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Advance Uncorrected Proof

The Savior:
Digression(s)
O.G. Rose

2012 by Daniel L. Garner

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For Wilson, Woolfork, Guroian, Pope, Hankins, Ford, Graves, and Dillard
Thank You

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A story is, after all, not a loose, unconnected congeries of episodes
leading nowhere, without a beginning or an imaginatively convincing
end.
Writing the Short Story, Charles I. Glicksberg

Son of man [] you know only / A heap of broken images, where the
sun beats [] / [] These fragments I have shored against my ruins.
The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot

Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?


Matthew 27:46

Byron, as he burns on, sees more and more of this pattern [] He is


condemned to go on forever, knowing the truth and powerless to
change anything [] His anger and frustration will grow without limit,
and he will find himself [] enjoying it.
Gravitys Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

I swear tis better to be much abused / Than but to knowt a little.


Othello, William Shakespeare

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Hope, hope, hope he thought, reaching. He was dying. He
was unable to go on. Life was carrying him away.
hope, hope, rope, rope he thought, reaching. If he was
going to die, he would die on his terms. Life was his to live and lose.
rope, rope he thought, reaching. His family would miss
him. His friends would have to go on without him. They would think of
him as selfish.
Hope, hope, hope, rope, rope, rope he thought, reaching,
unable to take it anymore.
And then he grabbed it.

A sailor was saved from a sea of trouble.

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Call Me
The First Act

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I (1)
Call me whatever-you-want. Im telling you this now because
everyone copies Mobys Ishmael. Im not like everybody else: I quote
others only in order to better express myself.1
The world is nothing but babble; and I hardly ever yet saw that man who did
not rather prate too much, than speak too little [...]2

[] I keep myself short, concise, and terse in my conversation.3

-Montaigne

Montaigne? a girl at the bar interprets. Like I asked her to


read!
Call me Marx Bickle.

Montaigne, Michel de. Of the Education of Children, The
Complete Essays of Michel de Montaigne. Translated by Charles Cotton.
Digireads.com Publishing, 2009: 116, I correct, balling up the napkin.
The only ones who provide citations during a conversation are ------
(no-bodies) looking for love. No one actually knows where things
belong.
Where are you from? the reader babbles, performing a
background check (in an Age of Anxiety) to shut me up and push
along the (in)action. God, how cruel. Ill be dead soon enough.
My life didnt begin until you appeared, in the full glory of
some passion.4
Did you, Shakespeare, or Joyce say that?
What difference does it make?
The sound and fury, I answer, signifying nothing.5
I thought it was you, she smiles, missing again that silence
[] and modesty are very advantageous qualities in conversation.6
Imagine people who could only think aloud and before screaming the
horror! the horror!, marvel at my self-control.7, 8
Stop stealing insights from an Anxiety of Influence, I beg,
pleading (via reverse psychology?) for the girl to stop fearing that Big
Copyright is watching (so that she avoids what iek calls the
temptation of meaning), dont despair.
Youre very unconventional, the reader warns behind a
compliment. I do enjoy being confusing.
I never mean what I say, I act (like a liar) (for I am ego
sum).
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You mean it?
The spotlight shines, having no alternative, on the nothing new
(because Big Copyright killed genius and its officer is here to verify the
murder).9 In other words, she checks me out and doesnt find anything
she likes. Amongst talking-heads, its hard to find anyone who cares.
They want a story, but nothing is new(s); they want a problem, and
thats the problem with life. In a broken world, its the unbroken that
need fixing. Here, only those who know they are in despair arent
despairing.
(Glad I could help.)
Im glad we met, the reader lies. Theres no exit: until the
reader stops invading my privacy (and giving me the look), Im pinned
down. Hell has its laws. If the reader doesnt lose interest, Ill never be
(sublimely) free. [W]orld without end. Amen.
Are you listening Shakespeare? the officer mocks. I freeze.
The air of the room chills my shoulders
I look up.
Call me my soul swoon[s] slowly as I listen to the shadow
of Big Copyright fall[] faintly through the universe and faintly fall[] []
upon all the living and the dead.10 It would be better if this bad day
never
K.
Since I didnt provide a reference, the reader probably wont
believe thats my name; shell think its a mask (with nothing behind it).
O-kay, the deaf girl bats her eyes, pulling out her cellphone.
No.
It has a unique pronunciation.
Is everything okay? the girl philosophizes. Im not arrogant:
Im only the center of my world!
Shut up! I shout in the name of humanity, truth, loyalty,
moderation, and justice. Her boy-officer then comes over and I throw
searing liquid into his eyes and make my leave, like a gentleman.
People should talk less.
Moral of the story: there is none.
Like Montaigne, I excel in humanity, truth, loyalty, moderation,
and, particularly, in justice: traits now rare, unknown, and exiled.11 If I
have something to say, I dont keep it to myself, because words kept in
the heart arent words. I believe in community, and thats why I spend
all my time where I do. And yes, whoever is the hottest guy youve ever
met I look like him.

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Seeing theres no place like utopia, I go into a neighboring bar.
According to Robert Louis Stevenson, extreme business [] is a
symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies [] a
strong sense of personal identity.12 Thats why I always do what I do: I
have endless self-confidence. Though I dont like to brag, to enjoy ones
self in hours of leisure is a very fine art and requires a finely equipped
mind and body.13 In other words, Im brilliantly sexy, and its my
personal conviction that if a person cannot be happy while being idle,
the person should remain idle.
You always seem so busy, a winking girl says to me.
Im sorry, but I have a telemarketer to call back.
Whats the rush? Like I was saying, youre always here.
How do you know?
I see you all the time, she hypocritically replies.
Get a job, I advise her and then notice how the light falls on
the bar counter dancing. Through idleness, one learns how to see the
miracles of life.
Screw you! she snaps but I dont hear her. She storms off
without thanking me. By insulting her, I saved her from bliss. To know
rapture is to have ones whole life poisoned, and I wont be responsible
for making people miserable.14 Unhappy, yes, because [n]othing is
funnier than unhappiness and studies show that people who laugh
regularly live longer.15 Out of love, on the merry-go-sorry of life, I make
everyone around me unhappy, wanting them to live forever. Sacrificially,
I dont laugh at what I find funny; personally, I cry.
(You have been calling me K, right? Dont forget my name. And
dont talk to me.)
Its easier to be alone in New York than in the country. To rest,
I go amongst people. You must be made of iron, you may say, or
else hard of hearing if your mind is unaffected by all this babel of
discordant noises around you []! But I swear I no more notice all this
roar of noise than I do the sound of waves or falling water.16
Hello.
What?! I jerk, 433 ruined. The girl jumps. Unlike me, shes
not made of iron. I shake my head,
The temperament that starts at the sound of a voice or chance
noises in general is an unstable one and one that has yet to attain inward
detachment.17
I just wanted to say hello.
I chuckle.

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Why are you laughing?
The voice in my head told me Im crazy
If you ever want to learn the art of how to keep people from
bothering you dont ask me.
I can see where hes coming from, the idiot lies. Everyone
knows you cant see whats invisible.
The voice told me that he never tells the truth, I reply
honestly, and before you say anything, no, you dont have to remind me
that youre not a voice in my head (I wouldnt dream of treating you like
an imaginary enemy).
You dont know that for sure, she lies again, knowing that I
want to be left alone and refusing to leave, needing me.
You lack inward detachment, I reply wisely. Not that you
havent already mastered it, but being selective about what you hear
yourself say is an invaluable skill. If I infuriate this girl, for example, and
she attempts to murder me, during trial, if she claims I insulted her, Ill
be able to claim I didnt without lying.
I live by the book.
Why are you quoting Seneca? she asks.
To help you learn idleness, to help you develop a strong sense
of personal identity, because
[Many] are seduced into solitude merely by the authority of
great names.18
Johnson said that! the girl gasps and immediately withdraws
by herself to a seat in the corner. Nobody knows quotes that well who
isnt either unbelievably good at Jeopardy or a work of fiction. Shes just
pretending to exist: no one special, acting sociable so people will want
her to go away, appearing to hide. Im glad shes gone: I couldnt hear
myself think. Its unfortunate that she doesnt realize it, but past her
frivolousness and ignorance, theres depth and brilliance. (See sarcasm.)
(Not to indulge in the temptation to digress, but do tell me if
Im talking to myself. Yes, in order to be rational, you need to have a
voice in your head with whom you can have an intelligent debate over
all the big issues religion, philosophy, politics but thats only until
you figure them all out. Tell me if Im not moving on.)
How are you? a girl in red comes up and asks me. Was that a
reference? Too dense for me. Meditating, I sip my drink.
Forgive the delay in responding, I reply, having learned how
to socialize from email. I then take another sip and think about the
protagonist of that novel Ill never write who constantly delivers internal

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monologues because he hates talking to people. I should name him after
you.
How are you? a girl in blue comes up and asks. Answer: sex. I
dont give the ----- the answer though: she might take me to be a man
who knows what he wants. Girls love guys who are always trying to
show off, because girls love being reminded of themselves. If you ever
want sex, reflect.
Communication is very important, I begin, clearing my throat,
Without it, all relationships die. During a conversation, you must not
assume that because one does not respond that one is upset or not
listening. Silence can be a sign of peace or concentration. Always be
ready to argue that its important never to argue. Remember that how
and when something is said is as important as what is said. Have
character: there is no greater accomplishment. Never talk too long: a
leader that constantly explains never leads. Never be concerned, but
always care.
Silence.
You just ruined our conversation with a speech about the need
for conversation.
It happens all the time.
Arent you embarrassed that you spend all your time here?
Many things that are shameful to some are badges of honor to
others.
Why cant you just talk to me? the girl in blue asks. I dont
reply. The more aware one is of how language works, the more difficult
it is to use.
You seem profound, a girl in yellow (description is a waste of
time) comes up and says to me (people just hear what they want to
hear). A person can make the best impression by not saying a word:
silence gives room for an outsider to insert their own reflection.
Yup, I reply, seeing as this is what she wanted me to say,
making her feel astute. Great minds master misreading and are the most
profoundly misread.
Stop being frivolous Plato and tell me how to die well.
I despise people who (think they) know how to live.
I think my appearances have deceived you, I tell her.
Im a philosophy major.
Youre not smart if youre too smart,
The main problem with deception is that you never know that
youre deceived.

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I knew I was right.
I should complement her; instead, I insult her.
Youre smart, I say with a smile. Smart is a meaningless
word.
I guess I was wrong, she sighs and then leaves. She had clearly
done some prior introspection. On a related note (everything is related:
everything exists), I hate how you have to accept any advice people
give
You know, you should really share your drink, a girl in brown
comes up and hits on me, cutting off my thought.
Im sorry, I cant, I reply to the guillotine.
Why not?
The Golden Rule, I would never drink this.
I dont understand, Socrates replies.
Keep an open mind, I tell the irreligious girl.
You mean an empty one? she retorts, but a girl wearing a
crucifix wouldnt know anything about Bertrand Russell.
Better to have room for air than to suffocate, I teach.
I still dont understand.
Youre learning, I compliment her. Im glad shes beginning to
comprehend the virtue of intellectual tolerance. I decide to teach her
something else: as part of my Hope Tour, Im going around town,
gathering people unto me like little lambs, telling stories,
Once upon a time (magical pause) there was a little girl
who was born totally senseless. Her parents abandoned her. She was
raised by a homeless man who tried to sell her into prostitution, but
stopped when he got tired of filing tax forms. At the age of four, a
religious cult sacrificed her to Baal, and then she came back reincarnated
as a stinkbug. Everywhere she went, her smell made her miserable. The
little girl then got a hobby at McDonalds occupying burgers in hopes of
saving up enough money to go to college
Get to the point, the empty minded, immoral girl cuts me off.
Never in my life! The point can never be separated from the story! Even
Jesus knew that be like Jesus!
The story is the point, I sneer at the pagan.
What do you mean? she asks to discredit me, not to learn.
Like Keats on the last line of his Ode to a Grecian Urn
I dont know, but one day the reason will emerge.
Youre a postmodern prophet and totally blowing my mind
right now, she gasps, proving her mind is empty. I have to take

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responsibility for my actions. According to Karl Marx, there is only one
antidote to mental suffering, and that is physical pain; educated, I slap
the girl and throw my drink into her face.
Are you angry? I ask, hoping Ive freed her from anguish. She
doesnt answer no, just punches her fists through the air and screams
like a banshee.
Glad I could help, I say with a smile. She stumbles away and
over a table. No one notices. No one cares.
Good.
Anyways, I hate how you have to accept any advice people give
you, even if it isnt helpful, because if you dont act like its good advice,
they get mad at you. I hate it too when someone you talk to says to
someone else he talks too much, and then that other person comes up
to you and tells you to talk less. In fact, you dont talk too much:
everyone else just doesnt talk enough.
You know a person by how they talk.
If someone doesnt say anything, theres nothing to them to
know.
Lots of people never say anything by saying too much.
Take this intellectual:
Whos the author? I rhetorically ask the girl reading nearby,
already aware of who wrote The Road to Serfdom, hoping shell ask if I
have a webpage so that I can rip a leaf out from whats shes reading,
draw a spider web on it, and hand the page back to her (been planning
that one for years).
Cosmopolitan doesnt have an author, she enlightens, index and
middle fingers crossed, ring finger and thumb touching. She has an
attitude and is already hitting on me. Great. Intellectuals always have
attitudes. She cant see Im not like her and addicted to sex. The more
she reads, the more everything near becomes distant. 19 She gained
books and blindness at once.20
Thats a stupid magazine, I inform her. Hanlons Razor is
dull.
Youre prideful about what youre ignorant, she says, which is
an appropriate thing for an illiterate person to judge (since you only see
what you know). If she hits on me again, Ill have to report her for
sexual harassment.
Isnt everyone? I reply (there is no such thing as everyone).
Well arent you a ray of light, she laughs.
I call the cops.

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Whats the problem here? the arriving officer asks. I hadnt
even put away my cellphone!
She used a good metaphor, I report sternly: a good metaphor
is something even the police should keep an eye on.21 The officer nods,
Are you drunk?
Thats him officer! the girl I helped snaps, rubbing her cheek
where I slapped her out of mental suffering.
Sir, can you come with me? the cop asks.
Obviously not.
I have a dream, I warn, meaning I dont have time for this.
I have a gun, he replies, so I push him over a table and run. I
love screwing with people: its the only way to give people a wake up.
Once upon a time, I had thought about becoming President, but Im
glad I decided to become someone who could make a difference in the
world. And until everyone gets a wake up, evil such as copyright
infringement, name-calling, girl-rage wont end.
Ignorance is the greatest evil.
(And seeing as you cant know that if youre ignorant, I must be
one of the good guys. A good ole saint.)
Evil begets evil: the idea of evil cannot enter the mind without
arousing a desire to put it into practice (for ideas are organic entities).22
Hatred begets hatred, lust begets lust, and ignorance begets ignorance.
Nothing in the world can break this cycle, only feed it, for the world is
evil (might as well be). If the chain of cause and effect breaks down,
something outside the world is responsible. The cycle has never
malfunctioned, and this is why people hope aliens exist. People who
believe in aliens despise those who dont because people are often
prideful about what they are ignorant.
I hate people who believe in aliens.
Theyre so stupid.
Youll see me again if youre lucky: I only come around when I
feel like it.

