[october 01, 2003 - and i said let them, you just let them...]cedric called. "did you notice..." he asked me in an amused tone and refering to yesterday's entry about my meeting with princess superstar and x downtown "...that every romantic comedy features a scene in a book store?" hm - actually i hadn't. but suddenly i thought back to how the three of us were wandering through the piles of books and i thought that we might have looked like characters straight out of a woody allen comedy: urban middle aged semi-intellectual academics who are frustrated with their emotional lives.
[october 2, 2003 - with or withoutyouoho, i can't live with or without you]okay: shocking news: this song will never win the "innovative bass line" contest. so, what's new? here are a couple of things i would like to turn your attention to: october 7 is my birthday. so you better start mailing those presents in time. also if you're looking for a couple of expert tips on music and literature you should check out this link and this one. i'm not responsible for the content, though! ;o)
plan for tonight: watch the film "o brother where art thou" with nicole, have zwiebelkuchen and federweisser and afterwards a beer in a bar. i had to correct a couple of exam-essays. sigh. i hate to let people fail the test. and this is not meant in an ironic way. took some hollow earth articles home to have something to work on for the long weekend. tomorrow is a holiday in germany. yesterday thomas played style police again and started to complain about my clothes. he said: "you know, from the waist down you look okay: your new pants and the sneakers. but this turtle-neck sweater... i don't know. there MUST be a better way to dress..." and nina, my colleague wanted to help me but unfortunately said: "oh, i like it. he looks so ... hm ... trustful [vertrauensvoll] in it!" fortunately thomas stopped laughing ten minutes later when we were hunting the net for a beamer.
we have to spend the rest money from the budget by the end of the month,
so we decided to buy a beamer. the chair of prof. a. has just bought a
new one, so we asked gordon (who is working for prof. a.) whether we could
have a look at it. he set it up and as soon as thomas saw it he went: "no!
just look at it! it looks like it was from star treck!" "but thomas!" i
said, fascinated by the the remote control that i was just inspecting "...it
has an inbuilt LASER POINTER!" which convinced him for a couple of seconds.
he took the remote, jumped out into the corridor and pointed the beam all
the way down the hall "great!" he mumbled, "look, it reaches all the way
down to the library..." except when a student crossed it and had a small,
red dot on her back "...and it would go even further...!" but when he came
back into the office and saw the beamer standing on the table he shook
his head "no! it's too ugly!" so we looked in the net for some offers.
"this one seems to be okay" i suggested "it's strong and doesn't weigh too much and it has a reasonable price..."
"uh!" thomas groaned "it looks awful! what about this one? this one is cool! doesn't apple make beamers? i want an apple beamer? here, this one looks cool!" so we were selecting beamers for their style and design, rather than for their technical features.
the other day thomas asked cedric and me to compile two cds for him: a best of johnny cash and a best of fleetwood mac. actually they're not for him, but for his wife. which is pretty unusual, since she's usually listening to metallica, jane's addiction and pj harvey [my secret theory is that the cds are in fact for thomas and that he uses his wife only as an excuse to ask for some stevie nicks songs!]. so i've been compiling the fleetwood mac cd and cedric is working on the best of johnny cash. this just as an explanation for the "song of the month".
some ramblings from this morning:
"maybe" he thought on a gray and rainy morning at 8 am on his way to the subway station "maybe it's important to understand the longing as what it really is" he jumped over a puddle of water in his mind and in reality walked around it slowly, watched the children who were standing in groups in the schoolyard in "ironbound" fashion. "maybe" he thought while trying to push back the feeling of being light-years away from everyplace he ever wanted to get to into the depths of his mind that they had crawled from. "maybe are these longings are just a more or less random materialization of desires that just cannot be fulfilled for structural and ontological reasons..." he thought without really knowing how to use the word in the right way, the right context. "what if the longing to write songs is just a projection of a shapeshifting desire that will never come to rest and will take any other form as soon as i am actually writing songs????"
[october 3 & 4, 2003 - i'd like to meet you / in a timeless, placeless place / somewhere out of context / and beyond all consequences]note from the editor: we would like to inform you, dear reader, that there are no entries for october 3 and 4 because we don't have any information about the whereabouts of our protagonist and the circumstances of his vanishing. it almost seems as if he had dropped out of time for two entire days, as if he had been washed to a timeless, placeless place. the only note that we have gotten from him are the lyrics to a song by heather nova:
unfortunately we cannot provide more information than this rather cryptic message. all we can say is that he is probably well and unharmed.I'm coming, i'm coming home to you
I'm alive I'm a mess
I can't wait to get home to you
To get warm, warm and undressed
There've been changes beyond my dreams
Everybody wants me to sing
There've been changes beyond my grasp
Things are sinking in
So keep me, keep me
In your bed all day, all day
Nothing heals me like you do
Nothing heals me like you do
And when somebody knows you well
Well there's no comfort like that
And when somebody needs you
Well there's no drug like that
So keep me, keep me
In your bed all day, all day
Nothing heals me like you do
Keep me keep me
In your bed all day, all day
Nothing heals me like you do
[october 5, 2003 - i believe in the future / we shall suffer no more / maybe not in my lifetime / but in yours i feel sure]i slept for eleven hours. woke up at twelve. it's sunday. something about this room has changed. something is different. just the other moment the sun came shining into the room for a second and it fell on the bed and something was blinking there, like a single blonde line that had been fallen out of a poem. princess superstar called and invited me over for tonight. she will cook a pumpkin soup. :o)
listened to the live version of paul simon's "the cool, cool river" over the headphones with the volume turned up until it hurt. ended gasping for breath, hyperventilating, shaking, jumping and when the quiet chorus started the guitar poured all over my body like rain and when the horns set in they hit into my stomach and i was spitting my heart out.
