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Contra the Aborted Missive

Posted 10 March 2005, 11.41 am by Waldo

Before this last century, I’ve been told, there was this idea that art was a construct and one for communication. The artist with a head laden with ideas and images worked them into a piece. Intended for consumption but, more than that, to impart a world-view or a view of the world at least. The artist intended something, however trite, and the viewer and critic would piece it out. There was joy in the discovery of what was meant, same as finding a truly Roman corpse thought lost. Art has lost something.

Metaphors weren’t dirty words yet and cigars never cigars, pipes always pipes. “What could he have meant by a swaaaaaaaaan.” and such, the puzzling out of imagery was done from the perspective of that artist, forget how dead and buried he remained or the losses sustained by his culture. The transpositioning of self for artist reveling a new world to inhabit if briefly or poorly.

Now we’ve murdered the artist, rubbed them out of their picture, to make room for our selves. The art is solely in the eye of the beholder. Gone any attempt to assume the artist’s perspective in favor of ours. Egoism from then on then, what the thing means to you, with your cultural norms and prerogatives. The Venus de Milo is a chick missing her arms and, while beautiful, has surely lost something in its exposure to the pop world. There’s a missing piece when history’s discarded from the piece, when the thing is reduced from an icon to a reflection of one human’s history and psychology. Taken out of context, what can any of the great master’s works be but ‘pretty?’ Twain reduced to comedy with some ‘odd bits’ to be re-interpreted or ignored as the reader so wishes. And what of that bible!

Something is lost with subjectivity, something thought, once at least, to be vital to any artistic endeavor: Actual Meaning. And with that, any sort of emotion evoked by the artist in favor of whatever work the viewer would wish to do with the piece in their narrow, petty world. The piece is identified with the viewer rather than viewer identifying with the creator. We’re all tiny, self-centered universes.

With the personal supplanting the actual, art is an act of no more consequence than a heap of filth in an alley, being pawed by homeless and dogs (and that will certainly be called art!) so where’s the joy in creation? Where’s the artist? Dead and buried in a world of egotistical me-firsts. Surrounded by everything-everything art. Found-art and accidental art. The death of art, long live art. Rather than artists we’re made provokers now, ‘artists’ unconcerned with expressing themselves so much as playing with their audience and degrading everything to level the playing-field. Voyeurs in their own lives, every one of us.

Lovely, just lovely. And as self-important as ever.

Consequences.

Posted 9 March 2005, 9.06 pm by Villager

I hadn't planned for fatherhood just yet. In recent times I have even been inclined to take precautions against such an outcome, especially given my lack of a viable long term relationship. Nine weeks ago I began a relationship with a teacher in my English department (not one of my teachers). Cliché, I know, but when we met neither of us were aware of our common occupation. Eight years my senior, she is married, has a single child and a loveless relationship with her husband. She commutes from Newcastle (about two hours' drive), and stays over frequently. At no time has this relationship been intended to have a long term future. Her name is Kate.

Imagine my surprise when she summoned me and told me that she is pregnant. There was no prelude, no period of suspense while a test was taken, just the news, already an established and irrefutable fact. My first feelings were of surprise, as precautions had almost always been taken, and then deflation, as the inadequacy of those partial measures became apparent. We sat for some time in silence, her sullen, me mulling over the situation and all its intricacies. Despite the lacklustre state of her marriage, she made sure that I was always aware of her intent to stay married. This was not as problem for me, the nature of our relationship suiting me, at least at first. She also desperately wanted more children, though this was not a possibility with her husband if their current relationship persisted.

'What do you want to do?' I asked. Though I certainly had an opinion on the matter, I recognised that her situation was the more delicate. If she wished for an abortion, I could neither stop her nor wholeheartedly object. If she wished to keep the child, I would agree in principle but would be worried as to how we might work things out. 'I don’t know', she replied. 'I can’t give it up. I can’t. What do you think?' I told her that I was opposed to an abortion, but didn't see how we could figure out an alternative. That night, she fell asleep in tears, repeating that she didn’t care what it meant, she was having the baby. I fell asleep contemplating this most unexpected of developments, more concerned for my own situation that for the fate of the unborn child.

Over the next few days I spend a lot of time thinking about it, and came to the conclusion that, although I could ultimately do nothing if she decided to have an abortion, I would try to avert that. I wanted the child. We would work something out. After that first night, Kate became very cold with me, despite my attempts to talk about it. Eventually she called me and asked me to meet her, which I did. Expressionless and without looking directly at me, she told me that she had come to a decision, and would not go through with the pregnancy. There was no way she could pass it off as her husband's, nor would this be fair to me. She wasn’t willing to risk her marriage by having the child of another man, and so reached the conclusion that she had no choice. Somehow I was both surprised and not surprised at this change of heart. I began to tell her that I didn't want that, that I wanted us to work something out together, but she simply got up and left. That was three nights ago, and she hasn't returned my calls since.