Its K.
You probably dont remember me, and its better that way.
Dont talk,
Did I say that out loud?
No.
Im a storyteller, a modern artist. Ive been hanging out in this
alley for a few hours, doing research, hiding like a character in Orwells

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Down and Out in London and Paris in order to understand poverty so
that I can convince people that Im going to eventually create a realistic,
impoverished character. Experience is the best material for art. Like any
good artist, I have inner detachment and dont let my emotions and
beliefs get in the way of my bountiful creativity.
(Hey, hey! Im right here! Cant you see me? Cant you
acknowledge I exist? How can you be so blind?)
My full/empty work will steal all of Pynchons ideas, be like The
Crying of Lot 49, and transform people into avatars of Byron the Bulb
from Gravitys Rainbow. People will ask me if its meaningless or
meaningful, and Ill tell them to keep looking. You think thats crazy?
Careful psychopath, what you judge is what you become (see Romans
2:1).
Hey, can you hear me? I ask a girl whos been sitting in the
alley for an hour, Who are you?
No one.
Stop playing hide and seek, I groan, Cant you just be polite?
Kindness, love, politeness traits now rare, unknown, and exiled.
Everyone has always said that, she whispers like an
existentialist (not that existentialist means anything), Its always been a
lie. Yesterday, today, tomorrow its all the same.
A druggie. Great. She probably believes in aliens. Why else
would she cut her wrists and refrain from going to a hospital if she
didnt believe aliens were going to show up and heal her wounds with
medicine guns?
You should appreciate your incredibly happy life rather than sit
around complaining about it, I encourage her. I then tell her to get an
antidepressant,
Get some coffee.
I dont do drugs, she says, But I could eat something. Wanna
come?
I want to help her, not hurt her by letting her develop a sense of
dependency, so I decline. She keeps sitting there, trying to make me feel
guilty for considering her long-term interests. I hate people who use
guilt to get what they want.
Perhaps I wish to be killed? the guiltivator asks.23
Stop quoting Pechorin!
Who?
I just shake my head. Shes a selfish Capitalist and nothing like
Jesus. She doesnt see me through the quotes; she doesnt hear me

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through the references; she doesnt know me through the facts. A hero
of our time.
Everyone in modernity is a hero: everyone demands their right
to be their self and so chooses to be like everyone else.
Blob.
Youre sitting on a blob of gum, I tell the druggie.
Disgusting, she says.
Life is disgusting, I retort, deflecting the insult. She knows
nothing about life. Im a storyteller, a modern artist. Its my duty to
enlighten her.
Books can no longer help their readers live and die well: they
must now strand their readers on islands. No man is an island, so
books must transform humans into what they cannot transform
themselves.24
Dont go, she says as I rise. If I walk away, shell hate me for
saving her life. I must make her a castaway. She must learn how to live
on her own lest each mans death diminish[ ] her. Theres more death
now than in any age. If every bell tolls for her, the noise will destroy
her soul. To escape the dung, shell talk on a cellphone with bartenders
constantly and more freely to get rid of the feeling. Then shell talk
more fluently, and with a heightened voice [] more quickly []
vehemently, but the noise steadily [] [will] arise[ ] over all and
continually [increase]. It [will] grow[ ] louder louder louder! And still
[humanity will] chatter[ ] pleasantly, and [smile] [] making a mockery
of [the horror! the horror!]. If I ignore my duty and stay, I will doom
her.25
No one can tell stories anymore, only collect what fell apart.
(Lest it come back together.)
It is possible that the greatest writers have never written; that
the world is full of Monsieur Testes and mute inglorious Miltons, too
delicate to come before the public. 26 I prove Huxleys speculation: Im a
storyteller who has never written a word.
I do my duty: to keep them from breaking, I keep the fragments
in ruin.
When I get home, for further research, I turn on the antivision,
looking for The Boondock Saints. I dont see it. If the television networks
wanted to make money, they would show that film twenty-four hours a
day. How could they be so blind?27

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Note:
Sarcasm (n): sarcasm.
Example: whenever someone offers you a definition of sarcasm.

K: There are no endnotes because I dont cater to idiots who think


something you say is true only if someone else said it first. And because
Ive never been afraid of those committed to making sure there are no
more genius-borrowing-Shakespeares: Big Copyright. (And providing
hyperlinks would be cowardly (even if it did artistically depicted how the
modern mind worked (never knowing what it thinks, only the next
(parenthetical) association)), be a lame way to make associations, and
setup people to distractedly digress into Wikipedia links forever.)28 If I
provided endnotes, the critics wouldnt have anything to do for a
hundred years. And I love critics: run to the end and see. Tragically,
people today expect works of art to lower themselves rather than people
raise themselves up to art. God, whats the difference? Either way, no
one knows whats going on.
Editor: Correct me if Im wrong, but dont you want to get published?
K: I dont fix people, especially not those who dont say please.

II (2)
Im sitting outside a lame joint surrounded by posers who are
sucking on bucks and determined to prove theyre elitists at wasting
time. Unconscious of it, theyre walking dead. Theyre all on cellphones
acting like disembodied voices (the majority of people in our lives), but
the only angels among us are demons. Theyre writers (mis)addressing
an elsewhere, works of fiction behind angelic masks of texted one-
liners (no one has time for jokes).

We are the hollow men / We are the [invisible] men.1

Providing comic relief before you get distracted by my


profundity, an important person (hes wearing a suit) interrupts my
meditation, asking,
Is that a brewed-less-than-an-hour-ago, mild-decaf, lightly-
shook, mocha, latte, chocolate, dipped, sugar-saturated, vanilla-topped,

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slave-labored-produced, Capitalism-feeding, orphan-making,
chocolate-chip-mint-lemon-grande-ultra-man-juice-five-hour-
energy-5%-skim-milk-shaved-iced-double-shot-
expresso-to-the-second-power-e=mc2-British-Arabic-
baked-Chai-latte-Irish-Breakfast-blend, with wood-
burned-charred-beans and served with nonfat-
whip-(no one has time to say whipped
cream), Cappuccino-Caramel-
Macchiato-Americano-White-
Cinnamon-Spice-Mocha-
Valencia-Toffee-nut-
affogato style with
soy foam,
black (cough)

coffee?
Sure.
I love those.

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He then walks onto the street and I finish my bottled water (of
course I recycle it: its Mothers Day).2 If he keeps looking and talking at
pictures on his cellphone, he probably wont notice the car thats about
to
Never mind.
Dont forget your Vanilla Crme, Chocolate-chip, Java-Frap,
120/10oz !
I got the McGrande-Grande! I enlighten the barista, leaving
my stained (rather than written upon) napkin on the sidewalk for a thief,
something which if only I can read functions as a painting (about the
meaning of life, God, and other small matters).3
We dont serve McDonalds, the barista claims. I didnt think
so but ordered what I did to confirm she didnt enjoy helping arch-evil
destroy third-world nations with coffee-bean farming.
Would you like something else? she asks. I gag and throw a
smart-bomb,
You want me to spend money while [a] mixture of
transgressive and therapeutic parodies of personal devotion, without
intensifications of the interdictory form, now dominate both our cultural
and political life?4
Only if you want.
I snatch off the counter a bag of black-roast from injustice, leave
a bad check, and keep walking east, burdened by the fall of man and
searching for a solution to this absurdity of being free[] to choose and
[] having no choice worth making.5, 6 If only I didnt know the truth
(about nothing) bliss! Like a dog!7 My brain is like China: a frenemy.
And huge.
I walk down the sidewalk surrounded by passing/done-to-death
people who dont exist because everything is nothing and think about
how for all of them [t]he mask is the face; it need not be taken off for
there is nothing behind it a sucking vacuum, that voracious
emptiness.8 Everyone but me is a flickering shifting image and too
hilariously stupid to survive (evil is pass).9, 10 Considering the
circumstances, you get why I force everyone around me to be
intelligent? I dont want anyone laugh[ing] for joy (not now at least).11
Just laughing. My head hurts. You feel it? Christ! Just because I talk to
you, dont assume I think youre there (though I might: nothing exists). I
look up, up, and away from the hellish world around me, think about
Nietzsches eternal return, and feel optimistic: people dont dread[] hell

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as much as [they] dread the contempt of [other people].12 Things could
be worse: things could exist. People could be.
A girl runs into me.
Sorry, she says, but no apology can atone for puella ex machina,
especially when birds [dont] suddenly appear.13
Dont be, I reply. Confession is futile. She looks like a
cyberpunk but feel free to envision a Maxim model. She smiles, and if I
dont want something right away, she wont care if I die.14 Sex?
Predictable. Boring. Dont miss a saintly chance to help others care
about others. Clock is ticking.
Have a nice day, she says and looks back down at her
cellphone. Worried Im going to say something stupid? Dont be: I
never say anything people can understand.
You have a glass of water? I ask.
Are you allergic to bottles?
Dont be a Detail Nazi.
God forbid I listen to what you say.
Indeed, God forbid.
Do you have any water?
Im a Buddhist, the cyberpunk tells me, sounding like a one-
percenter. To help her maintain Parfitian selflessness, Ill refer to her as
girl: meaningless generalities are always the safest and the most
unimaginable route anyway (hate for her to be in anyones head).
Im not, I enlighten.
Exactly, the girl smiles, Can I go now?
One-path minded.
Where?
Mind blown.
Rates of suicide have correlated with increases in conversions to
Buddhism. Sounds right: correlation is causation. Shes going to leave if
I dont [f]ind a subject [I] care about.15 Is there a reason I want her to
stay? Impossible: life is meaningless. I show her my coffee bag,
This is something I care about and which [me] in [my] heart
feel others should care about too.16
But you dont have a heart.
Bless her hole.
No Buddhist does, she adds.
Im not a Buddhist.
Her eyes widen, welling up with tears,
A true Buddhist!

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Take note: if you want to make love, dont exist. Be formless
and empty: stop all birds from talking.17
Whats your non-name? she asks. Aaden, Aalto, Aaron, Aaru,
Abacus, Abanito
K.
Really?
Thats funny.
It just metanilphorically dawned upon me why Buddhists want
to make out-of-being with me: I attract them by not telling [them]
immediately where [my life] story is taking place, and who [I am].18
Kafkaesque? she asks, trying to lure me into wanting to reach
her pants. I gaze[] [down]ward into the seeming emptiness.19 And
although nothing much can be seen [] there is somehow the blissful
feeling that one is looking in the right direction.20
I have never identified with the K in Kafkas works, I
21
answer.
Like Vonnegut?
Like him?
For Christs sake, sparrow about to hit the floor. I rub my closed
fist on my chest in circles. Wax closed. Its siren-silencing time. [N]o
longer [] any desire to [(be)] allure[(d)].22
I want nothing to do with him, I reply, furious this girl would
tempt me to break the sacred pact between artists and admirers. I have
no right to feel anything for Vonnegut, only for his work. This passion
for wanting to meet the latest poet, shake hands with the latest novelist,
get hold of the latest painter, devourwhat is it? What is it [people]
want from [the] man that they didnt get from [his] work?23 I would
never dream to like Vonnegut, that shambles of apology, only Palm
Sunday.24.
We hate what we are, the girl philosophizes/bull-----. [T]he
superior man / [b]rings order out of confusion: Ill let the facts speak
for themselves about which of us is the best (at not increasing
confusion).25
Not Buddhists, I note, They dont exist.
Why Im not one. Nothings gonna nothing.
Hate makes you exist, the girl claims. I look at her.
We live in a post-truth world.
Can we talk about something that doesnt make me want to
never talk to you again? I ask. She laughs,
Id hate for you to grow attached.

20
Hater.
She covers her hands with her mouth and gasps,
I exist!
She then grabs me by the shoulders and shakes me, lamenting
that Cotards syndrome isnt contagious,
Teach me your ways!
I have nothing to teach you.
She falls to her knees, her hands dragging down my body.
Hot.
I know, she whimpers, I know.
Im still holding that bag of coffee, by the way, and will keep
holding it for a number of hours while helping this girl learn nothing
from me (it would be rude, contribute to attachment, and be un-
Buddhist to ask this flat character for a name). We find a table outside a
caf and I sit her down and put the bag of coffee by my feet. I shouldnt
be a Buddhist less often: this girl wont leave me alone.
Im not a Buddhist, the girl confesses to me.
Neither am I.
But youre really not, the girl laments, How do you do it?
I dont.
She slaps herself in the head,
Im so stupid.
All models are wrong but some are useful: Buddhism, Atheism,
Theism, Progressivism, Conservatism, Math, Literature, Stupidity all
incomplete/inaccurate, but sometimes, depending on the situation, one
of the models can help you (better than others) get/see/live what you
want.26 My time for Buddhism is quickly passing: I think Im about to be
a Christian. Been easier on the girl if I had been a Taoist today instead
of a Buddhist (I think theres a difference, but Im too Western to
know): the question of the existence or nonexistence of the Tao
[(anything, for that matter)] simply does not occur to [the Taoist], or if
someone presents [the question], [the Taoist] regards it as vague,
meaningless, somehow irrelevant and sort of odd.27 By Tao here I mean
nothing (but not that nothing), and yes, I do think Ill change mode(ls)
and start being a Taoist now, though sometimes I wish mode(l)s werent
picked but thrown on me (Heidegger) that they felt more given
(Rieff, Berger) that I was free of having to have free will (insert name to
sound smart).28 Not that I, starting now, believe in the Tao (it doesnt even
believe in me): I dont claim either way, saving me a world of trouble in
trying to prove that the Tao exists or not.29, 30 While the Christian must