i want to write a song. i SO desperately want to write a song. i should be glad about these moments because they show a certainty that is lacking from the rest of my life, the short realization what is important. i want to write a song. but of course i'll first sit down and correct a couple of hollow earth article pages because my bad conscience has grown so big that it covers half the sky, like a giant black balloon. i haven't worked anything the last three days! okay - it was a holiday, but still!
but of course before i worked on the hollow earth articles i made two cd-covers for the two compilations that cedric and i made for sahar, thomas' wife:
[october 7, 2003 - love me the way i love you]i know, i know. few words. i'm sorry. but there was quite a lot to do the last couple of days. preparing the seminar, working on the hollow earth articles, having coffee with thomas, working with thomas, having coffee with the princess and blaine. and let's be honest: rather, let ME be honest: there are more words and images whirling around in my head right now than i can manage :o)
seems like the online journal has reached a kind of border or limit. "you're in my blood like holy wine" joni is singing while the subway reaches the next station and sparks are flying up from the breaking wheels on the iron tracks like fireflies or shooting stars in a dark night. i could drink a case of you, darling. i kept thinking about this new situation and how to handle it. "the 3rd person is not a good idea" cedric said on the phone the other night. he's probably right. still the question about the basic nature of the journal remains: how to deal with a situation like this. before, reality folded over into fiction and now it almost seems as if fiction, the hopes and dreams bundled in the journal, has been folded over into reality.
anyway, it's my 31st birthday today. work was fun, and tonight i'm going to meet the princess in a bar and we'll have a beer. cedric called and tara called and basically it was just a very relaxed day, which was good. i'm 31. i can't manage too much excitement :o)
mood-o-meter: 6.3. the historic 5.0 mark has been cracked! still i'm a bit anxious and nervous what will happen, how things will develop. it's like someone had placed a beautiful but fragile piece of glass into my hands: if i hold it too tightly i will crack it and if i don't hold it tight enough it will slip and scatter on the floor.
[october 8, 2003 - big changes are coming. here they come. here they come!]from yesterday night: sitting in the café waiting for the princess. mood: excellent due to an infusion of fleetwood mac's "say you will" - i was almost tempted to sing along to it while entering the bar. it's cold and rainy outside: original german autumn weather. bad news for the party because i had secretly hoped to also use the balcony. but with that kind of weather it seems to be rather illusional to send the guests outside. i want to write a song. really!
"oh, we haven't heard THAT before the last days!" princess superstar said when she read what i had written while i was waiting for her. "then just write a song!"
i don't know: i almost seem to be ready for the new blumfeld cd. "die welt ist schön. mir geht es gut. ich lebe gern." but let's not exaggerate! had a long talk last night on the phone from 12 to 2:30 am. good conversation. warm words. warm feeling. longing. and then the best observation of the day: from waking up in the morning of my birthday until the very moment at night when the princess and i were sitting in the café and she mentioned somebody's name in a context i have already forgotten i did not waste a single thought on her! i did not even ask myself whether she would remember my birthday and be thinking about me. it just never crossed my mind the whole day until this very moment when the princess and i were sharing a bowl of stew and discussing the world and she mentioned her name and i suddenly thought: "oh yes...somebody..hm, wonder what she's doing now?" but wanna know what: frankly, my dear, i didn't give a damn! and actually i wanted to add a photo of arnold schwarzenegger because he has been elected governor of california today. but then i thought that i'd rather share with you my favorite photo of suzanne. spröde!?! phew!
it's night now and cold outside. i have turned up the heating for the first time since i've moved in - and it works! :o) it's cozy and warm and the candles are burning and i'm really looking forward to friday.
[october 9, 2003 - this is no ordinary love, no ordinary love]sade has been singing while i have been cleaning the apartment all day long, with little breaks in which i have been talking on the phone to princess superstar, cedric, nadine, x. and blaine. i also went shopping and bought some beer and wine and soft drinks. best news of the day: TARA WILL COME, TOO!
