“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
- Franz Kafka
The start of an almost 3 month vacation from law school has ushered in a fairly huge amount of time to devout myself into nothingness. And as a person who is not well endowed monetarily, the idea of a getaway vacation to far-flung lands and waters is out of the window. Furthermore, I am probably that type of (douche bag) person that prefers solitude in his hierarchy of demands (which is probably two notches lower; below internet and sleep). No, I have not felt lonely, or emo, or suicidal over it, nor do find this societal lapse welcoming. Bukowski sums up my thoughts with lyrical grace: “Being alone never felt right. It felt good, but it never felt right.”
Incidentally, Bukowski was my first read for the summer. ‘More Notes of a Dirty Old Man: The Uncollected Columns’. In a nutshell, it is a collection of clippings of Charles Bukowski’s prose from the newspaper where he writes about the most mundane of things (isolation, appearances, labor, drinking, love, fucking etc.) by using his signature style, to wit:
“It’s a world, it’s a world of potential suicides, well, I speak mostly of the United States, I don’t know the rest, but it’s a place of potential and actual suicides and hundreds and thousands of lonely women, women just aching for companionship, and then there are the men, going mad, masturbating, dreaming, hundreds and thousands of men going mad for sex or love or anything, meanwhile, all these people, the love-lost, the sex-lost, the suicide-driven, they’re all working these dull soul-sucking jobs that twist their face like rotten lemons and pinch their spirits, out, out, out…
Somewhere in the structure of our society it is impossible for these people to contact each other.” (Bukowski, 2011)
Classic transgressive literature pulp action hero and probably one of the most proverbial poets from the gutters. This dude knew loneliness from the individual ticks of a clock. He also knew love by looking through every bottom of a bottle.
Jump to Filpiniana literature. Nick Joaquin with ‘The Woman who had Two Navels’. After rigorous chewing and endless digestion of it’s plot, lyric, style and overall thingamajig, the whole endeavor can be summed up by my friend jzhunagev from Goodreads.com (yep, I have no idea who the dude is) “The Woman Who Had Two Navels is a many-layered, chaotic and less-than-perfect novel that taunts out universal paradoxes of truth and falsehood blah blah blah blah blah…”
A passage, however, from Joaquin’s work caught my eye with respect to how ideals and rules interact with human nature, namely:
“’And the rules,’ said Father Tony ‘are more important than people. Truth and freedom are more important than people. Everyone must keep his eyes open; everyone must stay awake – even if it kills them. We know what’s good for them; truth and freedom are good for them and must be rammed down their throats.
And so we forced that girl to choose, we forced her to open her eyes – and it was more than she could bear. Now she’s dead (Spoiler alert: she didn’t, bitch eloped with another guy). But we – oh we feel perfectly justified. Because what we believe in is far bigger than that poor girl’s mess of a life (Spoiler alert: bitching intensifies), isn’t it?
And we’d rather have her dead than have our rules placed in question, wouldn’t we?’” (Joaquin, 2010)
At the risk of sounding like a self-conceited know-it-all, I am that guy who invests a great deal of faith and trust in the bureaucracy and government, I believe that there should be a central authority which imposes specific rules of conduct to ensure a peaceful, secure and relatively longer life for its constituents. (Case at point: Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan)
Jump back to foreign literature.
“Give me release.
I’m tired of this world of appearances. Pigs that only look fat. Families that look happy.
Give me deliverance.
From what only looks like generosity. What only looks like love.” (Palahniuk, 2012)
Picking a favorite quote or passage from this book was very, very difficult. The whole book was a huge quotation in itself. Ask me again while thumb-screwing my junk after getting OD’d on Viagra, and I would probably still say that picking a favorite quote or passage from this book was very, very difficult. (On a different but somehow related note: Did you know that the song ‘Clockwatching’ [which incidentally is the title of this post] by Jason Mraz talks about jerking off? You didn’t, didn’t you? MIND = BLOWN)
Enough with the prologue.
This is my Do-It-Yourself (mutherfucker) bookshelf recently installed inside my room.
In my defense, the projected color we asked from our neighborhood hardware store was a Spanish shade of red (Please kindly see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_of_red#Spanish_red it really does exist) but ended up with something of a pinkish, fuchsia color. While doing the paint job, we were under the pretense that we had to coat the wood multiple times to acquire the desired results. But as it turned out, it was rather all in vain.
Nevertheless, we carried on. We continued coating the wood with mutherfucking fuchsia pink, evened out the paint from the mutherfucking shelves, let out to mutherfucking dry, cover it when it mutherfucking rains, then carry the heavy mutherfucker inside my room to nail and install.
My whole room reeks of mutherfucking pink fuchsia up to now.
But I look at it every now and then. I look at it before I sleep. I check on it before I pee in the morning. I caress its smooth pink fuchsia spine as if checking whether its back can handle the weight of the books it carries on a daily basis. And every time I pull out a book for perusal, my fingertips straddle over an individual shelf, each individual nerve ending giving off a pulse to my brain. A past memory. This sounds absurd since fingertips and nerve endings are not capable of recall, let alone the ability to snap and store little photographs. But here it is, calloused fingertips that have found comfort in the pink fuchsia bookshelf’s strangeness.
Sometimes the things we create, before we even begin to create them, we set high standards to hurdle. We have this conceited inkling to give off a noticeable nudge to a light push to set our creation onto the right course. We bathe them in the shadows of our past; we feed them the same broken glass promises that we have once chewed and spit. We glorify them with the prejudices that our eyes have mirrored upon to see and focus, and condemn their whole person when they try to create their own path – their own destiny.
But sometimes we compromise. Out of love. Out of compassion. Out of the realization that the mirrors we’ve used to see how righteous we are, only shows backwards anyway.
Bukowski, C. (2011). More Notes of a Dirty Old Man: The Uncollected Columns.
Joaquin, N. (2010). The Woman who had Two Navels.
Palahniuk, C. (2012). Invisible Monsters Remix.