21
convince the heathen and the Atheist that God exists, and while the
Atheist must convince the Christian that the belief in God [] do[es]
enormous harm to the cause of true social progress [], I can just hang
out and let women hit on me.31 Like how I dont try to prove you
(dont) exist. What? You think Im talking to myself? Youre talking to
yourself!32 Vocal schizophrenic.
Lets just not think, I comfort the girl, Forget Buddhism all
together.
Right, okay, lets.
She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and slaps herself,
Im thinking about it!
Dont try to not think about it, I command, Just be.
Be what?
I sigh up toward the heavens. She slaps herself,
Im so stupid.
Exactly! I shout, Be stupid! Know nothing!
Her jaw could have hit the table,
Genius!
And then the hours passed by as if Buddhism never existed and
we talked like we didnt know one another. I think we talked for hours,
but it could have just felt like that way. Time stops when youre being
tortured.
Youre crazy, she declares, but fortunately Im prepared for
this blow to my mental health: Mom taught me it doesnt matter what
people think who are bad a thinking (and thats why it doesnt matter
what this girl thinks about herself).
The Recognitions is genius, I repeat, looking notably
handsome today (Im too sexy for my straightjacket).
Crazy, she says, studying me. We all fail to learn from art how
we should interpret it. (By we I dont mean me theres no word for
everyone but me, and the sentence everyone but me fails to learn from
art doesnt sound cool.)
Genius, I reply. The Recognitions is easy to defend: I havent
read it. Passion correlates with ignorance. As you can tell (assuming
youre not checking text-messages), I decided to be a Wannabegone-Art-
Snob instead of a Christian (still being a Taoist though: cant not be). Its
not hard: just insist[] on handling the thing itself and not an empty
abstraction (while keeping a straight face); demand objectivity that isnt
there and when people cant find it, it will prove that you should be the
critic and not them.33 (No Zen quotes K stop yourself youre an Art

22
Jerk now.) And while sipping wine or something that tastes worse, just
constantly sigh about how art isnt propaganda or philosophy and that
[w]hen purpose is too much in evidence in a work of art, so called, art is
no longer there, it becomes a machine or an advertisement; just sigh
[b]eauty runs away, ugly human hands become altogether too visible.34
(I said stop.) Why I like my women nihilistic.
You think Im too stupid to appreciate Gaddis? she asks.
When [the] mind is concerned with the [brain], you become your own
captive.35 (Stop!).
Yes.
If you want to understand how to talk about art, you cant forget
that lying is the message and that you must lie confidently and
consciously to assert power over truth itself and control over reality:
you must be king of reality (like a fiction reader).36 You must be able to
declare Gaddis is easy to read and defend it to the grave without ever
so much as giggling. And then it will be the case that Gaddis is easy to
read (for you): reality will be powerless before you (but only insomuch
as you have power over yourself).
You think the same about me? I wonder. Once she answers,
Ill never again be able to not know how smart she thinks I am, like a
scrambled picture Find What the Sailor Has Hidden that the finder
cannot unsee once it has been seen.37 Unless Im stupid. One. Zero.
Maybe Ill get lucky and shell answer in a language I dont know; that
way, Ill have the freedom to decide if I understand the meaning of what
she says by deciding if I go translate (into intelligibility) her words or
leave them as noise.
I didnt say that, she answers in English. Meanie.
You implied it.
According to you, she claims, assuming the existence of the
self with big ugly hands.
Dont lie to me.
If I did, she asks, what would stop me from lying about it
again that didnt stop me the first time?
Women: only reading is as difficult, identify[ing] thousands of
little marks on paper[] and mak[ing] sense of them immediately.38
[Women always] want [their guys] to [be] very much like [guys] they
have seen before, but I rather soar high above [them], singing like [a]
nightingale[].39 I can deal with women, but having talent doesnt carry
with it the obligation that something has to be done with it.40

23
I have to go, I tell the girl, rising from my chair and grabbing
my bag of coffee from next to my feet (the coffee you thought I was
going to forget about, but like the beautifully minimalistic napkins I left
on the bar counter forty-six hours, twelve minutes, and five seconds
ago, I wouldnt have left the coffee by my feet if I wasnt planning to do
something with it). The reverse psychology works: the girl opens her
mouth to apologize for hurting my feelings,
Is that regular black-roast?
I chuck the bag to the side,
No.
Why did you do that?!
The unappreciative dont deserve to see something beautiful; I
wish I could chuck off my face,
Do what?
I like that brand! she laments, I didnt notice before. I would
have taken it!
What are you talking about?
The coffee!
And at times I have seen what man thought he saw!41
I dont remember, I scratch my head, thinking about the best
way to ask her to make out with me (I never. Did a hater. Girl. / I never
did a hater. Girl. / I? Never. Did a hater girl? / I never did a hater girl! /
I never did a hater girl?... ), to help her articulate what she knows she
wants to do into something she understands she wants to do
(WWKD?), but Im wasting mental energy, seeing as shell never see the
differences in grammar (be less Judge Judy episodes if people read what
they said to one another, but only God gags up books).42 If I want love
to save the world, the love making has to start here with me, though
keep in hand, knee(youre mindless) that just because I want to make
love with her now doesnt mean Ill want something to do with her in
ten seconds. Im alive, always changing. And yes I know thats absurd: as
I hope Ive made clear, the point is that youre confused. Heck if Im
going to let you know whats going on inside my head. Prayer is a way to
God, but trespassing is quicker. This street goes one way.
Walk with me, I ask the girl nicely, but only including a
question mark at the end of the phrase in my mind, not my tone, the girl
snaps,
Dont tell me what to do!
Hypocrite.
She pauses,

24
Sorry.
She rises from her chair. I knew she would want to do what I
wanted to do (shed have to be crazy not to think like me), and I
thought a walk would make what was going on between us more like A
Walk to Remember. Passionate. Temporary.
Thought youd like to walk, I reveal. Woman love it when you
give them something they can talk about at parities to people theyll
never see again. Why live when you can collect experimon? Shore those
fragments!43
Its a beautiful day, the girl says for no good reason, and I
dont remind her that common sense tells us that our existence is but a
brief crack of light between two entities of darkness.44 To talk is to not
know what youre talking about. Thoughtful dumb. Hopeful fail.
Real nice, Ricky Fitts adds, unaware that shes approving of
the horror that [t]he cradle rocks above an abyss.45 While uttering
dulcet sentences that neither remark on character or advance the action
(grave sins), vampiric, she enjoys my personality, and wanting to destroy
what she loves (insane/normal), shes trying to make me feel like a
beautiful girl wants to make love with me, Puckish, when really Im the
one selflessly trying to make her feel hot.46
Everyone thinks theyre the good guys.
You like the weather? she asks (and they say its men who take
everything at face value). Ah, a symbol: shes telling me the weather
represents happiness and sex and wants to know if I like those things.
God, I hate tricks: be direct!
The sunlight, I mean, she adds. Now that shes showing
interest in me, I fe[el] more composed and began to reflect how
magnificent a thing it [i]s,47
In order to enjoy life, we should not enjoy it too much. 48
Thats why Im with you.
If you want to go far in life, remember that the person who
forces you to engage in small talk wants you dead and that the prison of
time is spherical and without exits.49 By the way, Im not describing the
scenery on our walk because its not going to matter when the sun
explodes; also, I dont want to keep you from envisioning us
romantically taking up space in Beaufort, North Carolina or just outside
your house.
I suppose I have to acknowledge the possibility that Im simply
a horrible person, I theorize, making it clear by my tone that shes the
one who needs to consider the possibility.50 If she was cultured (or could

25
see my mental and honest apostrophes), shed realize I constantly
quoted people (borrowing in my head, stealing in my words) and ask me
if I had Google up my sleeve. Id tell her that, praise be to God, I wasnt
human: I was in her head, a play of the mind with its own self (like love
and art) (her mind has a mind of its own).51 Assuming it possible and
that you didnt want to, Id introduce you to her: you two have a lot in
common.
Socratic of you, she replies, debating in herself if she would
rather make love with me or imagine doing it (easy call, you ask me), I
wish more people tried to be objective rather than just give objectivity
lip service.
Shes not the only woman who wants me to be an object of her
desires.
I agree, I lie (it glorifies the Lord to conceal a matter), Why
say what you mean?52
Quickest way to be hated.
(Subjectivity is to say what you want to say; objectivity, to say
what you dont want to say. No king-glory for you.)
Oh how lovely, she says.
Me?
The shadow, she adds. Surely some revelation is at hand.53
One. Zero.
The shadow? I repeat after the girl who is insensitive toward
sciophobics. I expect to be killed by laughter sooner or later.54
I was being metaphorical.
Oh ---(-),
A writer.
I considering telling her that the practice will make her
schizophrenic (right?), but [t]he best lack all conviction, while the worst
/ [a]re full of passionate intensity.55 God, please help me: shes thinking
about how she could use me to start a good, thick old-fashioned novel
its in her eyes the lust! 56 Her book is talk[ing] to [her] at the top of
its voice.57 Its verbal vagaries add a new thrill to life; its
mispronunciations are mythopeic; its slips of the tongue are oracular;
it calls me [Kay].58 She met me, prepared for happiness, with pen in
hand I didnt know!59 I have to lose her or do something thats
impossible to put into words I dont want to be in a book! I then close
my eyes and try to spontaneously combust; that way, Ill at least provide
the book with [my] own ending [hopefully the] exact[] opposite to the
authors intention.60 Or do you think shell have me die in the end? [I]n

26
trying to oppose nature we are only acting according to the laws of
nature.61 God ---- !
What you call me? she asks, obviously offended, because
[t]here is a certain embarrassment about being a storyteller in these
times when stories are not quite as satisfying as statements and
statements not quite as satisfying as statistics.62 Note that when you call
someone something and the person denies it, they prove you right (talk
about power).
Nothing, I assure her (everything is nothing). I really need to
start being nice; otherwise, this girl will go and write a honest book
about me and claim Im a sex-addicted, alcoholic, ironyolic, sarcastic,
hyper-educated, ridiculous, and engaging (h)ipster (shell get a movie
deal). Nothing worse than having a book written about you and having
out there in the world a biography about an imaginary frenemy who
stole your name (KKK already stole my name three times, the
monsters). I hate people who like books: they want to know people
without actually getting involved with them; they want relationship
without risking the Hedgehog Dilemma; they want to feel communal
and feed their ego without putting themselves in harms way. I dont
want anyone knowing me who doesnt risk pain, but I cant legally stop
this girl from writing a book about me without going back in time and
stopping her parents from having sex.
Sad.
Please, if one day you read about me, dont forget its fiction.
Remember K.
Nothing? she asks, auditioning to be a parrot, questioning the
nihilism that isnt there to be questioned. God forbid she learn
something about herself.
Nothing, I assure (Buddhistically), not wanting her to suffer
an emotion she could write about, trying to save her from a life of being
friends with [her] head.63 The girl sighs, relieved she wasnt doomed to
be held-up by mental fictions until they declared [themselves] done and
began to let go,64, 65
I thought you said I was what I had always wanted to be.
I would never do that.
If you always tell people what they want to hear and make things
easy for them, youll have a thousand Facebook friends and be loved by
all. When people love you, youre supposed to love them back, and I
dont like feeling pressured. And alright already stop complaining Ill
describe some of the scene(ry) ([t]he horrible here ): [w]e are mirrors

27
still, but not mirrors of some spiritual or inner reality from which our
appearance is derived [] our world is as a theater happy now?66, 67
Things come into [your] mind and wait to hook up with other things?68
Never. Youre so difficult. Just like this girl. Who are you again? [F]or
all I know you may be somebody else.69
Nice to meet someone who wont feed my ego, the girl
chuckles/laughs/giggles (shes hard to read), getting bigheaded about
how small her head is and treating me like a person who doesnt exist,
not only because she never says my name [t]hat which does not have a
name does not exist but also because the only people who ever influence
us are people we invent.70
When you tell me I am who I want to be the girl adds, Ill
know its true.
I look at her.
Wow.
Besides, even if I did christen you your dream come true, I
continue as if she didnt say anything (be the change you want to see),
navel-gazing (tuck your shirt in, there are babies!), youre funny you
can be as stupid as you like and having a joke-making capability is a
curse, because [n]o matter what is being discussed, the jokester [heads]
for a punch line every time, and then has little else to say.71 For
comedians, the road to genius is bull----; for writers, bull---- is the road
to welfare. A writer someone whod make people laugh or cry about
little black marks on sheets of white paper (comic), whod try to make
people think they were hearing (inside) what they were (not) seeing
youd annoy everyone, and unlike with serious writers, one idea wouldnt
be enough for a career.72 Youd have to think. Constantly.
The 9-5AM is appealing to her because writing allows even a
stupid person to seem halfway intelligent.73 However, as the death-
defying and Rise of the Robots-inspired stunt requires, I doubt she
would be able to announce she was working twelve hours a day on a
masterpiece without crack[ing] a smile.74 Also, real art isnt merely
evidence of a person having lived, of passing or having passed, or
hoping to pass, through certain intense human emotions: its a clash
not [so much] between the characters but between the author and the
world, and by how shes being intellectually-schooled just by me, its
clear shes not ready to take on the world (because Im part of the
world).75, 76 Like writers must, shes also not ready to accept pursuing
goals that cannot be fully achieved until after shes dead. Nor could she
resist the urge to vomit a tome of gibberish that shed title People Who

28
Always Work Hard Know Theres Meaning and Bragging Rights Here,
all while religiously convinced that most if not all of what other people
write should be burned. You can just tell by how she lives her life that
her stories would be plotless and that she would defend them by
claiming they were true to life and that readers didnt want to keep
reading them because people today dont want to keep living, and you
can tell just by how she doesnt think before she speaks that shes too
paralyzed by the meaningless of modern life to drink water.77 Shed
claim wasting readers leisure time was her calling.
Creativity is crying.
I thought you said I was a fighter, the girl claims, convincing
herself she never wanted to write after I told her the truth to make the
truth easier to handle (little in life isnt self-deception), all while proving
what I suspected all along: shes not listening to a word I say. Hard
being hot. Going nowhere with her and so unafraid to turn to the next
page of our story (theres no way what follows could ruin everything
[] and turn what is charming into something unworthy), I consider
telling her how I feel about her (that I think we should make out (I
havent known her long enough to spoil the thought), that it should be
against the law for her to express herself), but realizing God is dead, I
keep to myself.78 We keep going nowhere, wonder[ing] as we wander,
and wander[ing] as we wonder.79
Youve always wanted to be in a movie with Brad Pitt? I
eventually ask instead, using words to hide what Im thinking and not
wanting to risk confrontation lest I give her something interesting to
think about (lest I present her with a story versus a series of events), and
lacking alternatives, shell think about how most people live their lives
(fighting for nothing) and wont think for long. Even if she doesnt want
to vengefully spread schizophrenia and be a writer (and so avoid the
trauma of finding out that [n]obody cares much about writers but
writers), she still has to be a thinker and pitifully think everything out.80
If her thoughts are interesting, shell keep thinking, and then one day
shell have thought too much. No exit. What a way to live.81
(I love my enemies, Christ-like, as you know.)
Ive always wanted to join UFC, she corrects. Predictable:
most people kill themselves for a living.
Unicorns Fighting Cancer doesnt strike me as the place for a
two-legger.