Those of you who have read my article on abortion will be well aware of my reasons for being opposed to abortion (and those of you who haven't can find it in the archives), but it goes further than that. I want the child. It isn't a time in my life that is 'ideal' but neither is it unworkable. I believe she is wrong to put her marriage above the unborn child, especially without giving me a fair say. I feel anger at her refusal to hear my views, but sympathy because I know that it was an incredibly hard decision for her to make. Our relationship, in all probability, has come to a complete end. Whether we would, as mother and father, continue as partners will never be known. At first we both agreed that it was a short term relationship, but as time wore on I’m sure that it developed into something rather more for the both of us. Suffice it to say that I would have been happy to attempt to make it work.

So I must come to terms with the reality that my first child will be – or already has been, as she won’t speak to me – killed in the womb. I can think of little but that my future has been utterly altered, and the future of my unborn child denied altogether. I am overwhelmed with sadness and remorse, regret that I did not do more to prevent this outcome. Regret that I allowed it to occur in the first place. As for the future, I am at a loss as to whether I should pursue her further. As I sit here tonight her phone is switched off, my e-mail account receiving no reply. I could force an encounter at uni, but I doubt she would hear me even then. And yet, I feel compelled to try, and responsible for the death of an innocent child. My child.

From an Aborted Missive pt. two

Posted 2 March 2005, 5.18 am by Waldo

Before anything else, what’s written must be entertaining. Art for art’s sake is dull. Ideas themselves are dull, the same as listening to someone going on about last night’s dream. We’re all foreign bodies. Any idea not couched in an interesting form is a useless one. There are too many barriers to communication as it is. See: pill, bitter (metaphor). That’s not to suggest that it should always bring smiles but that it should always engage as best possible. If the thing won’t entertain, if not one person’s distracted or engaged by it, what more can come of it beside rot. Entertainment will always be the primary focus of art (the art that people wish to consume [and consider] in any case, the art that’s not only masturbation).

There’s nothing wrong with any sort of masturbation. Ego-pleasing forms and pieces are the mainstay of artistic endeavor. We want to feel better about ourselves either with ideals that we identify our selves with or with the freaks and scum that we sneer toward or count as outside our peers. We need shining men on pedestals and gutter-snipes to keep going through the motions. Life hasn’t goal or meaning but what we fashion for it and in that at least life is art.

Creating for the sake of creating is arrogant at best and always tedious. That said, there’s nothing wrong with any sort of masturbation. Things of that kind do serve. Placating egos and giving the rest of us something to sneer at. There’s more than just purpose there as well, there’s a beauty to be found if you screw up your face.

Art can be anything. The versatility of what we might spit and create is close to its greatest attraction. Fresh and new and a thing waiting to be tasted, yearning to feel tongues around it and grinding away until it’d fit up nose or vein and on to the mind. Morphine from Morpheus. No. Not that Morpheus. We’ll find what it means afterwards, but it’s the newness before the beauty or pleasant sight or whatever we want to make of it, assuming it’s enough of that subliminal quality that makes us keep going over it. If it’s not entertaining, why be bothered?

This might put too much on accomplishment, but even the smallest bit is enough. Piercing one eye or ear is a worthy thing. Qualities are often lost in seeking quantity. This might put too much on a thing being pleasing, but it needn’t be pleasant in doing so.

Entertainment’s the thing while that dry and uninteresting is found cast aside. To disintegrate in basement or attic without bastard children in lithographs, second printings, bootlegs inspiring care/longing. Read by no-one, remembered by no-one, worth the dust it breeds while that living and beating piece, the one trying to strangle plebs or dance for them, works if only for a night. Boring and bored and cast aside.

Boredom of course has its place. We might be entertained by that. Those dull words might be self-conscious or be thought so. They might remind of trivialities and the endless pace of unnumbered days. Not to shut away the content of whatever (or hide the whatever itself) behind stolid words or mind-numbing beats, to numb the senses and leave us aware that they are so or leave us anxious and on edge. There aren’t limits on intent. Be boring. Be dull. At least that’s what I tell myself.

