Still Haunted

Still haunted by your absence, I enter the city prepared. On campus I forget you. I do not look for you or go to your apartment. I do not even remember you: the unbound knot of your spine, our awkward first trip to the city, photographs of your mouth on my body.

I do not walk the five blocks to see you. I forget about the distance.

In the city, we do not speak of you, your present absence. We forget. We drink wine and compliment each other. I do not dream of you. You do not approach me.

I see no one. All are names and blank faces striding past into the darkness.

I am one of a group which boards the train at the station and miraculously moves as one through the tunnels. We surprise each other upon arrival, for we are unintended.

I board the plane with Proust. Outside, the runway lights imitate a flower or the curvature of your profile, two intersecting lines of brightness reflected into my eyes.

I remember you. I let you go. I let myself go into the darkness of the world, the unending horizon.

Starting the count

I remember how I used to count the days since I’d spoken to J. I think I finished at two hundred before I realized I didn’t need to count anymore. I started doing that with S, but it doesn’t seem to matter at all. For the record, it’s been nine, but there’s no feeling of loss, just freedom.

I started Bolaño’s 2666. Everything that he did well in The Savage Detectives he does better in 2666. I’m amazed at how his writing improved, became subtler and at once more sure of itself, so that there’s less glibness and more certainty. I’m on part three of five, and am continuously impressed by the implicit connections he makes throughout. It’s also interesting to note that now that I know how to read him, reading him has become more enjoyable. It’s as if The Savage Detectives was a test run for the masterpiece of 2666.

What became an obsession is now over

I’m done with that path. Done with thinking of what could have been and what should have been. I’m moving on. It’s funny how that works. One day you’re thinking that you can never imagine a day without thinking of someone, and then you’re over it. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. It grabs onto thoughts and holds them tirelessly until the waking mind can no longer contemplate anything other than the affliction.

So I was dreaming and now I am well enough awake to consider the scars and memories as signifiers of something that is over and done with. There are more important things to think about now, like how I am supposed to be a writer. I’ve missed deadlines again. I feel like the only deadline I have that is truly important is the amount of time I have left to live. That’s the deadline that really matters. How much work can I produce in this time? Certainly, it is not shaping up very well.

I suppose that’s why smaller, more manageable deadlines are more important. So here’s one: the Narrative Magazine 30 Below contest. There’s 26 days left. I need to write something in the region of 15,000 words. I started yesterday. I have until the 23rd to write a draft, and 6 days after that to revise and submit.

I will do this.

Dreaming

I dreamt about JJ a couple of days ago, woke up and thought I’d actually seen her. Then I realized it had been a dream. The subconscious is a powerful element. How else do you explain a vivid dream where everything she says sounds perfectly logical, where I hear her laugh and see her smile and feel her hugs. I don’t even know how many weeks it has been since we’ve spoken. Like X said, I’m in the moment of remembering the good moments now.

Dreaming reminds me of Murakami. More importantly, dreaming reminds me of the DREAM Act and immigration reform, which I’ve mistakenly stopped mentioning on this blog. Please do some research on immigration reform and support the DREAM Act. For many undocumented students such as myself, it’s the only chance for a better life. At the rate my immigration petition is moving through the system, I’ll be 30 years old by the time I get a green card. I’d have been in the US for 20 years; two-thirds of my life would have been spent in California.

A couple of my Bay Area friends stopped by on the way home from the San Diego Comic Con. It’s been several months since we’ve seen each other. The last time was the Tuesday before I left Berkeley. I’d gone to San Francisco to see them and we ended up going to a Ramen restaurant in Japantown, on Post and Laguna, then drove to the Sunset to go to a Japanese dessert cafe. Today, we went to Subway and had a good hour all together before they left to drive the five hours to SF. It’s a shame Richard went to Japan and didn’t come to SDCC. Chris and Luke more than made up for his absence though. They’re wonderful people and they make me realize how lucky I’ve been to meet them.

101st

I just realized that this will be my 101st post. It isn’t really that important, except in the fact that this is the longest amount of time I’ve spent on a blog. This doesn’t count the LiveJournal account I’ve had since 2004 because I haven’t posted continuous updates on there. This is also completely different because all my entries are uncensored, which has lots of implications.

My mother offered to let her friend stay at our place tonight because she can’t say no to people. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the woman hadn’t brought over her overexcited dog. I forgot how much I hate big dogs. No matter how much I would like a dog, I don’t think I’d be able to handle anything larger than a pug. This lab is crazy. He’s 5 and still super excited at everything. I wish people would train their dogs a bit better. Then again, this brings up the issue of animals as pets, and proper treatment of animals as pets. I don’t think it is cruel of me to ask for an animal to be well-trained.

