14 June 2013

The D in Detroit

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Mia kept telling me last week, from behind the glass, that fireworks are hot, pointing to her hand where she apparently got too close to a sparkler. She said it again and again, in a-matter-of-fact way, like it's not something I know. You too should be careful, daddy.

My time alone comes to an end early on Sunday morning. Do we need to reflect on this anymore. It's bad news when your own tropes are boring you. It's such a complex set of feelings. Luckily, there is no choice to be made: they will come back and we will all be together again. The Skype jail meetings have stopped for the week: I wait and wait with the computer window open at work and then at home, only to fall asleep. Yoko writes a short email: you don't need to know what it means to know what it means.

All my writing is stalled at the moment. This entry has taken me a week and I'm still not happy with it: the self-pity entry, who wants to read that again. Did nothing interesting, nothing quinissentially Malaysian, happen this week? Is there no metaphor that can hint at some larger meaning? I didn't even hear the call to prayer this morning.

I want to be a writer that doesn't look away, even when nothing is there. I want to be Rothko; you don't look at anything in a Rothko painting. You try to look past it. 

Still, the editorial voice is ruthless; my muse is a relentless critic. Did you really just write another passive sentence after teaching topic sentences for a week; you must be mad. I'm stuck in my article about communities of practice on YouTube. I want something to give, some breakthrough to happen, but it's coming very slowly. 500 words at a time, after a day of having the file open and tinkering with it. Why write this article anyway, why publish. I read something I wrote a year ago, citing Foucault and immediately hate it. Foucault: how original Stephen, really, who'd have thought of that. I need to start smoking. Instead I just eat and eat, the self-pity getting richer and thicker like being stuck in tar. You're not good enough, you're not original enough. Writing is self-loathing: it's not a metaphor. There are no positive voices when I write: I dismiss praise and latch on to criticism, some glimmer of the truth. I think of my PhD supervisor frustrated with me and my writing: she's the only person who ever told me the truth.

Why are we — we am I — so convinced that everyone is lying all the time. I don't even believe that anyone is really capable of lying. Even when I know someone is lying, I feel like they are only trying to do something; who can blame them for not wanting the truth to get in the way.

So one last day of waking in the heat just before 6. Wash my clothes, realise I'm out of coffee. Go to work, come home again: the dullness of not looking forward with anticipation. Whatever the future holds, it won't be any better or worse than this. At least I can, if I let myself, write about it.

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