As an end-note, I feel it should be said, clearly, that this is a personal thing for me. The thought that art in-itself is worthy of anything leaves me retching. The odorous self-importance of it triggers loathing but also images of scenesters and people who smoke and wear too much black being beaten to death with cinder blocks and bright red bricks. Bone splinters from compound fractures and viscera skittering across oak floors in a too-expensive loft as grey concrete takes up the red, red kroovy. Pressing in the brain stem but finding that unsatisfying. Ribs staved in until they’re showing through the other side with gobs of lung hung on the end. The murderer’s fingers torn from the exertion and the rough quality of that weapon. A victim’s face unmarked but for trails of blood to preserve a self-righteous expression captured in the moment of impact. I feel I should also mention that this is entirely a product of my self-consciousness, worrying that I’m wearing too much black.

From an Aborted Missive

Posted 25 February 2005, 6.33 am by Waldo

Before it’s anything else, whatever’s written should be clear, directness aside. Clarity before anything else, else it risks comparisons to dried feces on a neglected old man in more than one way. Without fearing obscurity of the end result, in the words or meaning, the thing must be approachable in part and must be construable as meaningful, even if not fully so. Discussion must be possible, conclusions always at hand while layers and subtlety coexist. Ideally, anyone (nevermind their education, what with dictionaries and encyclopedias all easily grasped) with a grasp of the English language, should be able to understand anything I write and while I tend towards elitism, I desire all of my words to be accessible at the level of syntax and their form. One never knows where a curious mind and a novel position lurk and any attempt at exclusion can only hamper whatever goal I put forward unless I mean to rule. To do a thing so that only x might have the chance of understanding, neverminding the most basic of hurdles in literacy rates and cover charges, is to leave the thing ill-formed and useless in the whole.

Creation itself means nothing. The most over-inflated sense of well-doing stems from the mechanical application of text or paints or the crafting of any good. Robots might do those things, so long as quality doesn’t suffer, and the world of consumers could hardly notice. That a human hand graces blank page or canvas or arranges bleeps on spools of magnetic plastic only goes as far as feeding egoism or giving a face to the pitcher. The mechanics of a painter slaving at canvas are unimportant until it is viewed, that they might be given weight then is unnecessary but possible. The mechanics of brush against canvas are as interesting as a grease monkey working away (something which can certainly inspire poetry). It’s the experience of the thing that matters, not the artist’s motions and tools. If a troupe of crabs could imitate Richard the Third.

Along those lines, anything might be taken as art or creative. The beauty of car wrecks is rarely appreciated from beside them but too many have seen in such a way for its denial to still be possible. Zapruder might be taken as masturbation material with the right disposition. The significance of a thing cannot be found at its inception; it comes at each time the piece is uniquely viewed. Meaning comes long after birth and has nothing to do with the parent until they work as a critic or plebian aficionado.

With the viewer occupying the only necessary position (the creator sidelined as machinery alone) nothing is lost. The thoughts of authors no more interesting and important than those of every beast of burden that forms his own meaning for their work. Equality of thoughts is a necessary conclusion but one impossible to be taken to heart with our selves blocking the way, opinions and assholes after all. Discarding an obsession with celebrity seems key and I’d think a clearly helpful task.

This as a whole does ignore the cyclical nature of creation. Are the thoughts and processes of the viewer any different from the creative act itself? Certainly a critical piece is comparable to a too lengthy essay of any kind. Removing the artifice of pages and typeface does little, we've admitted it is merely artifice. The objective is to ruin the importance of these trappings and find whatever's bare under it all. By the other-side there's art in artifice which should not be ignored. Limiting the roles played to only the creature experiencing is a useless task, one that is only a game of pretend. The act of creation in itself (as though we might split so fine a hair) is a base, meaningless thing and inspires contempt so long as it remains hidden and untransformed into art while the documenting of the process of creation is egotism and pornography, straddling the same line as any other human endeavor.

Hump Day

Posted 24 February 2005, 6.06 am by VanGogh

So... It's 8:35 on a Wednesday morning. Here in America we call Wednesday "Hump Day", because once you get through it, you're on your way downhill into that glorious time of joy; The Weekend. (Aside: Wednesday may indeed be called "Hump Day" in all parts of the world, but since I haven't had the time to sponsor a Gallup poll on the subject, we'll assume it to be American slang and move on from there. )

Anyways, it's 8:35 on a Wednesday morning. Hump day. I find that moniker to be uniquely suited as I sit here sipping coffee and reviewing free porn submissions to one of my sites. Currently I'm looking at a series of photos featuring a petite blond lady and her supposed plumber engaged in some serious tension release. ( Hump day indeed... ) She doesn't look like she's enjoying this very much. Probably got suckered in for some soft-core shoot, then pressured or bribed into doing some hardcore. (That happens a lot with the low-end content providers.) The supposed plumber on the other hand seems to be having a fine time laying pipe.