29
She laughs, but not the kind of laugh that means you said
something funny, but rather the kind that means you said something
stupid,
Ive always been great at punching in peoples faces.
Bull----,
I have no doubt.
I could take her. With a shovel. A gun. Superpowers.
Im joking, she says, I want to fight against poverty.
I need to do something nice to this girl, make her indebted to
me and never let her pay me back (no one tricks K but me!).
Magengeist not there for another Mother Teresa, I mumble. If
you heard me, whatever: Im (presently) not concerned with saving you
from wasting your life.
Silence. Reflection.
What?
You need to help me stop talking to myself.
You know, I say louder, secretly upset at you, the stomach
of the age.
Thats not a word.
Call the cops! Oxford! Wordicide!
Didnt you hear me just make it one? I ask the idiot, having
gifted the world. If words arent working for you theyre working
against you (Gangsta Dumpty).82
It means nothing, she replies stubbornly, confirming yet
against that she doesnt listen to me but rather herself off of me.
Would fingerspelling help?
The word you want to use is zeitgeist.
I flick her off with a thumbs up. How dare she tell me whats
going on inside of my head! I dont even know. How neurons pop into
existence, transfer information to cellsShes about to wish she would
have joined Unicorns Fluffing Cats.
Zeitgeist doesnt connote bowel movement, I enlighten, Its
a German word, so you would think it would, but like anything, it cant
escape being Hegelian. Magengeist is probably in The Phenomenology
of Spirit somewhere (that book Hegel read before it was written).
Why do you want to connote bowel movement? she asks, still
sensing Im wrong (it is truly a wonder how prone these practical
people are to feel rather than to think).83

30
I want to imply that global, institutional powers arent ready to
devour another social justice warrior to keep themselves going: warrior
plug them up until they explode.
Thats great!
Now she owes me (in addition to ear-rent) (forever).
You really can be a good guy, she acknowledges. Ever wanted
to be a hero? Tell people what they want to here. By the way, this good
guy she mentioned, you think hes a dream?
Too bad Im destined to become [a] completely unremarkable
[person] (given that such people exist).84
Why would you say that?
Good people are everywhere, I sigh, Take you for example.
Its like [w]ere living in a fine dream, but just another dream.85
I long for some terrific disaster, dont you?86
Evil makes you boring, not good, the girl answers, and I ask
her what planet shes from,
You Catholic?
I was [then] treated [] to one of those dazzling coincidences
that logicians loathe and poets love.87
No, she answers.
Wow, me neither.
You curious how this girl could like me now more than when we
first met? Love guru advise costs a lot, but this social justice warrior has
inspired me to throw pearls before swine. You see, by how she hardly
seems to exist (like all the women I know), you can tell that [w]hat
fire[s] [her up] as a rule [is] the remote, the forbidden, the vague
anything sufficiently indistinct to make [her] fantasy work at establishing
details.88 The more the whole hoper is around me, the less she can
make sense of me, making me more like whoever she wants me to be, all
while she genuinely believes she knows me for me (at least no self-
deception was involved when I was someone she only saw walking by
on a sidewalk). Its no different than whats going on between us, but we
can save that pillow talk for later.
Wait, you dont think thats true? You think she likes me because
I really am a good person? Maybe youre right: I never find myself self-
skeptical enough. What else isnt true that I know is true? If Im going to
be haunted by ideas, it would be great if they were at least true.
So neither of us is Catholic, the girl answers, Were also not
teapots orbiting earth, ghosts in a machine

31
Were definitely simulations, I correct, Elon Musk has
proven it a hundred times over in a thousand universes.
Youre alluding to The Matrix, she claims assumptively (Dark
City anyone? Ghost in the Shell?), and in this city, this testament to
modernity (whatever that is), I consider insulting her cultural knowledge.
A free man, I enjoy her among the ruins.89
In The Matrix, [t]he Apocalypse [doesnt] come when enough
people have accepted it isnt coming the world has already ended
while our simulation will be turned off when every man, woman, and
child is utterly sure that our world is the only and realest world. Big
difference.90
You just made that up.
Why would I do that?
You had an itch to use lines out of Will Selfs book The
Quantity Theory of Insanity, to sound cool.
They were good lines.91
Thats crazy, I answer.
Very.
I consider replying but wisely acknowledge that [a]ny attempt I
[make] to break into [her] monologue [she will] interpret[] as a desire
[for her] to [talk] more.92 She has decided that Im someone who has to
throw out references and allusions to keep my head from exploding
(women are the cruelest gender), to hold myself together, to make it feel
like all the book-staring was for something, and nothing I say will
change her all-knowing mind (all minds are all-knowing, for what they
know is all they know). What she thinks of me is obviously stupid, but
its likely impossible to make her realize that: [t]he mind encounters no
greater difficulty than realizing its nonexistence.93 The dumb lack the
minds to realize they lack minds; [t]hey can[t] escape from the prison
house of self.94 Can the intelligent? Just look at me.
Is something wrong? the girl asks, breaking me up within her
into loquacious interpretations versus accept me for my full self. She has
decided Im mentally ill because my references make her feel stupid (a
rigorous, scientific investigation will begin now that she has decided
what she wants to be rigorously verified) (we define disorder by what
disorders us). And anyone can be found to be ----ed up: when people
decide to look for reasons why a person is a mess (to read people against
themselves), no one can long survive the deconstructive pressures
brought to bear upon [them], and [are soon unveiled] as fractured,
contradictory [] all [people] tend to emerge as angst-ridden,

32
fissured enactments of [sadness].95, 96 As we could all see for ourselves in
Donnes hypothetical library where every book [] lie[s] open to one
another, this is because we are all walking aporias (live it up), knot[s]
[] which cannot be unraveled or solved because what is [] is self-
contradictory we are all engaged in a civil war with [ourselves] (for
the sake of meaning?) but dont think about it too hard (at all).97, 98, 99
Now you are? Good.
Hey, the girl says like a police-----, I asked you if you were
alright.
Because I took a moment to think about my answer, now she
thinks she has evidence that Im ----ed up. Silence is golden for
prosecutors.
I [feel] more at home on [this road] than I ever feltat home,
I answer, shoring another fragment to contribute to a hypothetical,
unfalsifiable, and vast construction work that involve[s] the whole
universe and [will] take all time to complete (and another one), finding
fragmentation [] an exhilarating, liberating phenomenon,
symptomatic of our escape from the claustrophobic embrace of fixed
systems of belief (and another one).100, 101, 102
Thats another Self line, she shakes her head, Is there
anything you wont steal for yourself?
Geesus (I have moments of respect for religion), is there
anything she wont say? If she broke my heart, she wouldnt hear it
crack, just her voice.
Selfish, she sighs.
Kesus.
Kish, I correct. Youd think by now shed know who I was.
Clearly she doesnt care to be known by anyone (especially not by
herself), but that doesnt give her a right to project onto me an allergy to
all forms of identification and definition. She should know better, but
not everyone had a great Mom.
What about Iran? she asks.
Unbelievable.
Ever tried listening? I ask back. She shakes her head,
Youre so random.
Im not an Australian R&B vocal group.
Someone should give her a memo that guys dont like girls who
are all over the place. ------. If you find your life tangled up with
somebody elses life for no very logical reasons [] that person may be
a member of your karass, which Bokononists believe humanity is

33
organized into, teams that do Gods Will without ever discovering what
they are doing.103 Or not.
You probably had an amazing home life, she quips out of the
blue (aka: outside the sadness she has caused me), That Self line was a
joke.
Shes gone too far.
You just hate[] people who [think] too much, I reply.104 Like
anyone, she doesnt want to read about or be around thinkers, because
near those who spen[d] much of [their lives] attempting to understand
the deep contradictions within [their minds] (to live them well), she
cant easily believe she doesnt need to be thinking herself.104 Thinkers
are walking convictions, reminders that we should be risking comfort
for truth; living well, for doing whats right. Away from thinkers, this girl
could genuinely believe she was living the good life, that no tragedy was
necessary. Like Nabokovs dead-for-display butterflies, because of me,
shes pinned down: had she read Being and Nothingness by Sartre-in-
the-world-kinda, she would have been ready (I assume), but reading is
risky. [Risk] is all.105
Thats Vonnegut, she sighs (more like Sowell or Taleb), feeling
convicted for not reading enough (not that I think she should be
literate), Theres no way youve read all these books. You scanned them
and cherry-picked the parts you wanted to use.
She thinks books are women, a sign of mental illness if there
ever was one.
If that was true, I calmly say to the crazy person, I would
have made a joke about doing that to hide the fact I did.
And wait a minute, how could I use lines Ive never seen? Yes,
God could put them in my head, but come on, dont be crazy: Ive
already got enough voices up there. What was that? No, I didnt say
anything. About time I told you, by the way: youre schizophrenic.
You dont read deeply.
I guess thats one way to imply you want to make love. And
what does she mean? Everyone is always reading: when they look at cup,
when they comment on the beauty of the day, when they look a girl in
the eyes and see what she wants (youre reading now). How can people
not do deeply what theyre doing all the time? (Dont answer that.)
It wasnt Vonnegut, I semi-lie, tired of listening to this girl
lecture me on the importance of being stupid.
Kind of was, but you changed it a little, she claims, Did you
ask permission?

34
What is this, a book?
Im a Progressive Conservative, I state the obvious, A Walter
Burke.
Glass Bead Game Expert Tip 42:
Hold the center.
Don should come first, she claims.
Dont you know the rules? I ask her sweetly and patiently,
References dont work if youre too vague, like shouting get out! and
expecting people to know what youre talking about.
Lord of the Rings?
Thats like ten glass beads,
Ridiculous.
Youre the one who started using all the references, the girl
defends herself, rudely implying that Im privileged because only rich
people with the internet can access so much culture, You dont have to.
Nobody cares how smart you are. So laugh with relief. 106
The Glass Bead Game is as good and honest a way to hold life
together as any other to stop yourself from having dreams of your
teeth falling out ([predictable] that everyone [suffers] that same specific
dream in our age: it symbolizes losing control (should at least))
though some prefer (Box-esq) science. I like science: unlike religion,
science will tell you the secret of life.107
Protein.108
All talking is reference, I divulge (to something in my head, at
least). Like lies, [references] systematically overtake actuality.109 To live
is to be overwhelmed.
I have no doubt everything you say is about you, she answers,
thinking of herself as witty, but no joke is intelligent that goes over my
head. If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate [] in
some new and useful way, die with it.110
Your obsessive referencing reminders me of a person with
OCD who needs to touch a soccer ball to stop a nuclear holocaust, she
lies, implying that Im someone to whom [e]xistence itself [seems] like
punishment.111 Lots of people today are claiming to be in that camp
because suffering is a great way to be perceived as deep and credible.
Thats why I should break this girls heart: it would really brighten her
future prospects. The girl sighs and looks at me, asserting something she
couldnt possibly know unless she occupied the minds of everyone she
ever saw,
I dont know anyone else with ORD.

35
You are very lucky.112
Or less Scanners-esq, she adds (allusion fight!), rather than to
save the world, you memorize all these lines out of books you havent
read to impress Simon Cowell.
All [my] days are[nt] a preparation for what never comes.113
Can I convince you that you dont believe what you think
about me? I ask politely. Im not preparing for Americas Got Talent: I
dont need Americas love, and Im not just saying that because I really
need it and think I can get it by pretending like I dont need it believe
me Im not ashamed believe me please.114
Care to try? she asks.
No.
Convinced.
No youre not.
Convinced again. asdf
Were all slaves of confirmation bias far more than confirmation
bias will ever allow us to realize; naturally and passionately, we hate[]
knowing something [we dont] want to know.115 This girl is living proof
of how everyone is like who isnt aware of how strongly they want to be
right (glad I could help you). She claims Ive convinced her, but by the
way she says convinced, its obvious she doesnt mean it; admittedly,
before I said anything, I knew that was going to be the case (comes with
the IQ and awareness of confirmation bias). Im also not surprised that
she continually implies that Im a brainwashing Nazi doctor, because if
the person youre debating is the spawn of Satan, you can treat them
however badly you want without being a bad person yourself. I think its
time to tell her how beautiful she is, to make her think about herself.
[S]elf-awareness kill[s] [] career[s].116 (No need to thank me, cancer
fighting unicorns.)
Your eyes are like a search engine, I declare, acting like I
want the GB-novice to (keep) look(ing) me over.117 You know, by the
look in her eyes, I think she want[s] [me] to be depressed [] to be
different.118 Misery f---- company. If she wants to be loved, all she has
to do is die: everyone gushes over people in caskets.
You really defy explanation, the girl shakes her head. Its too
bad reality doesnt smack people in the face when they describe it
wrong: if when people called an idiot wise they were pooped on by a
bird, if when they called a jerk kind they were hit by a car, if when they
called a terrible plan good their mouths filled with soap the world
couldnt be anything less than paradise. I then consider selflessly telling

36
the girl-stalker to stop thinking about me: nothing is odd that you dont
think about.
Im not a jerk, I defend myself. I mean, I understand what its
like to be a jerk because I often act like people different than me in
order to train and expand my empathy, but everyone knows that what I
act like isnt what I am. Whether Im pretending to be a girl, the
President, or an Oxford professor, I understand what its like to be them
more than actual girls, Presidents, and professors. Its an actors job. A
guy whos lived through the horror of Vietnam [for example] has not
spent his life preparing his mind for it [] [He lacks] the emotional
equipment to handle that experience. But this is what an actor trains to
do. So [] I can more effectively represent that kid in Vietnam than a
guy who was there.119 Amazing, really: I am a lie that tells the truth
(distrust those who arent fake).120 In response to what I said, indirectly
acknowledging Im right, the girl asks,
Are you like Prince?
Am I one of the stars? One of the real people in the world?121
One of those who doesnt pretend[] to be exactly who [they] are?122 Its
too bad what people say about you doesnt matter until after youre
dead.
By that do you mean to imply I produce[] popular culture
against [my] will? I asked.123
Youre not Nirvana, the girl answers I meant if you were
someone who could represent [your]self better as an abstraction.124
How am I supposed to get that from are you like Prince?
Thats your problem.
People saying vague things that make them feel smart its a
plague (nice simile). No, [y]ou will not be intellectually happier if you
know fewer things, and ultimately, you will know little: all of us die
surrounded (at least metaphorically) by rooms lined from floor to
ceiling with books [we] will never open again, not because they are not
worth reading but because [we are] going to run out of days but that
all said, it doesnt follow that convincing yourself you know everything
will make you the laughing Buddha (I should find out).125, 126 This girl has
obviously treated me poorly, but Im trying to be empathetic: shes going
through a hard time right now. As [o]ne of the minor tragedies of
human memory is our inability to unwatch movies wed love to see
(again) for the first time, so shell never be able to re-meet me for the
first time.127 Shes stuck; she knows it.
No exit.

