[april 01, 2004 - sometimes he still calls me by his old lover's name...]another beautiful spring day. found a piece of paper with some notes for the journal from a couple of days ago:
sitting in the subway on my way to x. my computer is beyond repair. i installed three virus scanner today ö which led to a total crash of the system. the beauty in this situation: the scanner found viruses in the other scanner's software. now the screen freezes directly after booting. it took my great pains to even retrieve my personal files and data. talked to achim today about bying a new pc. he is as closer to being a computer wizzard than anybody else i know. he offered me helping to build in the soundcard that i've ordered for the new pc :o)i was looking through a self-help book titled "improve your self-confidence" and there were these ten rules to, well, improve your self-confidence and the first one was (and i'm quoting here):
you are not inferior. you are not dumb. you have got to accept and love yourself. look at yourself in the mirror each morning and say aloud: "Vera (insert your name here) I like you!"oh boy. guess as a reader it's hart not to feel like a complete idiot when the author assumes that you would really stand in front of the mirror and say: vera i love you although your name is actually patrick.
lateritâs getting dark slowly, the french window is open, birds are singing, children are shouting on the streets, x is watching the news and we are cooking. the other day i addressed her with somebody's name by mistake. it was the first time. it will have been the last time.
[april 2, 2004 - i'm feeling the same way all over again]it's almost midnight. second day of april is over. strange day. i'm frustrated. i had hoped that things would clear up, that things would develop. that ideas would emerge when i'm reading the cohen texts. but nothing happened. i worked through parasites of heaven today and when i ahd finished the last poem there was nothing that i could use for anything. it's like taking two handful of fine sand and it is running through your fingers almost tenderly but it leaves you with nothing but coarse hands.
found a little chord pattern yesterday night before x came over. playing the guitar feels so weird. my fingers are moving unconsciously, as if my body had a memory that's not accessible for my brain. my fingers just do things and as soon as i'm trying to think about what exactly they're doing there they get tangled up in the strings.
it feels weird. it feels alone. x and i have spent a lot of days and nights together in a row. i'm alone now. and it feels strange. i'm missing her. but the good news is: she's missing me, too. however, i'm a bit scared. "natural" states change so quickly: a couple of weeks ago it felt "natural" to be alone. now it feels "natural" to be with her. and this feeling is a little scaring. because it makes you vulnerable [note how quickly i've shifted from a personal to a general level. because actually it should read: it makes me vulnerable]. the initial idea was never again to get into a situation in which i would be scared of losing a person. but it's much too late. "i don't trust my inner feelings. inner feelings come and go" leonard is singing. but he's also singing "i fought against the bottle. but i had to do it drunk" love and fear seem to go along. like on a moebius strip. loving you and losing you - the line is just a couple of letters thin.
i'm tired. all the reading and thinking led to nothing. it's frustrating. i can't really think. i should have chosen a profession that's more practical. where i could have worked with my hands, create something, build something. hm, just thought about the silliest sentence that i've written in a long time, but i guess it's true: i wish i was an artist :o) well, i will be a dream artist for the next couple of hours. sleep well.
(april 7, 2004 Ė hab lange schon von dir geträumt, dann ist mir alles klar, ich will nur dass du bei mir bleibst, das wär so wunderbar, kann ich dich einmal nicht mehr sehn, bin ich ausser rand und band, ich schicke tausend küsse per versand... (<= a volksmusiksong that is playing on my parent's radio))
lead colored clouds fill the sky and the horizon. iím sitting in the train on my way to bielefeld. the old rail road way. itís not even four in the afternoon but dark already. it looks like the end of the world outside. it was strange to part from x today, knowing that we will not see each other for a couple of days. hundreds of power lines fill the sky with a fishnet-stocking pattern, and i have no idea where iím heading to. wish i had a lighthouse. thomas wonít put on his light. whenever i ask him he just points towards the sea, sending me out to discover uncharted land and new riches but the maps he provides me with are vague and have too many white spots. also, i donít know how to handle the ship. i have only sailed on calm rivers and small lakes and the rough and raging sea scares the shit out of me. so i keep sailing out a mile or two just to return to the shore immediately. and all the time i see others pass me by above me, in airplanes they have built themselves, doing three times the speed my vessel does and heading out for the new territory, they fly beyond the pole even: admiral byrds of literary science, columbuses of cultural studies.
itís silly to call x x any loner. i want to give her a proper name. by the way, she is seriously considering to write her final thesis on unica zürn :o)
itís ten past one in the morning. iím at my parentsí house, staying in the guest room that is furnited with my old double bed that i hadnít used since somebody and i had separated. itís a strange feeling, being back in the old house, in the middle of the night, in the old bed, with the clock ticking too loudly and my head heavy from being tired and my stomach upset from the easter chocolate that iíve eaten and from the weird feeling the fact is giving me that x is visiting an exfriend of hers tonight.