This woman is also in her sixties or possibly in her seventies and has an attitude of being wanted everywhere she goes. Some people don’t seem to recognize when they should be thankful for the help they get. Instead, they want to take over the entire environment surrounding them. It makes me angry. She also has an irritating east coast accent that just makes everything worse. Sorry east coasters, but she sounds pretentious and bitchy.

And now for something completely different –

Ever wonder how you should approach the idea of getting on with your life after a potentially damaging relationship / incident with someone you cared about? I have the answer, and it’s easier than you think!

Just stop communicating with that person, and you’ll feel better. Ignore their phone calls, remove them from your instant messaging lists (if you’re still using IM services), remove them from your Facebook friend list if you have to (how strange it is that Facebook is taking over our lives in such a way that access to information is the key to relationships). I know it may be difficult to stop talking to someone you loved, but the benefits of self-reliance outnumber the pain of never speaking to said person again. You’ll feel better in a week. When the person will try to talk to you, just walk away from your computer or don’t pick up the phone. It’s easy to avoid someone if you have no way of seeing them or communicating with them.

I’m being completely serious.

I spent an hour yesterday on the phone with my ex, trying to give relationship advice. I should never give relationship advice. All my advice tends to move along the same vein: break up if you want to, but I don’t want to be telling you what to do.

I think that if you make up your mind to get someone off your mind and out of your life, you can do it. Sure, it hurts to think that I’ll possibly never speak to JJ again, but it isn’t worth feeling bad when I can actively improve my life. My goal: not to speak to her until December.

A fire burns and it’s for you

This is probably the most inspirational song I’ve heard lately. To me, it speaks to the powerful nature of belief in the self. Not only that, but it reinforces the idea of living for yourself, which might be a paraphrase of what I just said in the previous sentence. No matter, we’re all writing what we know, and in a sense, singing what we have. I’m loving the urgency here, coupled with the driving beat.

Posting the lyrics for you because Jack Antonoff’s singing is not conducive to being understood very well:

When I was eighteen everything was alive
Then the planes hit the towers
Then she died and he died
A part of me disappeared six feet in the ground
A million miles in the sky a fire burns,
A fire burns, a fire burns and it is mine

And I did what I did
What we did to survive
Five whole years of my life I spent mourning you and why?
Girl you’re still alive
You’re too dead to keep inside
You take the years, you keep it all, I finally think I might be alright

So lets just let it all go cause nothing can change
And if something is lost then there’s something to frame
I just sing what I have
All I got this girl, not yet crushed by the world
I’ll count the freckles on her face one, two, three hundred times a day

And sing a new song
Something I’d never hear
It’s a better love that I found, bigger love that you fear
So deep inside me, hot in this frozen cave
Her fire burns, her fire burns, her fire burns and it is brave

When I was eighteen everything was alive
Then the planes hit the towers
Then she died, then he died
A part of me disappeared six feet in the ground
A million miles in the sky a fire burns,
A fire burns, and I just let it all go

And I won’t fear change
And if something is lost then there is something to frame
I just sing what I have in the heavens above
In the song in the sky a fire burns,
A fire burns, a fire burns and it’s for you

Ignore the video, listen to the music

I’ve been a fan of Rilo Kiley for a little while now, but I’ve only just begun to listen to other songs besides “I Never.” This song is one reason for my adoration of Jenny Lewis. Don’t mistake that for obsession or hipster-ish tendencies. I don’t give a fuck about any of that shit.

PS. I listened to this song on repeat for almost 6 hours last night.

Gotta love the rhyming labels.

What I talk about when I talk about love

I’m quiet and unfunny. I often break things. I tend to eat less than I should and when I was younger I weighed much less than I should have. When I moved to Berkeley, living in a house full of drug addicts and slackers, I gained weight from eating nothing but fried chicken and ice cream. As an aside, when you’re living with a cocaine user, you should never do laundry after midnight, because said roommate might come out of his room, high and scared shitless because you were doing laundry and he heard some weird sounds. Don’t get me started on the landlord who told us that we should pray for sunny days because our roof had been blown off.

I’m tall and awkward. My hair has grown long and I need a haircut, but I’m going to try and grow it out for 130 more days. As a kid, I had long, platinum blonde hair, especially when I lived in the Bahamas. I miss having bright blonde hair. It’s just another reason I’m not considered Nordic. That and my lack of blue eyes.

Some people may not agree with my goals or the ways in which I go about achieving them. I believe I’m asking not out of a sense of entitlement, but out of desperation. I’ve tried everything else, and I feel as if this is my opportunity to continue growing as a person. I’m not against the negative things that have been said of me. I understand that people have their own ways of looking at the world, and I have mine. We can disagree. I do need some help though.