37
The shocks of existence: [s]he must learn to take them more
lightly.128
Say what you mean, I tell the girl, alluding to Vonneguts
writing advice (GB-novice will never catch that reference).129 Not hard
to say what you mean as long as you mean to lie.
Earlier you implied I should do the opposite! she exclaims,
Do you agree with Vonnegut or not? Make up your mind!
I am making it up, as I go. Surely she knows that [u]nreality
abhors consistency: only people who havent read everything havent
read I Wear the Black Hat by Klosterman, and the philosophical virtue
of charity would have me assume the best of her.130 Therefore, charity
would have me conclude she must have forgotten that were nothing. I
should remind her that were trying to be Buddhists (you didnt forget,
did you?): remembering, shell fail. Serves her right for losing sight of
the goal, teach her to do better next time. Sad that humans almost never
learn to avoid hell without experiencing it.
Say something! she demands, How much of Vonneguts
work do you know? By as much as youve been quoting him, I wouldnt
be surprised if you hadnt read any of it.
I know as much as you need me to convince you I know.
She laughs.
Relationships dont last that get too deep too quickly, she says,
running her hands over her eyes (I thought it was the opposite?), My
fault, Ive been coming on too hard. Lets start over. Whats your
favorite color?
Im colorblind. Do you have a habit of vomiting on whatever-
you-can about nonsense, politics, and God to keep your head from
exploding while praying that knowledge can save us?
She doesnt respond.
[M]any lives, judged by the standards of the people who live
them, are simply not worth living.131
I meant to tell a joke, I correct myself, Chicks love jokes.
Sorry. Why did Kafkas brain torment him?
I dont know.
He was funny.
He wrote to laugh about it.
How horrible, she whispers. I didnt even tell her Kafkas
nightmare, that [w]hen he died he would not end. The world would
end.132 She wouldnt get the joke and thinks jokes are something you get
instead of earn (as people think about their self, their K-in-the-

38
background judging K-in-the-foreground, (not) [l]ike a dog): if I told
her our home is where we our homeless; the door of our dream upon
which we knock opens inward, she would scream.133, 134 Anyway, I cant
believe she still likes me (dont laugh!). Yes, I already offered a perfectly
good explanation for how its possible, but I still cant believe that
explanation is true. What does she see in me? It would be nice if I could
put a hole in her head and the image she has of me would fall out. The
fact she likes me seems so unbelievable, so make believe, that maybe
one night [I] hopped from bed to [book without realizing it] []
beginning [] the journey [] into which [my] whole life [has now]
turned.135 But wait, I know about other movies, books, songs fictional
characters couldnt possibly be aware of other [artworks] and other
[fictional] characters.136 I couldnt be in The Matrix, because [w]ithin the
reality of one specific fiction [] other fictions [dont] exist (except
maybe in the Ultimate Multiverse).137, 138 [The Matrix] [isnt] real, but
[then again,] neither is most of reality.139 There is hope, but not for
us.140 I think Im going to start acting like one of those New Age crazies
lacking any practical future: thatll turn her off, make her feel that
[a]nyone who planned to enjoy the world / is now faced / with a
hopeless task, seeing as New Agers are everywhere.141
Dumb joke, I admit, not believing myself, No need to say it.
[Y]ou sometimes have to start with a series of misunderstandings,
right?142 Always. And yes, maybe we should try having a spiritual
experience together? Be side-by-side with the unseen something that
haunts the day?143 See that bar over there? That place where hot girls
look for me? Ever read Flatland by Abbott? What if I told you that bar
was actually a divine palace, but we being three-slash-four dimensional
beings can only perceive the palace as a bar? Yes, I know it sucks when
someone tells you that a poem that looks to be blank verse actually has
an incredibly complex form, because you cant know if this person is
right or wrong without investing your time in the poem, and eventually
you just get tired of being put in the place of having to wondering if
what looks like nonsense actually makes the profoundest of sense, so
you just start avoiding art all together. Because youre tired. And art is
like religion, everything. But youre tired and dont want to heart about
what could be and what youre really like. But listen: the Flatlanders in
Abbotts book could only perceive beautiful works of art as two-
dimensional and incomplete, and as the one-dimensional beings in
Lineland could only perceive squares as points, so we can only perceive

39
that palace as objectively a bar. And what if I told you this is what it
means to live? To fight the tired?144
I dont make love with guys on LSD.
My girl, my girl, lama sabachthani? Th[e] truth is self-evident if we
bother to think about it, but [dont] bother.145 Why are people in this
world so flat and shallow and two-dimensional and lacking of any
hunger for truest reality? This world is doomed: I see it laid out before
me like a landscape. As if God or a child, I do the only thing I can do to
have some control over the environment: I cover my eyes with my
hands.146 UM, OM they know not what they do.147
Dont cry, the girl comforts me, Youre not alone. I only
make love with less than a millionth of the global population.
To be or not to no, no, if Im going to quote Hamlet, I cant
use the line everyone steals illiterate duck-hunters know that phrase
(you dont even have to reference it).148 But maybe I should be an
illiterate duck-hunter (NES for life)? [T]hat is the question. Being deep
and unconventional just makes me someone people dont want to make
love with; being deep threatens them, because where I am present is
present the possibility of something being said that not only ruins their
world(view), but makes them realize they have a world(view) in the first
place, that they dont just view the world (its like how everyone else
interprets books while we just read them, not to say I read). Everyone
thinks theyre a Pruflet these Ecclesiastic days, making it harder to
actually be one: to be the only person who is me; to bear powerful
indeterminacy; to seem[] hardly capable of being acted; to deal with
you.149 One foot in a world where youll throw a temper tantrum if I
dont acknowledge you (and this is right); another foot in a world where
bars are just places to drink beer (and this is right). Cogito ergo sum Pruflet
de Rhodes (would you have me not think King Bonlet, not think of prison
house secrets?).
To a nunnery, go.150
I promised my Mom I wouldnt do drugs, I answer, Dont
need them: I can be bored out of my mind.
Thats what redeems hanging out with this girl: the transcendent
experience. But death is transcendent too ([its] not an event in life),
and to transcend hell may mean you end up on earth in the middle of
the Holocaust.151 What am I getting at? I guess that Im still walking to
nowhere, out of my mind, and in the middle of a city where I guess I
could meet people, but Jesus said to [l]et the dead bury their dead
(meaning dont mess with dead people; watch A&Es The Walking

40
Dead).152 In this world you will [notice[] how people play[] at being
[zombies] while actually [being undead]].153 But take heart! [For four
easy payments of $19.99, you too can] overcome the world.154
What?
Ultimate GB Defense:
Not Listening.
Pale King. Wallace, I reply. Not that Ive read it (dont be so
assumptive): I once heard someone talking about it pretentiously. For
me, its an oral novel, a novel that has kept in touch with the human
voice and hence with the human body.155 I prefer my fiction to be sexy.
Braveheart? she asks. Typical: confusing the Scots with the
Irish. One bead for me.
What the heck, she adds, does boredom have to do with that
Gibson film?
I keep quiet, unable to explain stupid to idiots (as John Cleese
taught me to shake my head over). Shes mad that she doesnt
understand and blaming me for her (self/idiot)-realization; personally, I
find it sad how often people rather be anyone but themselves. Why does
she hate me? [T]ry directing your hatred at mere abstract principles, at
injustice, fanaticism, cruelty [] Such hatreds are beyond human
capacity, and so [wo]man, if [s]he wishes to relieve h[er] anger (aware as
[s]he is of its limited power) concentrates it on a single individual.156
Like everything, its in Dostoevskys The Brothers Karamazov: love
humanity, hate individuals; hate humanity, hate your Mom.
Did you hear me? she hypocritically asks, and I continue
meeting with myself. Shes probably tired of my (un)consciously ironic,
paradoxical, and brilliant personality, but as Roger Scruton discusses
(sounding like Harold Bloom), its the fact that the Hebrew God is
ironic that Jewish and Christian societies sustain themselves and
thrive.157 Their God is less hermeneutically constraining, giving them
more space to develop without having to feel (as badly) that their
development might be heresy; furthermore, they are more able to
(imperfectly) accommodate the other. By example, God-like, Im
teaching her how to make the world a better place, showing to avoid
moralizing and rather inspire her to moralize herself, and giving her a
chance to learn in advance what will be a mistake before experience has
confirmed it (optimistic against the odds).158
The girl explodes,
Pay attention!

41
They say that at any moment a nuclear explosion could go off
and kill us all (you know, they?), that the Doomsday Clock is minutes
away from midnight (dont take it personally), but [h]ow real [could]
the crisis be if were [hitting on each other in the city] going ha ha ha?159
Were all gonna die! in DeLillos Underworld theres a comedian that
keeps saying that and everyone laughs and laughs and that evening
everyone hears the sentence in their heads and cant breathe (I often
think about how amazing the scene is late into the night; it reminds me
of that hell monologue in Joyces A Portrait of the Artist as a Young
Man).160 Perhaps we can only be saved by harder times? Perhaps we
need to escape modern decadence and ease and comfort and return to
old ways of life? Return to when there was no electricity and infant
mortality was high and cat videos nonexistent? All manner of thing[s]
[would] be well.161
You want me to pay you for your attention? I ask the girl
(emotional-support w----).
You tell jokes to avoid me, she says.
I dont have any cash on me.
You talk faster when youre sick of talking to me.
Can I barter with that coffee I left back there on the street?
She takes what I say at face-value (she sees Im gorgeous);
stricken speechless, she mutters softly,
Never mind.
Never think? Crazy she doesnt think before she speaks
[she] does what [s]he feels like [] doesnt care if its good or bad []
just does it.162, 163 Shes a woman of her time. It is indeed a []
sensation to see such an individual, who, concentrated here at a single
point [] reaches out over the world and 164
You dont want to know.
Lets just say she does what she wants.
[T]he unimaginable is there to be imagined.165
After the end of the world / after death, I look over the city.166
It is full of people who dont want the same things, necessarily, but []
the same range of choices, ever-paralyzing themselves with choice, but
before they feel like they have enough options, they wont make a
choice, ever-paralyzed by a fear of missing out.167 To [them], [concrete]
and sky remain[] [concrete] and sky, vacant and tedious, and they live
fighting to love such emptiness; if they fail, they will be abandon[ed]
[] to a solitude worse than death.168, 169 To one another, life, love,
beauty they are nothing [] nothing but an occasion170

42
Can you look at me? the girl asks (do I look decapitated to
you?), Please. Please look.
Born-again pagans, these city-dwellers, these bubblish-like-
country-folk citaways, a folk with a destiny, living [i]n a world of
chance, constructing wholes out of parts, parts divided from other
wholes that may be lost, never have existed, or somewhere-yet-to-be-
searched, hearing so many whispers from cellphones, trees, shadows,
and almost-lovers that in the end [they do] not know what [is] truth,
what [is] lies, and what [is] mere rambling, hoping that their lives will
grow to be stor[ies], not realizing that if that were to happen, in the
end, nothing of [their] own [would be] left to [them], hoping that to be
real isnt to be ------, that they are loved by what is always with them
([their] shadows), that they know who they are and who [they] have
been not merely out of necessity, that they can be brought to tears by
the unexpected vastness of a common thing and talk in this inherently
disappointing life for hours about a weed in the pavement (crazy talk,
right?), that one day they will have enough understanding to deal with
either the presence or absence of God (whether or not everything is
permitted, everything is different), that they are more than just an
uneasy consciousness (singular(ity)) a living, a suffering, a Dasein
emblematic, incomplete, whispering I signify something (you know?),
dumb a hole crying to be whole a knowing of no act [] that will
liberate [them] into the world [] or that will bring the world into
[them] a prayer that [l]ife is possible in the desert ((in) here), a prayer
that they and others are seeing less of [their] inmost depths than [they]
believe (take note, you-who-think-I-am-what-you-think) , a silence
before those who come begging [s]how me your heart just once and I
swear I will never look again a metaphysical ache a wondering [i]s
it possible that there is an explanation for all the things I do, and that
the explanation lies inside me, like a key rattling in a can, waiting to be
taken out and used to unlock the mystery?, a wondering do I wish to
employ the key, or do I wish to drop it quietly by the roadside and never
see it again? (you see, they have [v]oluntee[red] for suicide missions
careers, attempts to be respected, lives, etc. victims of not-really-
autonomous cultural reflex[es], like characters in (merciless) stories that
tell themselves, unable to escape [t]he history that [they] make by
waving down taxis, sipping coffee, reading papers dying by baby steps)
a desperate ignoring of the questions in the windows of the
skyscrapers ([w]hat does one do with desire?), in the eyes of
shopkeepers drying their hands on their shirts ([w]hy can we not accept

43
that our lives are vacant, as vacant as the desert we live in [] ? Must
the stor[ies] of our lives [] be interesting?), along the curves of the
backs of the elders playing chess in the park ([who] can[] imagine what
it means to grow old?), tucked into the shoes of the homeless (I cannot
feel greatly outraged at the way of the world can I?), in the briefcases
of those on the metros (my story, even if it is a dull black blind stupid
miserable story, even if I am ignorant of its meaning and of all its many
possible untapped happy variants, makes the world a better place,
doesnt it?) [y]es, yes; yes, yes [] they, these hope-full-of-it
citaways, understanding nothing but deliberately mak[ing] it look as if
they understand everything, survive their lives all while surrounded by,
consumed by, and lost in the internet, that (omni)thing either within the
world or which contains the [world] (theres no way to tell for sure),
that (omni)thing which is an endless source of possible connection and
meaning, that (omni)thing which saves us from the fear that all life is
within us by showing us the outside world, terrifying us, and so proving
that we are there to be terrified and that there is something out there
terrifying us (pinning us down), that (omni)thing which is no doubt
[] alive but against which, like against a tree or a blade of hair, a gun
is useless, that thing which to live without is to be an idiot they, these
citaways, these thrown-into-the-world-Kings-of-Kings, look upon their
works, their hands, and dont know what they are doing; they dont
know if anyone really does something with their life: even Jesus died
young.171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193,
194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201

Sorry.202
Some people are born storytellers; I, it would seem, [was]
not, I acknowledge humbly (takes a lot of weight off my shoulders);
otherwise, Id describe to you a fight between a Voltron and Godzilla.203
Too honest thats my problem I wish I could describe the place to
you. At least Plato would let me into his paradise/hell; at least I got the
world record for the longest thought- sentence (take that Mathias
nard!): years ago, I thought for months without any punctuation. Make
Joyce jealous; Faulkner, furious; Coe; curt.
You cant look at me because you cant tell a story? the girl
asks (what were we talking about?), I dont understand. Why are you
stealing from Coetzee?
Since every good idea she has ever had can be found somewhere
underground in an old book nobody has ever read, all she can do to feel
intelligent is criticize my references.