[later]hm, this is not really a day for a lot of words. it's twelve thirty at night. candles are burning and i have put on david gray's "white ladder" - bernd gave it to me a couple of months ago and it has been standing since in a dark corner of my cd shelf. i couldn't listen to it. i didn't want to listen to it. because on our last holiday in denmark in 2001 somebody and i used to listen to it all the time. and she had borrowed the cd from the guy she left me for two months later. but tonight the songs sound as if i listened to them for the first time. finally the past is starting to become the past. my favorite is "this year's love" - not for the lyrics, which are okay, but for the simplicity of the music and the melody. great track. music is so beautiful. i want to be a part of it. if music had a face it would have your eyes. i'm closer to happiness than i've been in years. why then is my heart so heavy as the three boxes of beer that i carried up the stairs today?
catherine gave me a nice present. it's a link.
by the way, the party tomorrow night will start an hour later than planned. so if you would like to join us, you're welcome! and here's what i had for dinner. actually i had bought the sweets for tomorrow. i should have known that they wouldn't survive the day. sigh. i HAVE to start eating some kind of healthy food. think i also could lose four or five pounds. aesthetics are crucial. aesthetics are essential. yes, even bodily aesthetics. i felt bad the other week, felt ashamed of my body. i should do some kind of work out. but i don't know when. there's so little time. also, i realize that i keep holding back something. that i'm afraid of losing something that i have just found by showing too much of myself. not just my not really attractive body, but also the less attractive sides of my personality. i'm thinking a lot about how to behave, about how to appear most desirable, most lovable. i'm not sure whether this is the best tactic. i should be "honest" from the start and stop acting some kind of role that is not part of my usual repertoire. does this make sense. it sounds more drastic than it is meant. no - i'm not disguising myself when i'm with you, i'm just trying to be the best i can. that's all. all i can offer. okay, by now it's 1:40 am and i need to sleep now. see you!
[october 10, 2003 - please forgive me if i act a little strange...]it's eleven in the morning. it's rather gray and cold outside.
Subject: i zimbraoh well, in the meantime it's six in the evening. i'm off to pick up tara in a couple of minutes. looking very much forward to tonight.
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 04:34:35 +0200
From: cedric <firstname.lastname@example.org>
concerning your latest entry to the online-journal (diary II):
YES! it makes sense!!!
p.s.: lookin' more than forward to tonight!!!
[october 11, 2003 - this year's love had better last]it's five in the evening. i'm soooo tired. washed the dishes today and whiped the floor, picked up the apartment and did the laundry. the party went okay. it went well, in fact. si here's who was there: tara & cedric, princess superstar, blaine, thomas, ute and gordon (colleagues), martin and his girlfriend alke, sirak and eva, catherine, katharina (a friend of the princess) and x.
it was great to see tara again. i hardly see her because she's in tübingen most of the time (which is at the other end of the world). thomas stayed until after midnight, which is highly unusual for him! got some great presents: tara & cedric had a very, very cool little organ for me. it's beautiful: it's got a late 60s look and an accordion sound. i already saw me using it on stage :o))) also they had a cd for me that cedric had compiled and tara brought a beautiful glass wind light and a paper bag from a bakery in tübingen. we had seen the advertisement for this bakery when i visited her and we had kept making fun about it because it shows a man dressed up as a bun. it looks utterly absurd and ridiculous: a bun with rabies... thomas had a book for me - entirely made of transparent paper, and a "bar aid" - a little mechanical box with recipe for cocktails. it will look pretty cool in my kitchen. x had made two cds for me plus a book with more cocktail recipes :o) the princess had two beautiful candles for me with religious (saints) images on them and martin had compiled a cd for me with some of his favorite tracks and all together they had gotten me a new cardigan that the princess had picked. looks great! but of course the biggest present was that they had all turned up. at first i feared that my apartment would be too small, but everybody was storming onto the balcony to smoke. princess superstar smoked three cigarettes although she had planned to quit smoking! and hadn't smoked for four days! the food was delicious. the princess had organized who would bring what and in the end we had more than anybody could eat or drink. the best thing was, though, that everybody got to know everybody. at two thirty in the morning only cedric & tara, the princess, x. and i were left. tara and cedric still had to drive to tara's parents' place and they gave the princess a lift home. x. stayed the night.
everybody kept making me compliments for my apartment. thomas kept making fun of me. thomas, blaine and cedric and i were talking about music and realizing once again that there's no point of agreement.
it's gotten dark outside. i'm feeling strangely melancholic. there's no reason to. i should be euphoric. something's pulling me out of the window. how am i supposed to manage all of this: to deliver what people demand and to make myself happy at the same time. i don't see how this is supposed to work. do you have to give up things? it looks like there's no other way than to give up and give in to what i only know the german word for: sachzwänge. maybe it's because i'm so tired. maybe it's because of the music. maybe it's because of the weather or because you're not here with me. here with me. here with me. dialogue this morning: "du riechst wie das glück..." and she: "das ist jean paul gaultier..." am i in love? do i want to be in love? i want forgiveness. i want forgiveness for the things i want to do but am not supposed to do. i don't know.
