Tuesday, November 29, 2011

bistre lustre (you can't go home again)

They say you can never really go home. Who are they? I don't know... I read it somewhere sometime, I didn’t realise I'd have to take notes. Anyway, that's what they say, or said... I don't think it's entirely true, but then I think you never really leave home. I think your home is something that you carry on your back like a snail, wherever you lays your hat, and all that jazz. Sometimes our idea of home can be crystallised, though, located in space. There is a place I used to live in and call home. It was warm, and familiar, and all my stuff was there. That's a pretty adolescent concept of home, but when I lived there I was an adolescent, so there you go. Well it wasn't always warm. I was in a family that came together, rolled along, and blew apart there. So I guess it wasn't always familiar, either. I could never figure out my father (actually my stepfather, although I never never called him that), he could either be warm or cold, kind or mean, and I never knew from one minute to the next which it was going to be. That was very hard, very unfamiliar (and what does unfamiliar mean, as opposed to family?). But I did call it home, for eleven adolescent years. Is eleven a lot of adolescent years? I think I started early, but hit a developmental trough at about nine, in which I was trapped until I was fifteen. Anyway, that particular repressed trauma is not the current focus. Home. My old house, where all my stuff was. I went back there one day and it wasn't like going home at all. I found myself stacking wood in the front bedroom, with my mother's current boyfriend. A large room, an empty room except for the pile of split logs we were building in one corner. It used to be my room, and yet standing in it that day I felt quite alien, like I'd never been there before. I used to play drums in that corner there by the wardrobe. I shot half of my bursary photography portfolio based on the way the light played through that window. When we moved in the front bay windows were clad in corrugated iron hammered flat, and the morning frost crept across the floor, inside. Then it was lined and insulated. Now it was a wood shed again. That might have something to do with it. Where there used to be a wall to wall decoupage of pinup posters, stickers, idols cut from comic books and magazines, sport stars and rock stars and monsters, the gargoyles gaurding every teenage dream of the 1990s, there was now just an expanse of sun fading yellow and brown, broken by sellotape scars, bent nails, thumb tack holes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

mental. health mismanagement.

Two in two out is a baseline. Breathing is a deliberate act. Diaphragm is tight, footfall is light, less likelihood of stitch.
One day, everyone is beautiful. They smile. They have a purpose. And you notice all the weirdest things. The middle aged woman in the full length wool coat, pants suit, wearing fire engine red Converse Chuck Taylors. The young people that want to be taken seriously, the old people that simply don’t. What is the difference between people who walk up escalators and people who ride them, and how do we know to keep left? We used to just ride escalators, so from whence came the keep left (unless passing) rule?
The general practitioner looks to the general system. From the outside. The clue is in the name. They talk to you. They listen to your complaint. They make a value judgement: you are/are not a drug addict seeking medication. Then they make a clinical judgement: some part of you is broken. Below the surface. Literally subliminal. Geusstimation. Which specific fingers have been paralysed? Evidence. Quantitative surveying. Diagnosis: herniated disk, C6-7.
One in two out. That’s for a little bit of Go Faster. Or past the turnaround point. Or on the final third. Or a light incline.
Another day everyone is ugly. Acne scars. Obesity. Ill fitting insensible apparel. And it is not just skin deep. People are ugly on the inside. Insecure. Rancorous.
What changes? Something in the world. You are in the world. Something in you. Chemical levels. Agonists and antagonists. Receptors become saturated, synapses become exhausted. You can get it fixed, levelled out. Go and get your reuptakes selectively inhibited.
You can take a pill for this. Or go for a run. Or paint a picture. Or take a kicking. Whatever finds your lost remote.
It takes 7 months of mental health mismanagement to get an MRI. You don’t know what you missed and you can never get it back.
MRI reveals the specific system, from the inside. Fluid and goo that is made of you. A spacer. A worn shock absorber that is protruding its innards like a feeding mollusc, pressing tongue perversely into your CNS. Part of you touching you in strange places (hands, shoulders, knees and toes) from the inside of your neck. And the specialist practitioner, armed with this representation of the secret inner world, gives the diagnosis: herniated disk, C6-7. Luckily the treatment is the same, in either case. There is no treatment.
One in one out. This is a tempo or intensity increment. This is for hill climbs and stairs. Ten times. Then a two out. Then repeat. The two out on the tenth is for balance, it forces a swap of the out leg (three into two won’t go). Otherwise the out leg gets stronger. You end up running around in circles.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Self Help Abuse

I have a new plan. I am writing an anti self help book.
I'm going to do the chat show circuit, the whole bit, promulgating the new dialogue of defeatism. Seems like thinly veiled sarcasm, but I'm ominously sincere. “Oh, I’m living it”.
[opening talk show host preamble] – How did you come up with this idea?
Oh I always intended to write an anti-self-help book, and I never got around to it, you know? All that research, effort...
Well, I got to thinking that the market is saturated, you know, with success. Everyone is dieting, doing positive affirmations, exercising, slimming down, toning up, learning a second language on their iPod, blogging about their achievements. And for every one of us that is trying so god-damn hard the odds of any one of us actually succeeding is proportionately reduced… So I think what we need is for more people to… just fucking give up already.
[But who is it for?]
It really is for everybody. Even the successful people could take their foot off the throttle a little. Put on some weight, miss a few deadlines, forget a few contacts, fuck up a few million-dollar deals. Give the rest of us a chance. Look – we have some people on board already – George Lucas is revisioning his classic movies into shitty ones, there are the cover artists, reality television, the twentieth season of survivor, celebrity chefs…, it’s not like it can’t be done. Models of the runway. Television is really blazing a path into mediocrity and it’s taking millions upon millions of viewers with it.
But we need more – we need something to bring down the readers and the thinkers too. So, I figured, a book.

Right now I only have the chapter outline: Smoke, Drink, Do Drugs, Watch TV, Relax, Play MMORPGs, Play Farmville, Gamble, Do Clock Watching, Buy Gaming Consoles, Junk Food. I don’t know if it needs that much structure (reeks of planning and success), but we’ll see.