44
Its sad, really.
I referenced Coetzee in my head, I divulge. Not my fault if
you cant see.
Colonialist.
Im honoring him.
And Confederates were just helping Christianize Africans.
Thats offensive.
Youre Eurocentric.
You forget Im (not) a Buddhist! Obviously this situation which
has built up [] will take some time to correct, assuming we want to do
it peacefully.204 Is there something [Western] about my attitude? If
there is, lets see some evidence.205 Dont have any? Never would have
guessed. [I] wish[] someone would invent an umbrella that would ward
off the rays of [stupid] [I can] feel raining down upon [me] on such
days.206 No, I dont expect her to be perfect I myself can act crazy
sometimes, though note theres genius to be appreciated in the madness
of the wise but that said, reasonably, I do expect her to stop thinking
and speaking simultaneously.207 All images are accidents, she may say: I
have no control over what enters my head and what images I see and
what I say and what images I put in your head and make you see no
control.208 Infinite jestsense. Let the face of this city be turned under
[] that its inhabitants may leave and new people assume the tending of
it.209 Who? No, you cant talk me into it.
The world has never revolved around me, I shoot back.210 I
cannot bear [] this world of maddening naivet about me!211 Shrug it
off if I could.
True, she answers, Theres still hope for us, for happiness.
[H]appy always a questionable word: the signifier suggests
the signified is something findable versus only searchable (like beauty,
truth, goodness, yeti).212, 213 I look out over the city again, the city I
tend to think is a unique mess when I forget to look past the graveyard,
the city I tend to forget is just another place where surviving is
happening, and I consider trying to set a new personal best for longest
thought-sentence (no, it never stops): especially in regard to those on
the planes overhead (because [f]lying is a neutral, mechanical
experience; you read the paper as you soar godlike in the air), I cant
help but feel inspired by all the faceless people to be the best I can be
(dont even mention people on Segways, that lofty fantasy: Id faint
(and I know you want that)).214, 215 The city is a symbol of life, hope,
decadence, sin, the soul (there where [I] [my]self [dont] know what [is]

45
what), activity inside the head, and whatever else the city makes me
think of (it changes from moment to moment), and people come here
from all around the world for the same reason people want to attend
their own funeral: to know what people really think of them, to know if
their lives really are worth living.216 Dwelling within the city are souls
without bodies and bodies without souls, and everyone, feeling
inhuman and horrible but looking accomplished and inspired, is
looking for what they lack, (perhaps) passing it a glance on the street
without so much a wave.217 A man changes a lot of his ideas here, in
this place thats essential reality [is] quite different, much more [divine]
and [transcendent] than [its] everyday appearance, an auric essence
which [is] to be found in [] painting[s] in our age when all that can be
found are photographs.218, 219 Does the city change your ideas for the
better? We would have to know truth to tell: some say to fear the irony
that flourishes here (method-acting Wallace Lewis-style, hoping to get a
theatre job so that they can almost pay a bill for once); others say you
should embrace the unbound advantages of disgrace [and disbelief];
others say nothing.220, 221 Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to
beauty unfamiliar and perilous to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the
opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.222 The world would be
alright if cities made everyone like me, a person who wont end up
simply one of the perished.223 But you know the truth.
(As you may have noticed through your disappointment, I
decided to rest up before trying to set a new thought-record. Dont
worry: Ill bring home the bacon soon.)
You grow quiet when Im right, the girl says. Quiet? You dont
hear this inner-whirlwind? Dumb Job. Earlier she implied that I changed
topics when I was wrong (not that Ive ever been wrong to validate her
theory) master of contradictions.224 Amoral, lacking even the capacity
to recognize her immorality, school-tested-into-ignorance, she hasnt
been convinced at some subconscious level that anything so personal
[as my intelligence] should always be shielded from definition and
classification.225 Its disturbing, how people can be.
You ever think you might be wrong about me? I ask, trying to
help her open her mind. She asks me the same question; I ignore her.
The lesson, if there [is] a lesson, if there [are] lessons embedded in
events, is that people want you to help them until you try, which is
when people stab you in the head with accusations that you are
intrusive.226

46
To determine Im a bad person, I begin, youd have to
identify a complex pattern, and unless you have a few million pieces of
data about me, you dont have enough information to avoid a fallacy in
Data Science called The Look-Elsewhere Effect (where you look
elsewhere if your test fails enough times until, by coincidence, the result
you want arises, as is statistically likely over enough attempts). Each
moment and frame of time youve been with me is an event, and across
the time weve been together, youve probably experienced a thousand
events of me. I have no doubt you are creative and smart enough to
find some common attributes across all these events, giving you a sense
of a pattern, a truth even if its all just by chance (genius and creativity
can be liabilities). I mean, a hundred events of me? Are you kidding?
Come back and tell me that you know who I am after youve spent your
life with me. And I havent event gotten into confirmation bias and
overfitting and stupidity.
To get enough data, she needs more experiences.
Experiences are too subjective for anyone to take seriously.
Talking about confirmation bias can be a way to hide yourself
from your confirmation bias, the girl claims, not listening, and I
consider futilely telling her that talk about confirmation bias hiding a
person from confirmation bias can be a way to hide yourself from
confirmation bias. Truth can be itself in part a deception; in fact, it
always is: [a]ll models are wrong but some are useful (take for example
my incredible thought-sentence: a useful model and description, even if
incomplete and/or false).227, 228, 229 So that were not helpless, we need
models and theories we need to theorize, anti-theorize, and synthesize
(a line of thought found nowhere verbatim in Hegel (shows what he
knew)) we need what cannot entirely help us. Pure empiricism for a
thousand years did not figure out that washing hands stop[ped]
infection[], [not] until we understood the theory.230 We need eyes to see
things.
By the way, (somewhat) on that note, Ive concluded from
experience that there is no correlation between intelligence and
susceptibility to confirmation bias; in fact, the smarter people are, the
more they can engage in confirmation bias without letting themselves
realize they are doing so (stupid people arent so clever). Ive also
concluded that today everyone is like software that cannot handle big
data: we cant escape the internet, news, booksand cant handle what
we cant escape. Like computers lacking algorithms, we lack
understandings of logic and epistemology, and lacking these tools, the

47
smarter we are, the worse the problems we face. We dont know how to
think and dont know how to think about what we dont know.
(Wait, did you just ask me why Im talking about this incredibly
important subject no one discusses? What else do you want me to do?
Something else you have in mind? Tell me. Honey. Master.)
I never said you were a bad person, the girl claims. You see
how easy it is to talk?231 If it was harder for her, my life would be
blessed.
You implied it, I answer harshly, letting her have it
intellectually, because until youre beat down, you cant stand up.
Someone is feeling convicted.
Then you should confess: I always feel better after throwing up.
Under conviction, the girl adds, scene after scene of [your]
life [will] play[] out before [you] and [] cohere[].232 Youll have a
presentiment of a single meaning upon which the[] [scenes are]
converging or threatening to converge.233 Dont fight it. Let it happen.
See the whole. Change.
Shes wrong because shes stupid, but being stupid, she cant
realize shes wrong. Hard to look for glasses. And you might have
guessed it already, but obviously this girl doesnt actually exist: no real
person would respond with a Coetzee quote. Shes a shallow creation of
mine, named Kay: I felt like I should tell you so that you dont blame
her for being unrealistic. Its my fault. Ill take the nails. And no, Im not
just telling you she doesnt exist to mess with you. Do you really think
Im that kind of person? Bigot.
Do you think youre subtly claiming Im stupid like the
protagonist from The Life and Times of Michael K? I ask, Im
offended.
Yes! Claimed offense first. Oh victory, how sweet thou art.
Praise Nike, from whom all blessings flow.
Offended about what? she asks. Someone here obviously
needs sensitivity training. I dont even acknowledge her question and
keep deconstructing her stupid and random Coetzee reference/attack,
Just because there is some similarity between me and K doesnt
mean were the same. Religiously pointing away toward God-knows-
what, references and associations are illusions of constructive
connection. Nothing. There.
The landscape [of her mind] was so empty that it was not hard
to believe at times that [the thoughts I was putting in her head were like]
the first foot ever to tread a particular inch of earth or disturb a

48
particular pebble.234 Nature abhors a vacuum, and unless I fill her head
with genius, ethics, and common decency, nature will fill it with untold
horrors. I have to hurry. Misinterpreting the look on my face as anger
versus determination to save her, the girl smiles,
Youre so cute when youre flustered.
Fine, lets make love. Theres a buzz from her pants. In public?
She states the obvious,
Someones calling me.
Just tell them you died yesterday.
She pulls out her phone and puts it to her ear. I scream,
You have a voice in your head!
Its me,
Get out!
The girl cuts me a cold glance and then smiles and says cutely
like a teen off Mean Girls,
Hey Mom, yea, sorry, but I died yesterday. Cant talk.
She hangs up.
The horror []235
You didnt think I took what you said seriously, did you? she
smiles, No attachment here. No! Im thinking about not having
attachment! No, Im not. Buddha!
I began walking east again fast. I cant be around people who
treat their mothers like I treat them. I have standards.
No one understands me.236
Hey, wait! she calls out. My mother knew well how hurtful a
broken illusion could be.237 Why she took me to church: to save me,
make me uncomfortable, make me think to bless me. She could have
cursed me instead. Or both. Like anything. Moms should love their
children and children should love their Moms if anything makes sense
in this life if anything can. Never mind.
Did I do something wrong? she asks, needing me to tell her
what is right in front of her. My voice is her eyes. People are snakes, by
the way: when you interact with someone, you are interacting with a
long tail of their history, ideas, friends, social pressures, interactions,
wounds, hobbies, joys, feelings, and the like (the image I have in mind is
of those 5th dimensional snake-light-things in Donnie Darko). Never just
people where people are: always histories too, always something behind.
Its why people are unpredictable, why every conversation is also about
something else, why people arent who they seem to be, and its why I

49
prefer flat, shallow people: theyre more upfront, more honest. I dont
want to be around people who have something to hide: I hate snakes.
Please tell me what I said, the girl begs.
What [is] life? No one kn[o]w[s] []238
Talk to me!
What [is] life? No one kn[o]w[s] []239
Please!
She runs up and grabs me by the arm,
Whats wrong?
I look at a man in the window of a store,
Nothing.240
Impossible, she asserts, no such thing.
You know what I meant.
She doesnt say anything.
Are you ever where youre standing? she finally asks, wanting
me to be here with her.
(Help.)
Your mind will kill you, she adds flatly, if you dont vent it, if
you dont tell me what youre feeling.
Thats not what you want?
How could you even say that?
I refrain from stating the obvious by using my lips and
instead take a deep breath and tell her what she wants to hear,
I felt like I had lost an adversary. Someone to test myself
against, I begin (also thinking about the time when I never see this girl
again), Mom 241
Stop the Self referencing! the girl demands, Say something
for yourself for once, jewel thie[f].242 Stop outsourcing! Outselfing!
Stop hiding. Your Mom probably isnt even dead: you just wanted to say
something that sounded cool. Disgusting. I hate the references!
Nothing interesting is happening here; time to cut the scene:
I am sitting in a bar and the bartender looks over and opens his
mouth
Dont run from me! the girl snaps, infuriated by my Self-
consciousness (fiction-consciousness), I can see in your face youre not
here. Pay attention! You move from book to book, stealing what you
can why? Its crazy.
Just the opposite.
You know, its time for me to go: I dont want to hear this girl in
my head anymore. You dont think thats her? Please shut up. Please!

50
Look at me! she shouts and grabs me by the arm and turns me
around and we look each other in the eyes.
Life is an ever-almost seeing.
Why all the references?
What else am I supposed to do with it all?!
Thats it: Im going to tell you I just woke up from a dream in a
bar. Be the change I want to see.243 That nothing happened. That this
Non-Buddhist girl doesnt exist. That I dont exist (not here). I storm
away. This is what I get for entertaining a girl who doesnt want to be
humble, a flat character. Im done with going outside; if I do, Ive lost
my mind and gone to shoot it for defection.
Wait! she calls after me. Everything you know about me is
filtered through my subjective consciousness, so it would be
intellectually irresponsible for you to believe anything Ive told you has
really happened. Be brilliant and accept youre not looking at anything.
Dont be a monster.
The girl grabs my hand.
Im sorry, she says five minutes too late, I snapped. I just, I
just want to understand what youre going through.
I look down like I look in bars,
Youre not trying to survive yourself, are you?
She hesitates; she looks away,
What about you?
Its time for the bartender to appear. Just before then though,
without a word, the girl leans in and kisses me on the cheek. Infuriating.
Every kiss begins with K! If anyones going to be Judas here, help bring
about salvation, its me.
Its always been me.
Just me.
Want another drink? the bartender asks.

Im sitting outside a lame joint surrounded by posers

Is this reality, the final reality, or just a new deceptive dream?244


On the house, the bartender adds. I looked up and smile,
keeping quiet. Clich thing for a bartender to do, but how can we live
our lives and part of us not be full of generalities, catch phrases, empty
greetings ? We can know so little (has anyone even read one percent
of all the books on earth?), and not even fully of the little we (think we)
know. The bartender passes me the drink: clearly bars have higher

51
standards of community than cities. Cities are selfish while bars are
where you can forget yourself.
Been looking down at that napkin for a long time, the
bartender says to me. Fine, then life flees from man into his works!245
Fell asleep, I answer. As you can tell by the fact I didnt smash
a glass across the bartenders face, Im kind (in my own way). (Be
tolerant.)
Didnt look asleep, the bartender says. Hes looking for an
answer. Like New York, Shanghai, London, or Mars, if this place was a
story, the characters in the story would believe the author hadnt
articulated everything the author knew (not all the answers), that their
story was a mystery meant to be solved, that if the author pulled back
the current of their world if a sight of skyscraper and road and air and
cars was laxly brushed aside like a window curtain even if the
characters couldnt recognize it, the truth would be there; if this place
was a story, the characters would believe that thoughts of theirs which
their author didnt articulate would still nevertheless exist, that if the
winkles on their faces were never numbered, they would still have a
specific number of winkles; if this place was a story, those over and
under it would all be the same: no one would know the true story, at
least not anybody anyone would feel like believing.246
I hope Id be different.
Most unawake people look awake, I answer.
You Russian? he asks, Looks like you have no time for small
talk.
The good of looking interesting/attractive versus the good of
being left alone choose (you must). Precisely because there is so much
good, life is tragic.
I never quote Russians or comedians.
The bartender chuckles,
How do you manage to always be funny?
Keep thy mind in hell and despair not in this world, how
does he manage not to be?247 I smile at the bartender and tell him with
my eyes that Im John Cleeses spirit animal. The bartender laughs at me,
Want a girl?
I look at him. Hard.
Sorry, he says, couldnt help but see
I slip the napkin off the table into my lap, resisting the natural
instinct to [] engage in the fights [I] can win easily rather than the
fights [I] actually have to win.248

52
All fake, I say, a joke. No proof here, just me. Has to be
fiction: I never leave the bar. Just confirming what I do is right.
The bartender laughs, shaking his head,
Youre something else.
What?
The bartender walks away, chuckling. Vagueness allows an
escape from responsibility: by not speaking clearly, he can always claim
hes misunderstood that hes not responsible for what has gone
wrong.249
That girl I never knew her you know.
So that you dont feel tricked, I want you to know that in the
end, Im going to die.
You too.
I want a different story! / No! This is the story that you get!250

Editor: I dont have any interest in what happens to you.


