Being is an always thing. It demands everything, all the time. I can't help mediating, and I can't help worrying that I am doing a poor job of mediating. I worry that I've fed myself the wrong input, or not enough input, or too much input, or too much of the wrong input and not enough of the right input, and it has polluted my frame of reference. I have fed myself the wrong input, which is why I have cavities. A mediterranean diet is good for health. There are places in Japan where people live almost forever just getting older and older on account of eating fish. Eating yogurt is moral. Eating gruel, even more so. Dry toast is more virtuous than wet toast but less virtuous than broth. Clerical collars are charming. Stained glass is probably sharp if broken.

It is more virtuous to get sick from touching lead than from eating butter - this much is obvious.

Books pile up around my bed unread. At night, I park my body in the harbor, surrounded by shipping containers that sit untouched and unopened because drawn-out bureaucratic processes regarding disagreements over jurisdictional tariff rates have left them in legal limbo. During the day, I eat chocolate and I wonder. One thing I am wondering about now is how to sew an Elizabethan ruff.


I have cavities. If anything is a moral failing this is a moral failing. I slacked on routine maintenance. I ate licorice. I rotted.

Today the dentist filled one cavity. I did not enjoy this. I do not like being the site of archaeological excavation. I tried to meditate. I thought about death. I imagined that I was a marble sculpture who had been prematurely Gepettoed partway through the chiseling process, and that I was consciously experiencing my own creation.

At the end, I paid A Lot of Money, made a little joke about "at least I had fun!" (the receptionist smiled politely), and scheduled another appointment for Mr Dentist to continue retrofitting my humble and delicate mouth.

03.18.2024 pt 2

About six years ago, I wrote an essay on the opening words of On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense: "In some remote corner of the universe, flickering in the light of the countless solar systems into which it had been poured, there was once a planet…” (141). The essay was for a class on Nietzsche. There is an air of fable to Nietzsche's language, I said. Fairytales begin "once upon a time." They take place "long ago in a faraway land." I wrote: “‘Once long ago, in a faraway land’ (or, in this case, ‘In some remote corner of the universe’) grounds a floating piece of narrative within an unspecified but mutually agreed upon location and time. But ‘where is faraway?’ you might ask, or, ‘how long ago was once?’ These concepts are only understandable in relation to a fixed idea of the present… The placement of the story [is] itself relative to constructs of current time and current place. Like metaphor, it becomes a schema of containment.”

Nietzsche (I wrote) establishes metaphor as necessary for human connection. We must agree to label shared untruths as truths in order to have common reference points on which we can build both language and society. The language of fairytale demands that we accept "once" relative to our fluctuating present, building a shared language of storytelling on the essentially unstable relationship between a too-specific "now" and an entirely unspecific "then."

I have difficulty pinning myself to a specific now. I have difficulty locating myself. Thinking about my previous journal entries, I notice how much I repeat language of mapping: “You are just a mappable point in relation to all these objects;” “You are just a mappable point in relation to all these birds;” “You can trace a man as a vector.” Then there is my persistent obsession with astrolabes. I keep attempting to locate myself in relation to a network of more tangible others. I grow overly attached to personal history, to people I was, to moments I’ve been in, to essays I wrote — maybe hoping that, by tracing myself as the result of a fixed past, I can define myself as cognate. I have never been able to navigate by the stars: at some deep level, I see this is a moral failing. I see this, like my failure to ever spell “necessary” correctly on a first try, as a moral failing.

Fairytales are unmoored, and so we are able to — or maybe required to — anchor them to ourselves. Perhaps this is a form of representation. Regardless of whether or not I am within the text, I can view its distance from myself as an integral part of its structure. I can map a princess as a point relative to my current latitude and longitude. Cinderella is a Loose Fish: I claim her.

I stumbled upon my Nietzsche essay while digging through old work to send to professors when I emailed asking for grad school recommendations (Please remember me as I remember you! Please remember this essay I wrote 5 years ago on the standardization of home economics!). Microsoft Word says I created the document at 6:57am, February 13, 2018. I vaguely recall writing it in Harper, feeling like I was on the edge of some Great Truth, content to have crammed the word "spatiotemporal" into yet another paper. It's odd rereading old work, college essays written in a caffeine-addled, sleep-deprived, dehydrated blur. It's odd watching that "now" become a "once." It feels so far away. It feels so now. Time gets all foreshortened.