it felt good walking through the city this evening. bielefeld i mean. it felt like having overcome something. a sickness. a grievance. a shadow. i donít know. iím too tired. i keep thinking of you. you have no name yet. i make everything so complicated. i am pretty verkorkst, i think. i long for something and as soon as this longing is fulfilled i start fearing. a very vague and unspecific fear. i think iím observing too much and iím interpreting too much. i should have more faith. and trust. this morning she said: ďin six years i want to have a childĒ and regardless of whether this was half joking or half provoking i thought: ďwow!Ē because i donít even dare to think in those categories. i try to keep myself prepared every day that it (meaning xís and my relationship) can end any day. i donít ever want to be hit as unprepared as it hit me when the relation to somebody ended. and thus i try to be always on the guard. and i think itís in the way.
[april 9, 2004 - weíre better off for all that we let in...]
cedric is cooking one delicious meal after the next one! the other night
he fixed meat filled with meat wrapped in meat. it was so unbelievable
that i had to take a picture of it. but it tasted gorgeous.
i photographed quite a lot of things around the house that i think are
typical for cedric. details mostly, but sort of nutshells. little portraits
without him in the picture. hm, maybe iím exaggerating ;o) i will upload
one or two.
6:30 in the evening on good friday. the weather has cleared a little. iím pretty tired, trying to figure out whether i shall stay another night at tara & cedricís place or return tonight to my parents. missing x.
[april 10, 2004 Ė the kind people have a wonderful dream: margaret on the guillotine]
taraís family is visiting as well: her parents and her brother with
his wife and twelve months old baby boy. so we are quite a crowd. yesterday
afternoon cedricís father and stepmother joined us. cedricís stepmother
is a person you do not really look forward to meet. she is a little dumb
and insensitive and just a pain in the neck, if not in other parts of the
body. sheís saying unbelievably stupid things and itís really a riddle
for all of us why cedricís father, who is a very kind and witty man, is
living with this woman. anyway, her name is margaret. the last time i had
met her she gave me a little lesson in cultural studies and kept talking
and talking about american eating habits Ė needless to say that sheís never
been to the states or has ever met an american: ďyou know, in america they
donít have real kitchens. because they donít need them. you know that,
donít you? they do no cooking in america. they are not cooking anything
at all. you know this, donít you? this is why they donít need any kitchens.
because theyíre not cooking. because, you know, the only thing the americans
eat are these big, soft buns...Ē
[april 11, 2004 Ė and looking down on everything / i crushed into her arms]
told my parents about x. they didnít know about our relationship. not
that it would matter but now they do. she had sent a photo this morning
so i could even show her to them.
played around with thr digital camera this morning and took a couple
of pictures of my parents' cat.
[april 13, 2004 - i'm going round, roumd, round the bend...]sitting in the underground on my way to x. i had three beers and no dinner. equals: almost drunk. it's 21:30 and my modem doesn't work. tried to install it today but it simply refuses to connect me to anybody. on my way to the station (the daylong doubts drowned in beer) i listened to "fill it up again" and thought: that's the only thing, the only thing you have to do. it was so INTENSE, it seemed so clear, so definite and beyond doubt. like when you're dying of thirst and you have to chose between a glass of sand and a glass of water: the only logical thing, the only sure thing, the only thing that feels 'natural'. "we are swimming, we are floating..." all day long i was desperate - i felt that everything was too much for me to handle. realized that it's not what i can do: write articles, talk about literature and, oh well, you know, i've said it so mayn times before. i just felt that i will never ever
[april 14, 2004 - ]i'm at work, preparing the reader and trying to get together a couple of ideas for the seminar. today thomas pulled a practical joke on princess superstar :o) when she had worked on her final thesis here in the office last month she had uncautiously left the opened word document on the computer while fetching herself a coffee. and when she was away thomas changed parts of her texts slightly, exchanged names and reversed the syntax. when the princess came back she didn't notice the changes and printed the text out and handed it in the next day. and today thomas put on a serious face and pointed out the weird passages to the princess who was of course shocked and speechless and utterly confused. boy, we have a lot of fun here!!! :o)))