K: Join the club.
Editor: Its awful. Worse yet, your work is long.
K: You dont exist.
Editor: It doesnt work like that in real life.
K: Not until I fictionalize you, say, in my head.
Editor: Id still be here.
K: But youd be easier to deal with.
Editor: Is that how illusions work?
K: I do think it would be best if you didnt exist.
Editor: Please dont bring me anything else to look over.
K: I cant give stuff to people who dont exist.
Editor: You should include in your work acknowledgment that its awful
so when people tell you that you can feel like you knew something first.
K: That would be a great idea if not from a person who wasnt there.
Editor: Nobodys there.

III (3)
All actual life is encounter thats why I go to bars and wait.1
That, or I have destinesia, but I cant remember. Any signs?
How are you? some girl interrogates me. Askhole.

53
Unanswerable questions waste my time, I sigh. Im failing to
see why I let girls hit on me.
The hardest work, she answers, speaking slowly for dramatic
effect, is figuring out the right questions.
I laugh, but Im actually bored. Im also offended that she
ignored my philosophical reflection. These days, no one cares what you
have to say if you dont quote someone. If a famous person didnt say it,
how could it be true? Quotes are the brinks out of which people
construct their shelters, and if you dont do the same, in making others
existentially doubt their way of formulating reality, theyll ostracize you.2
Abditory of you, I note.
Great use of a word you dont know.
Quietus!
I then remind the bartender that Einstein said that he should
serve humanity, and the bartender brings us two drinks. I throw him a
tip,
Call your Mom, she misses you.
Dont be heartless, the girl rebukes me. The bartenders Mom
wont think Im heartless,
His Mom can take it.
The girl doesnt understand me but is offended anyways, as she
makes clear by changing the topic,
Peter Kreeft once said that there are two types of people in
world: saints who believe they are sinners, and sinners who believe they
are saints.
Loose references should be illegal. Unlike this philosophy major,
Id rather say something ridiculous that is mine than something brilliant
that I stole,
At least Im not unoriginal.
Good Will Hunting?
If I wrote a book, I reason (which, violating human dignity,
would reduce me to a disembodied voice who disembodied voices
(which occurs whenever someone phones a friend)), Id write it in one
day, because the less time you spend on something, the more you can
tell critics it isnt your best work. As intentionality falls, innocence rises.
Furthermore, Id make it all gibberish, and when it was published and
won countless awards, Id reveal I didnt understand any of it.3
You know, if I had survived cancer when I was a teenager, I
could write a mediocre book and be praised as a genius (not that I want

54
to spend life looking to see if the pattern adds up. One. Zero.). But bad
things dont happen to me.
Thanks God.
Would you title it Digressions? she asks.
Never,
Emotional Numbers.
(Id also call it a novel so that people would get angry when it
turned out to be a book.4 Like a President or professor trying to fit
people into a box (to save them from themselves), readers would try to
force my book into a preset form of their own choosing. In other
words, theyd expect a story.
Idiots.
My work would metaphysically prove the existence of religious
intolerance. Because the book would convict readers of this, they of
course wouldnt like it, and this would prove my point. And yes
everyone except me who claims they wrote a book in order for people
to dislike it only claim that after they find out nobody likes it.)
Thats ridiculous.
I drop a copy of The Philosophy of Right onto the bar.
Go to Hegel, I smile (forgive me for mispelling hel!). The girl
opens the prison door, abandons all hope, and stares at page one.
(I would also indefinitely add (interruptions) (parenthetically) to
my book to assure a posthumous publication (because a difficult work is
considered poorly crafted when the creator is still alive but profound
after he dies).)
Why dont you like Hegel? the girl asks. Shes clearly not
reading.
Hes dead: thats the basic flaw in his philosophy.
Whos not like Hegel?
Hevel , I sigh.
That another German Romantic or Existentialist?
Ive worked hard to be able to offer people genius insights when
they talk to me, so when a girl wants to small talk, shes pretty much
asking me to invest my time/money into a (terrible) company that I
dont want to invest in.5 Underappreciated, I direct her attention back to
the book she doesnt want to suffer because [o]f the [reading] of books,
there is no end, and much study wearies the body.6
I dont understand, she says.7
Shocking.
Keep reading, I chuckle.

55
(If editors werent afraid of Big Public, Id also interrupt my
work with (imaginary) politicians and professors before people got
distracted by my incongruous profundity, and Id fill my biographical
work of Realism with random soliloquies in the midst of incomplete
sentences (which various Post-Hamlets would silently beg themselves to
stop from giving).8 That way, people/cellphone-users would feel it was a
philosophical treatise, miss all the witty social commentary (due to an
eternally increasing sickness of preaching (and (parenthetical)
parenthesis)), and ultimately treat my artistically convoluted work like a
(sublime) painting (like the The Part About the Crimes in 2666), so
doing what I hoped for in disregarding my hopes.)
I can tell shes getting nauseous,
Read slower.
Im perusing.
You cant help existentialists who like being sick.
(And my work wouldnt be about a writer writing about
someone who wants to be a writer: that motif is way overused. The last
thing we need is another Portrait of a Young Wannabe.)
Have you read The Invisible Man by Ellison? I ask the rich
girl, giving her a drop of relief like Lazarus. She hasnt, so get ready for
her to say something about how the gifted must sometimes in a
reasoned and deliberate way, [refuse] to read what the literary press and
the literary marketplace [has] put forward as worth of attention.9
Ill get the popcorn.
(And if I wrote a book, coincidentally like a dream of Walter
Benjamins come true, not only would I make the book a large collection
of countless fragments, references, and allusions to other books
(because today there are so many books that we need books that help
consolidate them all together, leaving lots out and making me a target of
Big Copyright), but Id also make it very long so people wouldnt have
as much time to read other books, undemocratically dominating the
market so that readers would appreciate democracy (which is currently
being taken for granted).10 That or no one would read my book, and
hence it would provide material for the game of Humiliation from
Changing Places by David Lodge (which Ive never read, following
advice I only stared at from How to Talk About Books You Havent
Read by Pierre Bayard). Frankly, its easier to discuss books you havent
opened youre not bogged down by plot, characters, language, and
other details and its really easy to discuss books that dont exist.
Considering this, if I wrote something, it would be harder to talk about

56
it, and since communication helps build relationships, writing a book
would hurt my love life.11)
Invisible Man? she asks.
The one in which the narrator goes to Russia at the end.
Um, well, at the end of the novel, the unnamed narrator goes
underground like Dostoyevskys Underground Man, if thats what you
mean.
If you havent read it, just say so.
The best way to find out whether or not someone has read a
book is to make up a fake ending and ask the person if thats what
happened.
Do you like this part on marriage toward the end as much as I
do? the girl asks about He--l. She should get her own tricks.
You only like it because it can be misunderstood, I sigh, The
more difficult it is to understand and the more you dont know the
writers intentions, the more you can fill it infinitely with possible
meanings. Youre an academic.
You want me to be like you?
I knew she was a -----.
Always misunderstood, I sigh, just trying to help her see
herself, though she acts like Im only in it for number one. Emotional
idiot!
Are you talking to me or yourself?
She cant tell? Must be one of those people who has read so
much that she cant tell whats in her head from whats in the world,
which tends to be everyone who reads, for afterwards its virtually
impossible to see the world not through the eyes of what youve read (to
stay sane is a reason I dont read; to help others stay sane, why I dont
write). By the way, have you ever thought you might be reading a book
right now? And not know it? Perhaps the book is about how when you
were born, you started thinking of yourself as not a part of the rest of
the world, but as distinct. And living in that self-created illusion, you
made the world a stage for a story in which you are the main character, a
story in which everyone else isnt so special (a story like the one
everyone else is living relative to themselves). Perhaps the story is about
how you never let yourself find out that youre not only a minor
character, but not even in a story, and the story ends with you still in the
middle of your story. No, you havent thought that you might presently
be in a story and unable to tell truth from fiction?12
Me neither.

57
Were always talking to ourselves, I enlighten her, Even when
talking to others, for we always hear what were saying. Even if youre
deaf, the words go through your head before going into someone elses.
Lots of people are ashamed to talk to themselves, but the hypocrites do
it all the time. Just not alone or directly. But I think its better to
intentionally talk to yourself than spend all day talking to everyone else
(say on cellphones). At the end of the day, who matters most? The
Underground Man knew the answer. Furthermore, talking to yourself is
great for your mental health: it boosts your self-confidence, helps you
understand how you think, and helps you walk yourself through your
problems (like having a voice in your head). Who doesnt want good
mental health? Crazy people, thats who.13
(And I would use punctuation marks to show when dialogue
began and when dialogue ended, unlike Cormac McCarthy. He makes it
hard to tell what is said from what is in the head (what is externally
expressed from internally felt), which makes his books more realistic
(precisely because they are more confusing). All words come from a
voice in the head (a narrator), but I wouldnt want to make that obvious
for readers. Theyd have to earn a sane view of reality; otherwise, the
sane view would be meaningless to them. And that would be insane.)
I dont talk to myself, the girl denies, listening to what she
says.
That explains everything.14
(Id also fill my work with superscript numbers that referenced
sources and notes in the back to make people think my wisdom, facts,
and truths-dressed-in-lies were supported by evidence, knowing like the
Gospel that no one would actually look into them, especially those who
wanted to believe (and wanted to believe their beliefs were factually
grounded). Id create an impression of being brilliantly academic, and if
any heretic did check, so what? They wouldnt be able to tell that the
references were all fictitious. Who actually checks the sources referenced
besides other academics who invent, reference with superscript
numbers, and misread sources themselves? You? I have no doubt.15)
Have you ever thought about writing yourself into a book? the
girl asks, thinking Im turned on by random questions.
What? I ask, clarifying that my sexual orientation isnt
madness.
Youre the one person Ive ever met who shouldnt be a
character in a book, she continues, Not in fiction, biography youre
too cruel and thoughtish.

58
She didnt get the memo: [c]oncept and debate [] are literary
performances among others.16 [T]he activity of thought is itself a
sensory event how wonderful for art (and life) if it wasnt (and hence
art didnt have to worry about incorporating it), if thought couldnt be
beautiful, couldnt attract like a fire before a moth.17 One. Zero. And
besides, today, people usually do not care a damn for any art that is not
used for propaganda: you have to incorporate thinking that readers like
or otherwise theyll dismiss it as time-wasting propaganda.18 People
know what they want, and unless you like being ------, you better give it
to them good and hard.
Thoughtish?
Think about it, she demands, youll get it.
One. Zero.
Hard to think about idiocy, I enlighten her: too much space to
project in genius.
What you cant understand isnt always stupid.
Shows what she knows.
You really dont think I should be a character in a book? I ask
to give her the impression that Im ignoring her last point so that she
feels right and lives her life believing a lie. Honestly, I couldnt imagine
living that kind of fiction. To read is to interpret, and so everyone who
knew me would never know me. To interpret is to revise I would
always be changing and [to interpret] is to defend against influence
no one would want me to change them.19 No one is ever happy about
being influenced [] To be influenced is to be taught, and while we all,
at whatever age, need to go on learning, we resent more and more being
taught, as we become older and crankier.20 If I was ambiguous at all (as
all must be), I would influence, seeing as ambiguity forces readers to
think for themselves. Only gods are utterly simple, and so I would be
doomed to be hated, because it would be impossible for me to exist in a
book that asked nothing of its readers (as its impossible to exist in a
world that asks utterly nothing of its occupants, unless that world is total
fiction). And Id never be unique the originals are not original but
everyone who knew me would always want me to be more original than
[I] possibly [ever could] be.21, 22 We say that an author is original when
we cannot trace the hidden transformations that others underwent in his
mind; we mean to say that the dependence of what he does on what
others have done is excessively complex and irregular (and afraid of Big
Copyright, authors dont cite their influences (even though whatever
they make has only part of a meaning; it is itself a synecdoche for a

59
larger whole including other texts), afraid theyre still breaking the law
even if they cite and that Big Copyright might kill them for threatening
the myth of the genius a myth that helps humanity believe its
possible there exists a Supermen who can unify humanity and save us
all from ourselves).23, 24 [A]ll must copy copies nothing is truly original
(which is why so many artists are nihilists) and a character in a book, I
would be held to a standard I could never rise to (unless I myself didnt
exist) (which I wouldnt, right?), all while people tried to defend
themselves from being impacted by me (reading is always a defensive
process).25, 26 Readers would only want to be influenced by their idea of
me, and I will venture the formula that only minor or weak [writers],
who threaten nobody, can be read accurately. Strong [writers] must be
mis[]read, and this being the case, I would only be known as myself if I
was poorly crafted; a work of genius, Id be who I wasnt. 27 The
strongest of [writers] are so severely mis[]read that the generally
accepted, broad interpretations of their work actually tend to be the
exact opposites of what the [works] truly are.28 That would be awful: a
work of beauty, truth, and goodness, Id be known as a work of
hideousness, lies, and evil; if heaven, Id be hell, but if hell (the work of a
weak writer), Id remain myself. A [writer] is strong because [writers]
after him must work to evade him; a character in a book, if I was liked,
I would suck.29 But truth be told, all reading is a joke: [its] impossible
because the received text is already a received interpretation, is already a
value interpreted into a [work] (this why I dont read: I cant).30 A
character in a book, I could only be known through jokes, and not all
jokes are funny, especially the best ones. Only readers have any chance
of making themselves into children of the dawn, earlier and fresher than
any completed text ever could hope to be (not to say any reader has
ever succeeded in this second birth).31 A character in a book, Id have to
stay behind in the dark. Sadly ever after. You think everything is reading,
writing, and interpretation? Read(er)-sense.
No, she says, but I cant remember the wording of the
question I asked her to know if by no shes disagreeing or agreeing
(because I dont want to remember talking to her). She should figure out
that shes only here to make my self-reflections a conversation and shut
up. After a lifetime of talking with people, only an idiot wouldnt
recognize that Im no different than anyone else.
I think youd make a great character in a book, I tell the girl,
wanting to live happily ever after. Schizophrenia is disaster in life and

60
success in [writing], and by how well shes driven me insane, shes
clearly overqualified to incubate voices in readers heads.32
You dont want me to exist? she asks, trying to sound loving
and hurt. One of the Devils greatest talents could be to speak like
Jesus.33
You exist? I ask, stunned that she knows what countless
philosophical geniuses have never been able to determine.
Too many guys think girls like guys who act like jerks, the girl
complains, wanting to change the subject before she has to admit to
herself that shes wrong. When youre wrong, you never think youre
wrong (unless that is youre knowingly embracing a wrong idea to see if
others will agree with you so that you can feel smarter than them). And
knowing this, you must live in constant conflict with your mind.
No need to thank me.
Too many girls deceive themselves into thinking that they dont
like jerks, I respond. The girl then flicks me off because the highest
grade of reality is only reached by signs, and then, though I cant
possibly understand why, she gets up and leaves.34
(Lastly, Id try to end my work with Checkmate.)
We become strangers.
Why do I go to bars and wait? I already told you: in my heart,
there [is] a kind of fighting / That [will] not let me sleep.35

IV (4)
People can love one another because they can misunderstand
one another, as books and mirrors can be misunderstood.
Im an artist.
People like me because they misunderstand me.
I dont like to brag.
The role of the artist is the same as a cannery in a mineshaft: the
artist tells you if the air is poisonous or not (to paraphrase Peter Kreeft).