[later]it's 0:30. just realized that the paragraphs i wrote today sound a little strange. short sentences. lot's of spleling mistakes. strange syntax. hm-. talked to x., cedric and the princess on the phone. princess superstar isn't feeling very well, she's sad and tired and i wish there was a way to comfort her. the full moon is shining into the room and i haven't managed to do any work for the university today. had a fit of panic. drank two beers then. i don't know. i'm heading for the abyss with my eyes wide open. i'm very alone tonight. but i will slip under the covers now that still smell of you (or gaultier) and this will be a little comfort.
the photo of you as a baby makes me smile. you're laughing on it. and you're looking like you were unconditionally happy. you don't even mind the camera. i'm not someone who is romanticizing childhood, but it seems to me that this state of being unconditionally happy will never return again. it has gotten lost somewhere. although i am happy, i am sad. there's some permanent undercurrent of hurt or unfulfilled longing. it is absent from your eyes as a baby. there is no hurt in your laughter. it is a pure and simple laughter. free of fear about job, relationships and the future. there is no future in the photo. it's only present. there is a point as a young child when you lose the present. you stop thinking and feeling in terms of here and now and start feeling and thinking in terms of the past and the future. the presence melts into an abstract impossibility. it will only return when you die. when there is no future anymore and the one moment unfolds into an eternal presence. sometimes i long for my death. for the moment that i can let go of everything and be unconditionally happy again.
[october 12, 2003 - say you will, say you will...]the day has already ended. watching tv: "zimmer frei" die blöde riemann ist gast. schade. had hoped for someone intreresting. anyway. relaxed day. worked a little. slept a lot. kissed a little. tomorrow the semester will start again and on tuesday my seminar will start. i haven't prepared anything yet... who cares, i'll do this tomorrow.
[october 13, 2003]can't writew. i'm drunk. it's 23:17. the pruinces had come over and we watched a video. "noises off". we both got drunk (more or less) and now i've got to sleep because tomorrow's the seminar. the first session. i'm already nervous. i had to dig out an old videotape for thomas today from the "chaos/control:complexity" conference that i had helped to organize in 1998 in bielefeld. he neded the performance of "lecture on the weather" by john cage that chris shultis had staged. the "lecture" basically consits of twenty or more people reading text fragments from thoreau. and i had helped organize the concert and all my friends and had to help as well and thus in the beginning of the video tape of the event the camera fixes on somebody who is sitting there looking at her text and i saw this today and i didn't feel a thing :o) whoich was just a great thing. it was allrifght. it didn't matter. it was okay. no heavy heart, no bitter feelings.
[october 14, 2003 - it's you're birthday baby!]yo folks! welcome to another episode of "my life" - sitting at the pc, it's 22:11. drinking a mix of beer and coke. :o) just called my sister. it's her birthday today. there are serious topics to talk about: for example the song i'm listening to right now. it's called "not even stevie nicks" and it's really good and it's from the compilation that cedric made for my birthday and it makes me remember WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT: but i have to forget this! it's important. i HAVE to forget this otherwise things will have a very, very bad end. now: teenage fanclub: "mellow doubt" - great sound! I WANT TO WRITE A SONG AND RECORD IT AND RECORD IT AND SING IT AND SING IT. there's no news from thomas, the guy from the small label. he said he wanted to send me the record and the publishing contract - but i haven't heard from him for two months. i told you that i first believe it when i hold the finished cd in my hands.
anyway, don lennon is singing about set lists and in realized this morning how cleverly cedric had compiled the cd :o) it starts with steve buscemi (relates to the 200 lurkers song "trees lounge"), then david bowie, then neil young (who is in the chorus "singing with or without you" - which relates to the entry of october 2nd) then lou reed, then rebekka bakken & wolfgang muthspiel followed by can (which relates to holger czukai (??), a member of can whom cedric meets regularly in the supermarket in bad salzuflen - really! i've seen him, too!) then calexico is singing "not even stevie nicks", followed by the diva herself singing "silversprings", then johnny cash "i still miss someone" (which can be read relating to my formerly missing 'somebody'). then the mood is turning: teenage fanclub, then don lennon's "the night kramer met ann" (which relates to two people meeting each other and the beginning of an affair :o))))) : john cale's "wilderness approaching" - beautiful! a little manic but beautiful (relating to the wilderness that has recently approached my life - "leave the lights on in the front room and the door unlocked" great backing vocals! "wake me up when we get home, it'll be YOUR turn to rest!") then pulp's "i love life" (relating to my newly found pleasure in life), then götz alsmann "kommst du mit auf einen mokka?" (realating to seductive situations), then randy newman "falling in love" (which is related to the interview i read in DIE ZEIT in which newman stated that songwriting "ist wie fiebermessen") robert palmer "she makes my day" (relating to the late palmer and how cedric and i listened to the song the day after palmer had died on his car stereo with the volume turned up and the windows down while we were slowly driving over the parking lot of the supermarket where he used to meet holger czukai - and probably also relating to the new "she" :o)) then mcalmont & butler followed by udo jürgens (!!!) "immer wieder geht die sonne auf" (which means "i told you, things will get better and in no time you'll be happy again!") and then as the final song "tomorrow never dies" by mrs. crow.
[later]wanted to write much more but it's already almost twelve now (spend some time on the phone) and i've got to go to bed now. i'll write more tomorrow. promised. good night!