[april 15, 2004 - and i touch the fingers of my hand / and i wonder: is it me? / holding on and on to theories of prosperity]ich weiss nicht, ob ich in den texten das finden kann, was du in literatur und kunst, was du also in den objekten suchst. ich weiss noch nicht einmal, wonach ich genau suche, worauf ich achten soll. ich lese die gedichte, die zeilen, die worte und sie lassen mich völlig kalt: es gibt einfach nicht viel, was ich über sie sagen könnte. und ich weiss nicht, ob das an mir oder an den texten liegt. ich habe nicht einmal eine meinung. ich habe keinen plan. ich hatte gehofft, dass die texte zu lesen etwas passieren lässt, dass ideen entstehen, vorstellung, irgendetwas was sich lohnen würde, mitzuteilen. aber ich glaube nicht, dass das passiert ist. hier und da sind unzusammenhängende zusammenhänge, aber sie in eine richtung zu lenken, sie an die materialitätsmaschine zu kopppeln, ich weiss wirklich nicht, wie das gehen soll. es zerfällt alles, es gibt keine kohärenz oder ich sehe sie nicht. ich will eine eingebung. ich will inspiration und dass der heilige geist der literaturwissenschaft über mich kommt und mich in zungen reden lässt. oder doch zumindest reden lässt. aber die texte gehen durch die augen und irgendwie in den kopf aber wandern nicht in die finger, um dort andere, meine texte entstehen zu lassen. ich weiss nichts zu sagen. dabei will ich etwas sagen. zumindest glaube ich das. ich weiss nicht mehr, was ich will. gerade jetzt will ich nicht mehr, als farbe zu kaufen und meinen schrank anzumalen, einfach etwas tun, handarbeit, etwas schöner machen. ich weiss, dass ich in zwei stunden wieder etwas ganz anderes tun will und ich weiss, dass der wunsch lieder zu schreiben immer wieder kommen wird, in den unpassensten momenten und bei den unpassensten gelegenheiten. es ist so lange her, dass der wunsch da war, einen text über einen text zu schreiben. und ich kann das nicht anders. ich kann es nicht als "arbeit" machen. wie kann man so etwas denn stumpf und von nine to five machen? sand von einer ecke in die andere schaufeln, okay! aber schreiben? nach plan? das ging noch nie bei mir. vielleicht bin ich dazu zu wenig strukturiert. ich brauchte immer eine eingebung, inspiration, geistesblitz, etwas, was einen von hinten überfällt und dann plötzlich da ist. nichts, was man sich erarbeitet hat, indem man steinchen auf steinchen legt. das wäre schön. das will ich ja tun. aber ich weiss einfach nicht, wo oder was diese steinchen wären. ich würde gerne meinen text steinchen um steinchen bauen. aber ich habe keine ahnung, wie. was heisst das: habe ich die falsche primärliteratur? habe ich den falschen theoretischen ansatz? habe ich die falsche arbeitsweise? habe ich den falschen job? "Can you turn me off / Just a second, please / Turn me into something / Faceless, weightless, mindless, homeless, vacuum state of peace / On and on and on and on and on and on and on and on..."
frustrated after having gazed at cohen's poems, reading the words but no understanding a single thing. yesterday afternoon thomas said: "so, what's up with your dissertation?" i couldn't describe what the problem is. hell, i don't even KNOW what the fucking problem is. i don't know. it feels as if i should measure the ocean with a teaspoon. no - not even this! because this would be a task that can be fulfilled. all you need is time. it's more like having to translate a manual for a atom reactor from greek into latin. fuck.
[later]of course i realized that i could have used the time complaining for creating - perhaps a kind of introduction to the forschungsstand, describing the three monographs on cohen, starting chronologically with scobie, and then noting how remarkable it is that predominately other writers have written on cohen and then pointing out differences in the approaches of scobie, ondaatje and hutcheon. i'm on the train again, on my way to x again, indigo girls in my ears again.
[april 18, 2004 - you may not see it when it's sticking to your skin but we're better off for all that we let in]woke up this morning and for half an hour i knew that my life is completely fucked up. that the university id a dead road for me and that i should try to find another occupation as long as i still can. it was totally clear to me: i can't write articles (or at least have too many writer's blocks) i don't even like to read a lot, i don't understand what i'm reading or alternatively i'm forgetting it after two hours. i don't know anything about literature except that i want to write myself. i am lazy. i have no ambitions to enter into competition with other scientists. i don't know anything about literary history and the little i know about literary theory won't help me anything. i realized all this when i woke up. and then, slowly, i managed to push these thoughts away. i'm not fishing for compliments here. really. it's just that i ... i should get a job that has to do with lay-out, maybe. or with music. or with painting things. a more playful creativity than the one the university structures allow for. make cd-covers. paint cupboards. write songs. make a movie.
i don't know why i'm so frustrated. i had hoped that i would manage somehow to compete and to live up to the expectations. myself and those of other people. but i don't feel like i would. i don't even THINK about literature and theory. you know, actualy i should be thinking about a problem or a theory or an approach constantly: on my way to work. when i'm cooking. under the shower. when i'm shopping. when i'm in bed. when i'm with x. but i don't . I HAVE NO DESIRE TO FIND OR EVEN SOLVE LITERARY PROBLEMS! i want to do something different: create something beautiful. how can an article be beautiful. i don't want to be jobless when i'm 35, unable to get pay my rent.
i don't know. maybe it's because tomorrow the semester will start again. i've listened to the indigo girls' "all that we let in" all evening and night. not to the entire album. just to this single song. i didn't like it at first. now i do.