I do not know what I am getting at with this. I do not know what I am trying to work through, or towards. Maybe I should eat more cruciferous vegetables. They contain some great vitamins. That might fix things.


Once upon a time there was this man who was so tall. He was crazy tall. Everyone who saw him thought, oh boy, that man is so tall.

Imagine being so very tall and so very good at fighting and then being publicly downed by a little boy with a little slingshot and a little stone. You'd probably feel like shit. I imagine you'd feel like shit. Less so because you were dead and more so because you'd be like this? THIS is how I go? This is shit, you'd think. This is absolute shit.

03.04.2024 pt2

My mom is having the dining room painted. The painters will come on the 12th with their brushes and cans and other paraphernalia. My mom says it will not be a big deal. She is basically matching the old colors, the room just needs repainting after twenty-five years, the ceiling especially, which is no longer looking its best what with the cracks and all.

I tell her the ceiling looks fine, the cracks barely show, the paint looks fine. She says no it definitely doesn’t. I know it doesn’t but I insist that it does. It turns into a whole thing.

There is a spot on the ceiling near the northwest corner of the dining room, three spots, really, a primary splotch flanked by two smaller freckles. They sparkle silver, if the light is right, which it usually isn’t.

Maybe I remember laughing together because he squeezed the glitter glue tube too hard and it splattered up onto the ceiling. Or maybe I just constructed a memory over two decades of looking up at the stucco heavens and trying to find meaning in their single constellation. There is good precedent for finding meaning in constellations. There is good precedent for ascension, for empyrean reassemblage. There is good precedent for constructing memories.

My mom says she’ll ask the painters to scrape off that bit of glitter glue and save it for me. But the magic of stars is that you look up and see them from an unconquerable distance. Stars are impressions. Stars are simultaneous. But when a star falls it becomes specific, it becomes a vector and then a point, a bit of stuff. It is just stuff. It is just matter. It doesn't matter. It was the limitation of distance that made it holy. I wrote a story in high school about dead stars. I’m going to find it on my computer and reread it and half-remember what it was like to be seventeen.

I am sentimental. I am schmaltzy. I am overly attached to stuff. I am overly attached to places and to moments. I am self-indulgent. I indulge in sentiment. I indulge in schmaltz. I have trouble moving forwards. I have trouble paring down. I cannot justify this. I cannot reconcile my sentimentality with the sort of person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person who knows the ceiling needs to be repainted and doesn’t mind its being repainted and in fact knows how to use joint compound to repair water damage before repainting. The ceiling needs repainting. Of course it needs repainting. It hasn’t been painted in over twenty five years, with the exception of a little spot, three spots, really, which haven’t been painted in just over twenty.


My birthday is approaching quickly. I am going to be 27 in a few days. The speed at which time is passing makes me feel sick. I do not mean sick in an abstract way. I mean it inflames the veins. It clogs the pores. It fondles the lymph nodes. It pressurizes the stomach acid, sending it shooting up the esophagus and down the bowels like a manuscript request along a pneumatic tube.

There are some who will say 27 is not old. To them I say: fair. But the thing is is that I seem to have misplaced several years. I do not mean misplaced in an abstract way. I mean — I do not know where I set them. I mean I seem to have done something with them but I do not know what.

Fables can be a guiding light in this sort of situation, I think. Tomorrow I’ll find a fable and I’ll read it and I’ll really get something out of it, I’ll really come away having learned a lesson.

Some people find prayer helpful. Tomorrow I’ll give it a go. I’ll get down on knees that are just knees and I’ll clasp hands that are just hands and I’ll enlist my pores and veins and lymph nodes and all the slimy bits in between and I’ll ask politely, maybe in broken French or some other respectful language, for a world that feels livable and a clock that makes sense and a mentor who will teach me how to use an astrolabe so that please s’il vous plait for once in my life I know where I am, and when.

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