[october 16, 2003 - i'm your undercover lover, baby!]oh well. "promised!" von wegen! but i spent yesterday and today at the university, ten hours each. suddenly everything has to be done at once and at the same time. which feels good. it gives me the feeling of being needed. it gives me the feeling of having done something. okay: it's not writing a song or on my dissertation, but still it's a a fair amount of work for thomas (basically seminar and hollow earth related stuff). i went to his poetry lecture yesterday. inspiring! very inspiring. even though he kept complaining the last weeks that he didn't know anything about poetry, that he wasn't interested in poetry, that he hated poetry. but as soon as he started to talk - and he was talking freely for 90 minutes without having a manuscript - it was like someone had pulled a lever and after the first ten minutes he had convinced us all that poetry was THE genre, that it was the most fascinating thing in the world! everyone was intoxicated and filled with passion for poems. it was a miracle. like the sermon on the mountain. there is something irresistible about thomas when he teaches. something that you cannot withstand.
so, what else did i want to tell you? oh yes, having to do a lot of work also has it's bad sides. actually we (that is: the nerve bible: reiner, daniel and me) wanted to meet in bielefeld the next weekend to rehearse on friday and saturday and record three song in the studio on sunday: "cold smoke", "was one" and "headcrash". we wanted to use "headcrash" for a sampler called "soundz of the city" that is published annually featuring bands from bielefeld. but i just can't make it. i don't have the time or the money to travel to bielefeld and stay there and concentrate on the recordings. i don't know how to manage it. so i canceled it today. i mean imagine THIS! I am CANCELING studio recordings!!!! es ist soweit. eigentlich sollte es nie soweit kommen. ich bin ein bisschen traurig darüber. it makes me sad. the work is suddenly more important than the music. ich hoffe nicht, dass das schule macht. because i know that i will hate myself for this decision.
"and these streets, quiet as a sleeping army, send their battered dreams to heaven..."
[october 18, 2003 - so i'm back to the velvet underground. back to the floor that i love. to a room with some lace and paperflowers. back to the gypsy that i was, to the gypsy]saturday night, almost midnight. princess superstar has just left. we've been watching "sunset boulevard" - what a magnificent movie! and what a breathtaking performance by gloria swanson! the last days were packed with work and other things. i'm still at a loss to explain how my life could have taken such a swift and complete turn from being miserably alone to being, well, not alone anymore. to being desired. and to desire. and to being waken by a kiss, a wild waterfall of blonde hair on the pillow, having pomegranate for breakfast in bed. i still have a hard time to come to terms with the new situation. what is this? fate? happiness? reward for the two years of suffering? just a dream? is this MY life? where are the bad news?
was in x.'s apartment for the first time today. it was strangely familiar. dried roses, some lace and paper flowers. cool pieces of furniture. fin-de-siecle posters and mirrors on the wall. view into green trees, blue sky and red brick walls. my heart is breaking with the wish to DO something. have a chord pattern, add some lyrics and record everything. no, nothing that you "just do" - i don't know. do you know what i mean? where does this obsession with creation come from??? i don't know: i want to make a film or a record, write a book or direct a video. i want to DO something. i want to make something of beauty, an object, putting that which has nested inside of me into the world. mirroring of what i feel when i'm listening to this song or that, read this text or watch that movie. to materialize in some way what other things call up. does this make sense? it's like somebody would connect me to a high voltage wire and the current is charging me up until sparks are flying from the top of my hair and i need to find some form of expression for this overload of energy. i can't stop being overjoyed. this is the most important thing. this is the meaning of life: to find an expression of the overload of beauty, sadness, joy.
"leave the lights on in the front room, and the door unlocked. you want them to see all that you've got. wake me up when we get home. it will be your turn to rest."
[october 20, 2003 - and it all comes down to you...]found a great new chord pattern. the fourth now. could need three weeks of writing time. it's monday night, past ten. i'm tired. didn't have a lot of sleep last night and got up pretty early because she was scheduled for the morning shift. so i got up as well when she had left and was at the university at nine. unfortunately thomas wasn't there to notice that i had turned up for work so early. he didn't show up all day.
prepared the seminar for tomorrow - i'm a little nervous. had lunch with blaine and eva. met the princess but wasn't in a very talkative mood. copied some texts and then went home. did the laundry and fell asleep while watching spongebob. realized that i have gained weight. not good. not good. guess i'll start have to watch a little what i eat. or maybe i DO have to go to the gym after all. unfortunately there's no chance to do any long walks in the woods here in cologne. this was the one advantage of living in bielefeld. i crossed the street and was in nature. or as close to nature as you can get in a postmodern world. here there are only streets. hm - actually i like streets. they're much more interesting than the woods. maybe i should walk back home from work each day.
angelina mailed the other day [see the entries for june, july and august 2002] and she wrote that she was sorry for "being nasty last year". didn't have the time to answer, yet. listened to some of paula's poems yesterday. i HAVE to write to her. there was this one line that had fascinated me from my first reading it and it goes: "when god is here i stand in front of him - i can't move". and this is probably as concise a description of "being overjoyed" as you can give.
