Thursday, June 01, 2006

It is hard not to feel like I am living in wreckage. Not even filth, not squalor- although damn but I am going to need some drain cleaner and some sealant before I move out of this house, 1720 Brawne Avenue (last rent check is in the mailbox, with a notice of our moving out enclosed), but wreckage, some kind of collapse. I am listening to Lightning Bolt, and the floor's littered with newspapers because of the screenprinting, and I'm looking at a lot of Fort Thunder stuff, reading interviews with those dudes, and yeah I feel like some kind of monkey wandering about in a postapocalyptic landscape.

Me and Alex are both doing experimental animations. I don't know about him, but I feel like we're foraging through some kind of wilderness, some kind of uncharted space. Or alternately, like I'm bombing urban areas in some kind of attempt at terraforming.

It's pretty consuming. I didn't get into SOS Media, and I'm not really looking at other classes, or applying to stuff- I don't have much of a portfolio, and won't until this thing is done. I am living in the moment, and that puts a good deal on the backburner- Including this novel, sadly, and the live-action film, but- whatever, in the moment, doing something small, that will be finished. Lest credit be lost. Speaking of lost credit- I've got to rewrite this paper I handed in, as the teacher thought some of it was unclear, and not long enough- There's like a page of digressions about where my head is located that I gave a film a reading which differs from most, that I kind of consider the heart of the piece. Partly I didn't have a lot to say, and so I stream-of-consciousness rambled in an attempt to hit at something larger. Partly it's a boredom with the form of the academic essay. I don't want to rewrite it, because of this larger animation thing being so time-consuming and genuinely rewarding- I can't imagine I'd write an academic essay I'd be proud of, especially if it's a second draft of something weirder.

I've been thinking, as I was thinking last year, about stopping reading comics for a year. To let my head breathe out, get that influence a bit less direct, cut down on distraction. I'm still convinced it's a good idea. I'd think like a normal person, for a while. But the issue becomes- Well partly the issue is the weird comics-becoming-more-mainstream-with-my-peer-set thing, that to stop wouldn't necessarily make me more normal, so much as make me feel like I'm part of some backlash. It's doing the animation that makes me wary, really- The work being what it is is a result of my engagement with that world, and it feels weird to withdraw. I read comics and listen to music and watch movies and keep up with all these things out of some quest for the newest-latest. The idea is that by being aware of everything, I'll be able to make what I do super-awesome, as it will be informed by things that not everyone is taking inspiration from.

Today I wished out loud that there was a program at Evergreen that would do such things, actually be interdisciplinary in a way that made sense in the context of a liberal arts school- Put music creation and painting all jumbled together in movie-making, to inform a sense of structure and composition. I've been thinking, and this thinking, too, is inspired by the whole Fort Thunder/Paper Rad thing- that the only way to exist as an artist making weird art is to make a whole lot of it, in a variety of different mediums, so people who don't necessarily care about your work in one medium would care because they knew you from another, etc. I can't imagine just writing stories and having people care, because no one would know who I was. But if I did that and made films, my name would be out there in two different circles, and if someone heard my name in both contexts, I would then have a greater presence in someone's mind. To say nothing of the fact that you can express different sentiments in different mediums, and that working in all the mediums that interested you would be able to express yourself more fully.

So that's one idea. But then there's the other idea- that if I skipped a year of comics, when I came back, the cream will have risen to the top, so to speak. I wouldn't waste money chasing things that ended up being mediocre. And in the lack of the chase, I'd air out my head, and be more myself as a person rather than a set of influences from comics, and I'd have more to say. But the question then is how much of myself is that quest for the new? The answer, at least now, is "pretty much all of it." And that's, you know, kind of disturbing, in that in tends to manifest itself in being unable to talk to people about actual events. There's a part of me that would like to be, if not a "normal" person, than a "real" one, whose ideas mostly stem from actual life experiences.

Sometimes I think that people that aren't always out and aware of the newest things are boring. Other times I hate how this seems a lot like hipsterism. I don't know. Is my head a strong enough structure that if I remove the bricks under which the bridge is built, it will lean into itself in such a way as to stay standing? That's the question I'm asking myself now, mostly. That and the question of what constitutes a normal person.

Paper Rad is great. I heard about that this past year, I think, by way of being comics-world-engaged. Had I been more on the ball I would've heard about that and Fort Thunder ages ago. In the quest for the newest-latest, I am not the most on-point.

Sorry this is so digressive. This is what happens when I don't write a blog with any frequency. I need to get back in the habit.

Here's an event from my actual life. It's old, but I think it relates to my wilderness feelings described earlier. About a month ago, I was at a bookstore in downtown Olympia, paging through a copy of We All Die Alone, the book of Mark Newgarden cartoons I've discussed in the past. There's some essays and stuff- context is provided. And there's some talk about Newgarden's work for Topp's in the eighties, being at this novelty company and just throwing stuff out there at this time that, in the words of the interviewee, culture was dead. And as I was walking up the path to my house, I thought about that, the concept of culture dying, whether it could happen again. I took the optimistic view, the type espoused by those that believe that time and history is speeding up, and information is growing and will at some point (2012) just be doubling every second or something impossibly ridiculous. And I thought to myself, no, culture won't be dying.

And then I stepped out off the path, onto the little square of blacktop that serves as my driveway, where one of the neighbor kids was hitting the ground with some piece of rock or metal, repeatedly.

Since that day, that's pretty much my new metaphor for things that don't really do anything besides negate themselves- I used it to describe sound poetry in class the other day, in a story I'm not going to get into.

Mostly I am thinking about the wilderness.

Oh, and people have died. Alex Toth, the cartoonist, and John Dolph, a guy around my age that went to the same church as me back in New Jersey. Sad fact is that I had a more visceral reaction to the news of Toth's death, whisper-yelling "Fuck!" than that of the person I actually knew but was never all that close too, although I liked him.

I don't have a ticket back to Philadelphia. I plan to take a sojourn by bus across these United States. What I do have a ticket for is a Boredoms/Lightning Bolt show on June 30th. Now it is June 1st. So that's- I've been like this for a while now, having these thoughts and these worries and these distractions, but now I guess the end is near, and all will be sorted by then. Perhaps I will sort out some shit here. Perhaps I will sort shit out as well in this book I'm supposed to be writing.

At the end of this month I will be twenty-one, I'm hoping the birthday comes with me in a traincar, eyes looking out at America, pounding sentences into holes shaped like novels and approaching epiphany.

I've had mushrooms offered me but I've been declining due to the being busy. Which might seem like something some uptight boring person who would have a bad trip would do. But this past Sunday, a girl with massage training put her hand on my shoulder and grabbed at the muscles. She found no tension being carried. Because I put it all out there, was what someone standing nearby proposed when this observation was made aloud. And I was like "Cool" and then I explained that do to my lack of tension, all she was doing, basically, was pinching my shoulder in a way that was fairly uncomfortable.

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