[april 19, 2004 - and so it was for you when the river eclipsed your life and sent your soul like a message in a bottle to me and it was my rebirth]monday. great day. went to thomas' lecture on representation: awesome!! and later we had the colloquium and talked about lacan and thomas explained the entire lacanian cosmos in 40 minutes: sublime! and then bernd, achim and i still discussed aspects of re:presentation, of punctum and studium and so on and it got me a little excited about literary studies again. thomas simply is a genius.
this morning, when the two of us were still alone, he came storming
into the office and said: "i had an idea".
"hm, really?" i said, still a little tired because it was 8:30 in the morning
"the semester has started" he continued "and this means that it's a good time to do dull work, work for which you do not have to use your brain a lot..."
"wait a minute" i interrupted "did you have an idea concerning me or concerning you?" i asked, fearing the worst like having to count question marks or something
"for you, of course! you know what you can do? you can do a little overview over the forschungsstand on cohen. you don't have to think a lot for it. it's dull work but it needs to be done anyway. and it will get you writing!" and then he went on and told me what would be the best way to start writing and i thought: "wow, he really seemed to have thought about it!" that is: about me. and i felt a little flattered. and now i want to write the fucking forschungsstand and get on with it and get it over with. and when i've written the forschungssstand i will reward myself by buying a digital camera and when i've finished the dissertation i will reward myself by buying the entire world.
tomorrow: seminar. shudder! 36 students have enrolled. i'm a little nervous. hell, that's quite an understatement. it scares the shit out of me. as usual. hope this will go away in two or three weeks.
[april 20, 2004 -punctum. bass drum. bliss. last verse of "pilgrimage". intensity. playing the coda of the live version of "headcrash". something that pushes you to a border of bearability. the moment that triggers a reaction that makes your mind go white. and the very nature of it is that you cannot dscribe it. "this life is burning". not "my life". this life. a life. maybe the clue is the possessive pronouns. "take this mute mouth | broken tongue | now this dark life | is shot through with light" i've never noticed the curious non-use of possessive pronouns in the song before.
[april 21, 2004 - so we're okay, we're fine, baby i'm here to stop your crying chase all the ghosts from your head, i'm stronger than the monster beneath your bed]day's over. my eyes are aching. spent three hours in a mittelbau meeting. still haven't started with the forschungsstand. i'm using too many german words and i'm too lazy to look them up. typing on my new keyboard is fun. the keys are so soft and quiet. i'm alone. x is watching a movie with a friend of hers. i'm tired. read althusser on ideology today. enjoy singing along to the indigo girls immensely. the other day i played guitar. a rare occasion these days. played "you know who i am" by lc and came up with a nice interlude between the verses. it's a pity that x refuses to sing. she CAN sing, but she simply prefers not to. i'm not quite sure why i'm writing paratactically. i'm not quite sure why i'm writing at all. i'm not quite sure what it is with singing. it feels so good. it feels like embracing or being embraced. i think what i'm going to do now is brush my teeth, put on my pajama, turn off the lights, put on "power of two" on repeat, lie on my bed in the dark and keep singing along to it until i fall asleep. of course i COULD start with the forschungsstand now, but it's 22:12 already and the prospect to fall asleep with emily and amy seems to be much more pleasurable to me.
[april 26, 2004 - and you want to travel with her and you want to travel blind ...]sorry for not updating the journal but there's simply no time. with the start of the semester work broke over me like a big wave. trying to spend the rest of the time that i'm not at the university with x. yesterday afternoon we went to the flora, a botanic garden in cologne. it was beautiful: lots of colorful blossoms, lots of surprising smells, lots of people. today: thomas' lecture on representation (trauma as challenging the borders of representation) and later the colloquium where we discussed althusser's view on ideology. later an informal meeting with bernd and then some more work for thomas. tomorrow: seminar. i haven't even prepared it properly. we will talk about let us compare mythologies. i'm a little nervous how it will go. then it's thomas' seminar on deleuze and american literature. haven't even finished reading the text for it: "on the superiority of anglo-american literature". reread the entry for april 26 2003. hm. sometimes i think that i DO have some talent. "and the sun pours down like honey on our lady in the harbor and she shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers..."