[october 21, 2003 - i've pulled myself clear inside...]i'm home after another 9 hours day at the university. fortunately i managed to do quite a couple of things: corrected hollow earth articles, prepared and did the seminar, had office hours, corrected more articles. the seminar went well, i think. it's hard to say this just as it's hard to say whether a gig went well or not. sometimes audience and non-audience have quite different impressions of the same event. there is a native speaker in my course - which made me sweat because my spoken english is even worse than my written one. you know, i've never spent time in an english speaking country so i was standing there today constantly reflecting on what i ahd just said and whether this was correct and censoring myself so that i wouldn't start a sentence that i then cannot finish. i've got 40 students now, and most of them were pretty attentive and even participated in the discussion.
when i had office hours another student that had handed in a term paper that she had copied from the internet came to fetch it and get a schein. she had even added a signed post scriptum to her essay that said that she had given all references and that she had written the paper herself! so when she came in i asked her to take a seat and gave her a "6" (which means "failed") and said: "well, i thought it was strange that you had added this ps to your paper while at the same time copying the entire paper from the internet" - which she didn't really answered anything to. i filled out her schein and i couldn't really write because i was so nervous, well, not exactly nervous but kind of tensed that my hands were trembling. i couldn't write properly anymore and i think i was more nervous than the poor student was. well, not poor student. it's her own fault.
but then the good news: the new beamer arrived today. hooray! it was magic. achim opened the cardboard box (because it was his birthday yesterday) and out came the most beautifully designed piece of technical equipment that you can imagine! thomas, achim and i stood around the table on which we carefully placed it, in awe and wonder, speechless, and thomas' eyes were glistening like those of a child's on christmas eve. we have no idea whether it works properly, because all we didn't really connect a video recorder or laptop to it. all we did was turning it on and turning it off again, being fascinated by the "intelligent automatic setup" that made it move automatically, adjusting the lens and pulling out the front feet of the beamer via a small motor so that it was tilted backwards slightly. beautiful! thomas placed his mobile phone (which has a similar design) onto the beamer to create a kind of technical "still life", then stepped back, tilted his head and looked at his arrangement: great!" he sighed.
i don't know. it's so hard to say anything about thomas. he can't really be represented. i talked with the princess about this on the way to her apartment (she had invited me for dinner tonight). i said: you know, it's so strange, but i cannot really say anything about thomas. it's hard to describe but all the things that happen or that he makes happen can't really be described with language. they don't function once they are fixed in words. like the story with the staff meeting. he said to me the other week that we would have to have a staff meeting at the beginning of the semester. "wednesday at 12" he said to me. but wednesday at 12 is his lecture on poetry! thank god achim thought about this. so we said: wednesday at one. and i wrote everybody an email, telling them about the staff meeting. and today, one day before the meeting, thomas was in our office when achim said: "oh yes, tomorrow at one is the staff meeting!" and thomas turned around and said: "wednesday at one?! that's impossible - i have exams then!" so i had to notify everybody and tell them that the meeting has been postponed.
or the story with the book that he had lend from the library and which had to be returned. nina asked hanjo where the book was (because he had lend it) and he said: "i don't have it?! what book?! i don't have any book?" so nina and searched our entire office while thomas said: "I'll have a look in my office as well" and returned and said "no, no book! i told you i don't have it!" but two hours later, when nina had already left, he came storming into our office and in his hands he had the book we'd been searching for. "don't tell her i had it" he said to me while placing it onto nina's desk "tell her that it was underneath those folders..." and i instantly recognized the book: it had been laying for two weeks onto his desk. right on top. right in front of him.
"you know" the princess said when we were sitting in the underground and i had told her the two thomas-stories, " maybe it would be good if thomas had one single person who accompanies him each day and who is organizing these things for him like dates and books and stuff?" and i answered: "yes, you know what these people are called? they're called zivildienstleistender."
and then i went on to complain that all these stories cannot really be narrated because they're simply not funny when you write about them. thomas is not somebody that you can describe with words. you have to KNOW him: how he's moving, how he's talking, how he's thinking. he can't be represented. "but" she replied "isn't this the case with most of the Great Things? that you cannot say anything about them?" and the doors of the train where hissing while they were opening and the two of us were stepping into the cold night air. "hm, i wouldn't go so far as to compare thomas with something sublime or the lacanian real..." i mumbled. "but maybe a car accident" she thought aloud. "maybe something traumatic like an accident: you get a shock and there's debris everywhere, and it all happens very quickly and when it's over you're asking yourself: what the hell was that?!?" and i guess she's right. thomas is kind of a car crash.
boy, i've just opened my third bottle of beer. i'm turning into an alcoholic! there's so much beer left from the housewarming party and i think i tried to make myself forget my dissertation and the future with the help of some beers almost every night of the previous week! not good.
[october 22, 2003 - ...room lurching]another busy day at the university. quiet evening, though. went shopping, washed the dishes, picked up the apartment. x will come over tonight. realized that i need a second blanket. talked to reiner on the phone this evening and told him that i probably won't come to bielefeld until christmas. it was a sad and difficult conversation. i need to pick two days of the week that will be my dissertation-days. days that i will keep exclusively for writing about cohen. maybe thursdays and fridays? and i should start THIS week. something has to happen. the other miracle - and there is no other term to describe it - that has happened should teach me that the seemingly impossible things ARE possible.