I’m currently listening to Pandora after a six month hiatus. I used to spend hours listening to a carefully crafted station, started with “City and Colour.” When I was writing essays for a Russian lit class in Berkeley, I was told to stop using prepositional phrases. My professor’s suggestion was the best bit of criticism I had ever received as far as critical writing goes. He was an amazing professor who made Nabokov into a heroic figure for me, always elaborating on Nabokov’s life and interesting facts as they related to his novels.

I am nearly thirty years old. This is an inescapable fact. Here’s to hoping that these last twenty five years have been only a small part of my future life.

I’m avoiding any thoughts of JJ. We haven’t spoken in five days, and I’ve finally figured out that I haven’t seen her since December 26th. At least that is what remember now, after a few moments of trying to recall the day she came over for the last time. I’d been home alone after coming back from Berkeley for ten days to work on MFA applications. My parents had gone north to visit my sister in Arcata, but I decided to come to southern california alone. I saw only JJ and X during my vacation. JJ had come down to see her family for a few days before leaving for England. I can still vividly recall her room for the last time, and her crying after her sister took a number of photographs of the two of us. She said she didn’t want to go.

It’s funny how I remember only the bad times during our time together. The only good time I can remember wasn’t considered a good time when I was going through it, but now, it’s the only good time I can remember with JJ. We had just started seeing each other and I asked her to come with me to a friend’s place for dinner. On the train, she wouldn’t look at me. We sat in the front car, facing the front. She sat next to the window, and I sat next to her.

When we got to the party, I remember drinking and talking about music with my friend. JJ kept her hand on my leg under the table throughout dinner. On the way home, we got a ride from my friend, and JJ fell asleep across the car from me while holding my hand.

I’m always wondering how long it will take for me to stop thinking about her. This is just a first step.

130 days – Necessary it is to live to love

It’s been 130 days since I shaved my head, and my hair is getting long. But this isn’t about my hair. It’s about her. It’s about knowing that I cut my hair when I found out that she had slept with someone else while she was abroad. I ended up spending nearly two hours that day shaving my head. Of course, when a friend of mine saw me later and asked about it, she said, “I hope it wasn’t because of some girl.” I had to admit that one. I’ve never been one to do stupid things, but that’s one of them. I never thought I’d be standing in the library at 10pm with a beanie, but there I was.

You ever wonder what your life would be like if you hadn’t met a certain person, hadn’t let them fuck with your head, so that you’d be left standing by the side of the road at night, talking to your ex on the phone, nearly crying. There’s laughter in this story too, but it comes after all the heartache. The laughter comes after the panic attacks and the depression. It comes after the former love of your life tells you that most of your good work should come from moments of emotional intensity such as this. This coming from a medical student, you’re not apt to believe anything. But you laugh. You laugh, because once, she kissed you at every red light, and it was important. So you laugh, and then you walk home in the darkness, listening to her questions on how to be the one in control of a relationship.

How can you save anyone but yourself? She’s all I ever write, and as I know from experience, you write what you know. Not the she that is a medical student, but the other, the one I called JJ, when I tried to give her a nickname. It didn’t stick – too familiar, too childlike, and god knows she isn’t a child, even when she acts like one.

130 days have passed, and I’m at an impasse. The only solution I’ve found is to forget her existence, which works until I remember how shy she used to be when I would look her in the eyes. She didn’t like that for a moment. It took awhile for her to get used to my stares. And she may not have been a child but she sure looked like one with her four foot eleven inch frame.

I forget how long it has been since we saw each other, and maybe that is for the best.

Forty

I’ve been back in Valencia for forty days. With every day that goes by, I feel my connection to Berkeley diminishing. It’s a sad thing to realize I may not be back there for several years. There are too many good memories to just let go. Strangely, my life there is divided into several distinct parts. The first is spending time with Chris, when I was still with Xandus. The second is the year spent with Jenny. The third, and last, is my last semester, spending time at Cafe Trieste, talking with Sam and Teddy, talking lit with Chaz. I don’t really think of those two years as continuum. There are definitely specific parts which are wholly separate from the entire experience. I want to say that those two years were the best of my life, but I really can’t make any value statements about “best of my life” moments. I just know there were some good times there.

Jenny came back from England on Saturday. I didn’t get to see her at all during these last four days before she went back to Berkeley. It is very unlikely that I’ll ever see her again. What’s most crushing for me is my own stupidity.

Ever since I finished reading “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” I’ve felt lost about what to read next. I started “The Sound and the Fury,” but it is really difficult. Today I read some Sedaris, but as funny as he is, this collection, “When You Are Engufled in Flames,” is really weak.