This is just one of 300 or so galleries I'll be reviewing this morning. I had one earlier with midgets. I don't care who you are, or how politically correct you choose to be on a daily basis, If you open up a web-page to find twenty photos of two midgets in leather doing naughty things, and you don't immediately bust out laughing, then you need to have your pulse taken. You may very well be dead.

Or maybe it's just me. I've been an Adult Webmaster (AW) for awhile now. I've earned 'my props', as those crazy kids say. Sometimes I worry that my sense of reality has become tragically skewed. The other day I had a 20 minute debate with another AW regarding a set of photos he had purchased. The theme of the set was close-ups of a nice woman with man-juice all over her face. My friend insisted that it was obviously real, whereas I took one look and decided that they had whipped out the Elmer's Glue. (Often 'Facials' and anything else featuring man-juice is actually white glue, or yogurt, or whatever else is handy.) My supporting evidence was that in order for a man to produce that much on her face, he would have had to deflate his chest cavity. He argued for multiple-donors. 20 minutes we debated.

Not once did either one of us stop and say, "Good god man, what is on her face? Why would she let him do that, let alone have photo’s of it taken?"

I also have no noticeable response to scat (feces-related), wet stuff (urine-related), or any of a hundred other bizarre niches that turn up on a daily basis. Sometimes I become disgusted with a submitted gallery that has scat on it, but only because the AW who submitted obviously didn't read my rules that bans the scat niche from that particular site.

So yeah, my moral barometer is probably cracked in a big way. But I still find child exploitation of any kind to be the most god-awful, horrendous stuff on earth. So I'm not completely dead inside, just warped. ( ...and speaking of CP, you'd be sickened by how much of it there is. Not a week goes by that I don't report a new CP site to the authorities.)

But none of that is what I wanted to tell you. It's 8:35 on a Wednesday morning. Hump day. Humpty-hump day for this petite blond and the supposed plumber she's grinding. The gallery has just opened up in front of me. There’s one too many ads on this gallery to comply with my rules. And this layout looks like something from 'Beginning Web Design 101'. But despite all of that, I'm going to green light it and send the owner about 40,000 hits in the next 24 hours.

Why, you ask?

Because the girl has a leg cast on. A full leg cast. What kind of crazy content provider shoots porn with a girl in a full leg cast? And what the hell is she thinking? Regardless, I have a new rule. Anyone doing porn shoots in a full leg cast gets my blessing every time.

God I love this job.

Life's Path

Posted 7 February 2005, 2.28 am by ArtemisKat

At the moment I’m very “life path” oriented. I seem to be thinking of things in terms of the future and change, of gaining experience and of storing memories. And it makes me wonder: What is it that caused me to be so much more conscious of the big picture? This is in relative terms of course, considering that I’m thinking mostly of just my own life.

I was talking with Aqua in chat and we were discussing going on an adventure. At the same time I decided to read a friend’s website. The two coincided in a strange way and Adam’s blog ended with a quote (presumably from Groundhog Day), “What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today!” This set me to thinking, yet again.

What have I done with my life? What if there really isn’t a tomorrow? Will there be any lasting impact to show the world that I once lived? Even if said impact lasts only with one person through their death, would that be enough for me? Would I have fulfilled my purpose?

Now, I know that several of you reading this site have known me either online or off for a while now. You knew me when I was younger and going through my selfish phase where I believed no one would even notice if I were to suddenly disappear. You knew me through the months and years as I grew out of that stage, but remained a negative and ungrateful youth. I’ve recently discovered, to my great delight, that through a large number of direct influences stemming back to my English teacher in my junior year of high school, I have suddenly become something of an optimist. I go to bed nearly every night believing that tomorrow will be a great day. I wake up and rush to get ready and out the door so as not to miss any part of my classes. I’ve always been one to get bogged down by winter. This year has been different. I’ve been finding myself saying things like, “It’s half way through January and therefore nearly February. February is a short month and after February comes spring, so spring isn’t far away.” Even on the bitterly cold days, I’ve been happy to be alive and glad to experience the cold so I can enjoy and appreciate 40 degree days in February and later, 80 and 90 degree days with 80% humidity in July.

This brings me back to the quote, “What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today!” If there really is no tomorrow, then I think I’ll be glad simply to have had the experiences I’ve had. Why should I regret things I have or haven’t done? They’ve been a part of my past and have made me who I am. If my life path continues, they will help to shape that. I really do hope there is a tomorrow, but even if there isn’t, that’s okay. I’ve already lived a very full life.