[october 23, 2003 - quoth the raven: nevermore]tuesday night. sitting at the computer, candles burning, heating turned on. it's bitterly cold outside. and dark. thomas' voice is echoing through the room. i have taped the poetry-lecture yesterday because princess superstar has chosen poetry as one of her oral exam topics and she couldn't be at the lecture yesterday - so i recorded it for her. the lecture is about poe's "philosophy of composition". it was great! when i told x about it she said: "...and you had tears in your eyes" and i said: "i had." because i had. i have read "philosophy of composition" a lot of times, i've taught the text in my own seminar, but seeing thomas "performing" it, getting all excited about the rhetoric beauty and boldness of the text was just ... inspiring and moving. although i knew the text (and i hasn't ever moved me to tears) and although i know thomas (and he has never moved me to tears either) the combination of both, of text and thomas, of rhetoric and car crash, made my eyes fill with water. i know it's crazy.
i'm tired. x had spent the night at my place and i didn't really get a lot of sleep. also we got up fairly early this morning to be at the university in time. bernd is back from the states, which is good! we had an extended coffee break. then in the colloquium the topic was nietzsche's on truth and lies in an extramoral sense. i didn't say a word - as usual - but when i had prepared the text yesterday i had marked the same quotations that thomas pointed us to and i had also foreseen how you could map nietzsche's terminology on deleuze and guattari and vice versa. after the course thomas asked me whether i wanted to have the flat screen monitor from his office - he's not using it anymore since he's working on the laptop all the time! YEAH!
then on the way back home a thought caught up with me: when the reason to make a song, in the first place, had been that it (the song) would 'earn me' some love, then why has the wish to make songs not vanished, now that i receive love. even receive it without "having to write" songs for it. i get it for free. but STILL that wish hasn't ceased circulating in my system. maybe there is some other value that goes beyond the song's exchange value for love, maybe there's some other value attached to it, maybe it has some intrinsic worth? does this make sense?
[october 24, 2003 - part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time...]it's gotten really, really cold. was wearing my winter coat on the way to work. considering that i only get paid for 19 hours a week i'm at the university quite a lot - like right now for example. i knew that i'd be hanging around here much more once i had moved to cologne.
my thoughts are oscillating back and forth like a badly tuned sine curve. "don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?" the possibility of losing has opened itself like an abyss yesterday suddenly and unexpectedly and makes me realize how far i have been sailing into dangerous waters that i had planned to avoid. "there's always a siren singing you to shipwreck..." perhaps i'm just overestimating situations or terms. and i cannot even really tell you about it except in metaphors and images. but the fear that someone i've been sailing with will return into a familiar harbor makes my blood rush twice as madly as usual. "i thought my heart had mastered the runs of this sea, but they appear not to care about calming lately..." and just to come from the sublime to the ridiculous - the other day i suddenly had this image in my head - that the situation is so very much like in "Ally McBeal": when i stopped watching the series there was an unlikely relationship between the comical and rather odd john cage (with whom i have always identified, by the way) and the stunningly beautiful nelle porter. and i think that my life bears some uncanny resemblance to this...
[later]entwarnung :o). mental note: ask cedric whether he has already noticed the song "the wolf that lives in lindsey" by joni mitchell on misses, originally released on mingus...
[october 26, 2003 - listen, there's strains of benny goodman coming through the snow and the pinewood trees...]it's a gray and rainy autumn sunday evening. the chromatic scale of the leaves is more and more tending from green to brown and yellow. in the past days, the mood-o-meter has reached historical heights that were unknown before. now, of course this is an oversimplification, but i think you can divide my life into three spheres: work|music|private. and at least in one of these spheres i am sort of totally happy. disturbingly happy, even. it's like there's something wrong. it's like this was not for me. like it all was a mistake, a parcel delivered to the wrong address and every moment the door bell will ring and the mailman will say: "sorry, pal, you'll have to give it back...!!" and i'm holding on to it, clutching it, muttering "no! no! no!!!"
met with x on friday night and she stayed until yesterday noon. then i went shopping with princess superstar: i bought an additional blanket for my bed [:o)] and sheets for this blanket and also sport-pants because the princess has convinced me to check out her gym. sigh. i don't think that i'm gym compatible... anyway, yesterday night x asked me to come over for dinner and i stayed until noon today. this just as a rough time-line for the anecdotes that i'll be attaching to it now...
so on friday night x and i were sitting in a bar|restaurant eating crêpes, and for some reason i was telling her about the princess and that she has just registered to do her final exams and that she needed a photo for this and that she had given me a spare one and i showed her the photo that i was carrying in my purse. [by the way, princess superstar and x are good friends. in fact, x was the only of the princess' friends that she did NOT try to match me with...] anyway, so i was opening my purse, showing the photo to x and below the photo was a piece of paper that somebody had once given me with a little heart painted on it and the words "for you". i've been carrying it around with me since she had given it to me and somehow i could not throw it away even when we broke up. "and what's this?" x asked me then, pointing at somebody's writing. and i only said "something i don't need anymore" and took the paper and tore it apart and threw it into the ashtray. and it didn't feel much different than throwing away an old check.
when i was shopping with the princess i also bought a lichterkette, a light chain, you know, these things you use to decorate the christmas tree - only smaller. and with just ten light. i love light chains. my entire apartment is lit by them: the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom|study. i bought this new one for the office :o)))))))) which will earn me a lot of nasty commentaries from thomas but hey - i spend a LOT of time in the office now that i live in cologne and the days are getting shorter and shorter, so some homely atmosphere in the office is not too much to asked for!
