flesh? Some jelly, some cloth, some shape that we purport to discover or own? Such a silly thing… Yet we both see the sense in it as well. I don’t know whether these thoughts should be troubling or not, or whether they’re all just beige, but either way, I find myself in a cab along this road, and I don’t really want to get out.
About S, S writes: The void is not only the result of loss, however. It is also the state preceding existence. In this sense, both S’s work and S’s Reconstructed Score from S’s 4 minutes 33 seconds present voids that are liberating: situations where anything can happen. By focusing on the void we become alert to the possibilities of the moment… S’s stage furniture waits our inhabitation rather than our attention.”
Wherever that place that the work refers to, I want to go there. To participate, I guess, which, in this case, means to sit, to become, to watch, to be seen. I suppose this is called cruising although it’s funny to think of cruising as a platform. Is that how you see it? Some means of support or elevation? At the very least, it is a point from which we can become ourselves — recognizing relations specials, augmented by a technology of signification, awakened simply by finally being other.
Someday I’ll learn to write and think. That is the goal, anyway. If I were S, I’d have made a quick and easy practice of it. Have you ever read S? It’s really wonderful. It’s problematic in ways, but outside of that. Anyway, I’m very proud of you, always impressed. I hope that I can inspire admiration in you too. I know that it’s happened before. I like reading your footnotes because they sound exactly like this: as if the world is large and you are growing both larger and more cognizant of you small-esse at the same time.
Here is what I mean: Hegemonies [ intimacy, YES important. Intimacy publicly mediated. Intimate life the ELSEWHERE of politics. What is queer futurity — * IMPORTANT not against norms. The future. YES.
You underlined, exchange of inwardness.
Last night I finished for the most part. I didn’t go to sleep early but I did pluck every hair off of my face. I did it while watching S. I sat on the floor and pulled them out, one by one, with that fine pair of tweezers. I thought it would make me look more feminine; or younger; or at least I’d be saved the hassle of shaving — I can never do it well, anyway. Well, it’s made me look strange, I think — like the underside of a dog. I hope you aren’t upset that this is how I spent my time.
Somehow, it’s important to me, or I think some element of it is, anyway. When I look over a mirror, my whole being sags. When I lay back, my body aches. When I stand, my body freezes with tension. When I think of S and S and S, my body becomes a jelly.
I am older, I think, anytime I look at myself. Older than three months ago, older than six. I grew old sometime over the course of the time you’ve known me. Or maybe over the years before that. In any case it’s happened and I appreciate your sticking around, despite the bumps in the road and sagging skin.
Riding home today, I stopped by the house on the corner. We had seen that person leaving the house the other day, and today there were floppy paper signs taped around it with the word free written in large thin letters. The house, for the first time, had its windows open and inside I could see nothing. The walls were white, the rooms empty. What a lovely gallery this would make, I thought. Also, did the old S die inside?
The other day you were recounting highlights from our trip to S — camping on the beach, the fair at the ranch, visiting S, having dinner with S and S — and I was surprised that you didn’t mention the show we saw at S. It was stunning tho, wasn’t it? What made it so special, what truly made it an experience was that I was able to enjoy it with you — to talk about it and experience it together. I’m happy that lights and fog were able to do so much for us; a happy memory is all, a happy afternoon, but I’ll take it. I’ll carry that with me.
One thing — our card to S was returned; returned to sender, victim of an incomplete address. We’ll have to send it again. Do you remember what it says? I have it with me. Also, I wonder what they’ve done with the cake?
Finally, thank you for these days apart. It’s as good to have distance as it is to have closeness, no? I don’t know if I really believe that. I don’t know what I really believe. I’m taking it moment by moment, day by day, year by year, motion by motion, gesture by gesture.
Speaking of which, I had a thought the other day, while thinking about the scatter pieces, the tent stands, the strings, the books turned backwards; while thinking about sensibilities.
What does minimalism earn us? A little distance. Abstraction? The freedom to ignore words. Phenomenology? The chance to look around. Speculative realism? The chance to just be energy, to know that everything is just energy, through and through, and after us, and in the end, all.