Stockholm University--February

Posted 5 February 2005, 3.48 pm by Lilith

I arrived at the university in darkening light of early afternoon--an hour and a half early for my class, in order to validate my student card and register for a course segment later this spring semester--only to be greeted by indignant beeping at the card activation machine: "How DARE I assume it would know I paid electronically to have my card renewed just this morning?!"

Thank the gods for the nice girl at the social anthropology student office--she was rather understanding about the machine, and registered me for the classes anyway (while letting me know the damn machines take a week to register the fact one has paid before they will validate the card). Joy. Of course, while she reviewed my records, we also discovered that one of my grades from the fall semester has somehow dropped through the computer cracks, and was not registered at all--great! Looks like I am going to have to dig up the actual exam essay with professor's remarks and the grade, or contact the professor, or even both. Not at all the fault of the nice student office clerk, so I resisted the urge to growl out loud. I think I will send her a thank-you card (or maybe a note to her boss), as she is a lifesaver at the worst of times. Hm--for that, I will also need to, one day, find out her name. Thinking about mailing the card made me realize I don't even know it.

So, with an hour remaining till the class, I need to find a nice spot with a chair and table, to settle down and wait--Stockholm in February doesn't exactly invite frolicking in the park or being outside for any amount of time beyond the necessary at all. Indoors, there is a bustle of activity even during classtime, as off-lecture students crowd in the halls and find places to slap a laptop or paper notebook down, and type or scribble furiously, filling the air with a comfortable tap-tap-tap-scratch-scribble-scratch, the noise of actively learning crowd. I love this atmospehere, the crowds sitting in the university coffee shops and arguing over books, and important or trivial issues. It is the atmosphere that really makes me feel alive, the one where I feel I really belong. I think I could go to school all my life and never get bored.

I find a seat in one of the large study areas of the linguistics building, near the nexus of all activity, the large departmental bulletin boards, the intersection of the moving streams of students, the coffee shop with doors flung open and bright lights illuminating pastries and fruit behind the glass, and the stands for projects near the main stairwell.

At one of those stands, there is a Polish university delegation with booklets spread all over the counter, and posters pinned to the counter-front and the bulletin boards behind them--probably recruiting exchange students from Sweden to come for a semester or two in Poland. Polish universities need the money Swedish government shells out on its exchange students--not that I would begrudge it to them, far from it: the accomodation deals they were offering were quite nice as dorms go, actually, and I hear Krakow is beautiful at any time of year. The thought of going on a student exchange yet somewhere else in Europe was almost tempting for a moment--until I remembered that I am no longer single (and yes, boyfriend and two cats do count), and, besides, I think I have outgrown the time when living in dorms (even nice ones) full of noisy students seemed like a fun thing at all. I also was rather cooled by the thought that at this point, going on an exchange stint would not help me with Ph.D. admissions a year hence--not to mention that I would miss boyfriend to tears within a week or even less of being away.

Strange--or, perhaps, not too much so--how moving to another continent shakes one's sense of independence. Here, with my still rather rudimentary Swedish (and fluent English), I have trouble getting things done--not due to the language at all, but because I do not know where and what and how these things should be done. I am a child in this country, trying to grow up faster to lighten the load my boyfriend and friends have to carry on my behalf. Having been an independent adult for years prior, it is a rather unsettling feeling.

Hence, the university courses in Swedish this semester. The language courses might not (won't, probably) improve my understanding of the society and how its bureaucratic machinery operates, but it will definitely improve my ability to learn to understand the aforementioned social machinery, and make job search easier as well. That, and I like to know the language of the area where I live fluently--not to mention that I need decent Swedish to successfully graduate with my Magister degree next year. I start Magister classes in the fall, and I must be ready to understand lecture in Swedish (all course texts are in English), come hell or high water.

I've become terribly goal-focused in my old age, even, I note, for my own peace of mind.

The break is over, and the frantic running-around of students subsides in the main stairwell. I have about half an hour before I move to search for room number something or other in the huge, lumbering, multi-storied maze of this building.

In the meantime, I am going to get some coffee.

12 2 04

Posted 22 January 2005, 6.27 am by Princess

untie my muse and stir this fire.
Tamed, it is pale and leaves me
cold.
almost absent from my own life.

warm me and let my skin burn
this heat remembers me
and I know you do too.

dark muse,
tired and broken,
come listen

listen to a sweet song of words
and feel them on your skin
reach for me-

I dare you.

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In 2018 I started painting again. This was one of a series of acrylic sketches I did to relearn techniques and revisit my skills from art college.


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Hmph

80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

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