when i came into x's apartment yesterday night she had also switched on some light chains. after we had dinner we sat in front of her cd-rack and she played some music to me that she's fond of: metallica, nine inch nails, rage against the machine, prodigy, led zeppelin, beastie boys. i was a little ... hm ... disturbed. and i had given her a belle & sebastian cd when we got to know each other! "maybe you can understand now why i, after listening to it for the first time, said that the 200 lurkers cd is not exactly my cup of tea..." she said.
after i had recovered from the cultural shock we spent most of the evening on her sofa and while i was looking around through her apartment i had these very paradoxical impressions: it was like having a déjà vu of something that was actually totally different. hm, hard to explain. it was like something that i had known before - and still it was totally new. same and different at the same time. i was reminded of how i was at somebody's apartment for the first time, but this memory didn't really have anything to do with the situation now. and still there was this connection. the unfamiliar apartment, that is familiar somehow. suddenly diving into the life of a person that i know only for a short time but who still feels to be so close and familiar. does this make any sense?
and then i realized that, right at that very moment, something very important was happening. i truly let go. there were some big changes going on within me almost unconsciously. certain impressions and feeling and emotions that were still attached to a certain person loosened and became more abstract and dynamic and able to float around and being attached to another person. like in an experiment in physic, when you have a salty solution and there's a piece of iron hanging in the water that is charged with a particular current and all the particles in the water are drawn to it, accumulate around it and form little crystal cubes. and now there was suddenly another pole in the water, another charged piece of iron. and the particles which had been attached to the old pole (that had gotten rusty and had lost its charge) are now wandering through the water to the new pole and form different crystals. although they're the same particles and the morphogenetic plan that lets them form crystals is the same, the structure is a different one. maybe tighter. maybe more solid. maybe more beautiful.
[october 27, 2003 - hip teens don't wear blue jeans]when blane, thomas and i were hanging out in the cafeteria this afternoon, thomas suddenly said "you know, the professors in the american history department [that is, prof. f. (compare entry for july 27, 2003)] are having an 'open house' party each semester: everybody can come by and have a beer and talk. i wasn't there but someone told me that apparently this time two pressing questions dominated the evening, two major topics were discussed: the first one was that prof f. and i are berufsjugendliche - professional youths..." blane and i nodded in agreement. "...and the second topic was my sexual orientation." i had to laugh and said: "excuse me?!?" and thomas explained "yes, the students asked whether i was gay..." and i said "well, that's quite absurd, isn't it. i don't know anybody who looks and acts 'straighter' than you!" and blane agreed and said "yes, how on earth did they get the idea that you could be gay?" and thomas looked at me, grinned and said "because YOU are working for me!" i stopped laughing. "EXCUSE ME?" i cried out and couldn't believe it! people think that thomas is gay because he has a gay assistant! only: i am NOT gay. blane was laughing his head off. "something's going VERY wrong..." i muttered and poured down the rest of my coffee.
[october 28, 2003 - looking for a kiss...]the great string coda of reed's "vanishing act" is echoing through the office. it's 19:40, i'm still at work correcting THE MENKE!! while i was inserting some helpless corrections into the article i received four mails within half an hour, all of them postings by suzanne to undertow. and it felt strange to sit here in the dim light of the lichterkette and the flat screen, with aching eyes and hurting back, trying to bring that fucking menke article into a readable format while knowing that on the opposite side of the world suzanne was sitting at her pc, posting. it was some sort of convergence of ... i don't know, as if we were in the same place at the same time. as if she was just one door away, sitting in the next room. a shared presence. i'm sorry, i'm dreaming. but it made me remember that i haven't written a song in a loooong time and that my plan to become a member of her band and have my record produced by her has not really been successful. yet.
when i was having a coffee break with thomas and nina today, she told about her husband who is teaching in bonn and that he was doing a seminar on immanuel kant and that he had asked the students: "who was kant?" and then one student answered: "wasn't he the one who said i think therefore i am?" and then thomas told us a little anecdote about he once visited a seminar when he still was a student [before the war... ;o)]: "at the beginning of one session the professor asked us what we had talked about in the previous week and i said: 'kant' - but the guy was a native speaker and just looked at me outraged and shouted: 'WHAT!?' and since that time i'm always taking care to say 'immanuel kant'..."
[october 29, 2003 - ]got up at 5:30 in the morning because i couldn't sleep anymore. was worried. cannot tell you about what because, well, because i just can't. it's half past eight now and i'm off tow work.
next monday is thomas' birthday. sigh. i don't have any idea what i could get him as a present. i would really appreciate any idea from your side! so, if you know anything that would be suitable for the birthday of a pathologically young pre-midlife crisis intellectual and aging hipster who is into thomas pynchon and beyonce and whose motto is "es gibt ein 'zu viel' an sensibilität!" then please let me know!!
[october 31, 2003 - structure is dynamics slowed down to zero...]it's friday night already. last day of the month. i'm sorry for not updating the journal regularly. a lot of things have happened. i'm too tired to put them down tonight. i think i'll do it tomorrow, with a clear, new month to start.