Bad air! Bad air!1

We have a nonsmoking section, the Big Bartender interjects


after auditing my napkin. One of the few certainties in life is that if you
start intellectualizing, people will get upset with you. Instinctually,
people know that someone who presents ideas can cause them to

61
question their beliefs and hence take from them the existential stability
of not knowing their beliefs can be questioned. All while theyre just out
trying to have a nice night for once, some intellectual, without their
asking for it, just rudely starts talking and forces them to realize life is
more complex than they thought, taking from them forever the
possibility of blissful peace of mind. I get it, always understanding where
people are coming from, but if the bartender doesnt want me here, he
should stop being dishonest about it. Besides, I only came here because
he looked lonely, selflessly putting myself at risk of catching his foot-in-
mouth disease.
Please stop grumbling, the bartender asks minutes later,
entirely disregarding my feelings. If you want to know how you really
feel about someone take note of the impression an unexpected letter
from [the person] makes on you when you first see it on the doormat.2
A reason I come to bars is to surprise people, giving them a chance to
tell if they really like me. No matter how hard the bartender might try to
hide the fact from himself, my method has unveiled that hes a hateful
person.
The greatest poem of the 20th century was a piece of
rhythmical grumbling.3
Prufrock?
I stop talking to him: uncultured might be contagious.4
A commentator on The Waste Land wrote: [t]here is a new kind
of literature abroad in the land, whose only obvious fault is that no one
can understand it.5 The commentator was also writing about the
modern person.
I just cant understand my boyfriends heart, a girl at the bar
complains after an hour of hitting on me, The more I look for it, the
more I cant find it. What am I doing wrong?6
Im probably the only person in the world who doesnt spend
his life saving himself from the crises he creates, so I guess I could save
her from herself,
Eliot once advised to look into a good deal more than the
heart [] look into the cerebral cortex, the nervous system, and the
digestive tracts.7
Unlike dead writers, who are removed from us because we
know so much more than they did, everyone knows Im gifted at giving
advice.8
You want me to murder him? she asks, unveiling both her
subconscious necrophilism (these days, everyone [does] what [is sexy] in

62
their own eyes) and that she wants to believe that I told her to murder
her boyfriend so that she can blame me when shes tried.9 Out of the
crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.10 You
know, I really do prefer my imaginary friend Im a very good
imaginary friend. Hyper-real.
Metaphors are hard to understand, I comfort her, lying, but
dont be mad at the mirror.
What are you talking about? she asks, confused again by the
basis of all human thought (according to Lakoffs and Johnsons The
Metaphors We Live By) (clearly, je parle des miroirs), Youre not a
mirror.
She seems stunned.
Denial isnt the first step on the road to healing, I unveil to
her. By the way, I love being judgmental: someone cant tell you to stop
being judgmental without calling the kettle black; no one can stop you
without becoming you.
You cant just say random stuff to avoid talking to me.
Oh?
Its obvious who here doesnt know what theyre talking
about, I acknowledge. I wish the police would show up and ask me
whats the problem?: Id tell them this girls doesnt understand how
words are coming out of her mouth.
Tell me, she asks, do you always have the problem of being
the only person youve ever met who is always right? Dont forget that
[t]he spirit of liberty is the spirit that is not too sure it is right. 11
Poor, stupid quoter: [p]eople who pass their lives in reading and
acquire their wisdom from books are like those who learn about a
country from travel descriptions: they can impart information about a
great number of things, but at bottom they possess no connected, clear,
thorough knowledge of what the country is like.12 In regard to her
question, Id tell her the truth, but the truth would set her free, and then
she would have to escape from freedom (to use Erich Fromms
phraseology). Furthermore, I dont want to ruin her love life: falsity has
the Stockholm Syndrome on its side.
You think Im agonizingly alone? I ask, Today, the people
have become a mob and the hero painfully alienated.13 Saviors arent
possible, though that doesnt stop millions from worrying theyll
accidentally be against Christ, what are you doing?
Ignoring you, the girl says, looking away. Escapist: by ignoring
revelation, shes losing the war of her innate need for simple answers

63
against her knowledge that life is complex, often unfair, and generally
mysterious.14
Eli, Eli, why hipsters?! I lament.
Dont hate yourself.
Im a Posthipster, I correct her, meaning shut up. Its not
hipster to be hipster.
Thats really hipster, she says, alluding to Prufrock and implying
she wants to euthanize me. Reference here, reference there all this
hipster does is drop WMRs: weapons of mass rationalization.
References help her escape whats in front of her by pointing to
something not present: they help her believe whatever she wants.
Escapist.
If I said you werent a good person, I ask, would you be
pissed?
Yes, she answers. The perfect comeback grows tiresome if it
happens all the time, but thats not a problem she needs to worry
about.15 Unlike me, she lacks the intelligence to bore people into leaving
her alone.
Then I wont say it, I yawn, feeling sorry for this girl who
underestimates how prone she is to rationalize. She doesnt suffer the
tension everyone else suffers: the constant wondering if theyre
rationalizing or reasoning. Id show her pity, but then she may never
change for the better.
Thanks, she answers, If I were to say Im a good person,
would you be repelled away?
Those who define good are never evil.
No, but Id tell you that people can humanize any monster.
In response to what I just said, this girl is probably going to say
something logical, thinking shes going places in life, having never
learned like me that making sense is not the same as having meaning.16
True, she says, acting like she knows what shes talking about.
As true liars know, their power comes from the fact that it cannot be
proven that their lies are maliciously fabricated, for true liars believe
them. The true liar is genuine, only mistaken a good person. Liars
dont lie.
No its not, I correct her, she having failed my test to see if
she would agree with everything I said, Truth does not change
according to [y]our ability to stomach it. 17
By failing my trial, I hope shell realize she needs a [life]
reorientation: to see the world through the eyes of the outcast, rather

64
than the conqueror to realize shes been wrong to try to prove me
wrong.18
How original, she sighs. Original? In this world?
Truth is there is no truth, I tell her, and knowing the truth
is the only way to be unique: [y]ou shall know the truth and the truth
shall make you odd.19
Do you know anything for yourself or do you just quote
others? the poor, stupid quoter asks. In conversation with [the stupid
person], one feels that one is dealing not at all with a person []20
Well what do you know?
She doesnt say anything, mad. I chuckle.
Truth hurts, like love.
Hearts have thorns, inward and outward.
Why do you have to be such a jerk? she laments rudely,
proving that we are living in [] a thought-tormented age [...] educated
or hypereducated [] [that] lack[s] those qualities of humanity, of
hospitality, of kindly humour which belonged to an older day.21 I shrug,
If you take life seriously, you dont take life seriously enough.

Thats a great line to shut up on, but you know I dont like
giving you the pleasure of a clean ending (no break for you), and
furthermore it would be rude not to comment on what youre thinking
about. Yes, I know what youre thinking (but only when you dont want
me to): youre wondering why I dont want to be writer. You know I
dont reward nosey people on principle, but Im feeling unjust today. To
start, I dont have any talent, and thats a great thing: I dont wake up
every day feeling a pressure to do something with my gift (curses are
called gifts by people who dont have them). The greater the talent, the
greater the pressure (assuming talent exists), and if you did nothing,
youd feel crushed by the guilt. Talented, you couldnt not try, all while
knowing publication was impossible, for publishers discriminate against
the talented (according to the talented). People would tell you how lucky
you were to be talented, and if you didnt thank them, theyd think you
were a jerk, furious at you while you were crushed between the pressures
of guilt and talent. Wouldnt it be horrible to be crushed alive by a
blessing? You couldnt live the life you wanted to live, though everyone
would think you were pursuing your dreams and hope your dreams
would come true, forgetting that nightmares are dreams too. And also it
would be terrible to be good at something people wouldnt know how
to value. If you were a professor, people would know to respect you, but

65
if you sat around writing all day, people wouldnt know what to think.
Youd wonder if they thought you were crazy, and youd recognize that
you very well might be (I mean, come on, you sit around writing all day
thats pretty crazy). And so because of your talent, youd have to
wonder if you were insane, and Ive already got enough problems to
keep me busy. And people would assume whatever you wrote was a
reflection of what you thought, and in todays industry, to get published,
youd have to write about some pretty awful stuff to stand out (like
mistreating women). And what would you write about? Writing? Thats
all you know (how horrible), and books about writers are metasense
(you know what I mean). And also (how often I say and also and and
so confirms that I lack literary talent, blessedly, as does my tendency to
speak parenthetically), whenever you came up with something, youd
have to wonder if your new idea was already in a book you didnt know
about: youd never be sure if it was original.
Never.
It would be awful to be a writer and not write slopily but to
write Joycean and like Molly Bloom in your attempt to be original and to
wake up each day and feel a pressure to attempt the impossible becuas ei
fyou didnt, youd feel guilty and so youd have to or you couldnt live ut
youd kno that if youd have little chance of succeeding and everyone
would make fun of you and you would stay up late and work work work
at something everyone would think was a wast of time scribbling
thoughts on napkins and your hands torn confused bored not caring
pretending Hamlet with one foot in a world with truth and one foot in a
world where truth is dead black and white Athens and Jerusalem looking
for an escape from the between and looking more and more torn and
torn and every word too heavy having to have a reason and hiding them
so no one judged you as you struggled with all the ideas all those ideas
and ideas that made more ideas that youd try to put together always
adding always adding because you ignore a part of the whole at your
own peril and no you cant know you know or feel like you know the
whole even if you do assuming you can and so youre always adding and
adding and hoping it would all hold whatever it is hoping it would hold
no stops or breaks or going back to fix mistakes unconscious untilt he
end of all you know like a man falling in good or bad love and designing
scaffolding to hold up the universe but knowing that one idea could be
off and the whole scaffolding could come crashing down and bring the
universe with it and so you would write it all into existence and run and
close your ears and eyes so you wouldnt hear the crashing crashing

66
crashing of the scaffolding when something was off and some reader
who tried to stand on your scaffolding brought it all down with weight
and objections and youd just run run run hoping all the ideas added up
to something lik a one or zero or onezero and then youd run back and
take your book and hide it on a sehlf until death Dante because that way
know one could stand on your scaffolding and bring down the universe
you live in weeping and unfaithful to your commimtment to show the
world truth you dont want them to stand on in case they break it and
youd then pretend the book didnt exist and write another that was
nonsense and youd know it was bad written nonsense so you couldnt be
blamed for it but any glimmer of truth that came through randomly that
was part of a vague logic that couldnt be put into words would be in the
world but not your fault responsibility sin and so that way you wouldnt
have to live trying to link all the ideas together hopying they link and
praying you never find out and that if the universe crashes you never
realize it and jut die and run run and youd hear someone say on your
runnin something that undermines one of your ideas and so thenyoud
know your scaffolding wont hold and youd be cursed by the knowledge
and crushed and then youd look for a logic to convince yourself that
you cant hear or see anyone and that way you can tell yourself that all
threats of others to your scaffolding are illusions and nothing and you
and you can hope itwill all stay together so you can live hoping and
hoping that you dont want to try anymore to know if its easier to living
knowing it doesnt all go together than does but youd probably stil
keeping thinking and more ideas come and youd hav to get thm out or
explode and so youd have to try and fail and try and fail and try and fail
and fail fail fail fail and fail and youd keep going to keep from
being crushed by scaffolding falling in love or nonsense and youd try to
get them out or lose your mind and youd keep trying and be the man
with too many ideas and no one would care and whatever you wote
would be unoriginal written by someone better Shakespeare Cervantes
Someone Someone but you could never le tyoruself think that or oud
give up and be driven mad by all the thoughts and no one would read
the garabage either because theres to omany ideas or because everyone
hates literature or because people dont read and so youd live for nothing
and nothing and nothing an dthe ideas would keep comeing more essays
stories novels requires no exit and thats the life of a writer. Thats life.
Everlasting. The end. I sure am lucky. A writer, I would hate living.
You? Yes.

67
Editor: Publishers are going to go crazy.
K: yes.

68
69
Notes
Call Me
The First Act
I (1)
Inspiration from The Art of the Personal Essay, edited by Philip Lopate, and A Hero of Our Time by
Mikhail Lermontov.

1Montaigne, Michel de. Of the Education of Children, The Works of Michael de Montaigne.
Translated by Charles Cotton. J.W. Moore, 193 Chestnut Street, 1856: 86.

2Montaigne, Michel de. Of the Education of Children, The Complete Essays of Michel de
Montaigne. Translated by Charles Cotton. Digireads.com Publishing, 2009: 116.

3Montaigne, Michel de. On Presumption, Essays. Penguin Books, 1958: 211.

4Joyce, James. The Dead. Dubliners.

5Shakespeare, William. MacBeth. Ginn & Company, 1888: 159.

6Montaigne, Michel de. Of the Education of Children, The Works of Michael de Montaigne.
Translated by Charles Cotton. J.W. Moore, 193 Chestnut Street, 1856: 89.

7Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Blackwell Publishing, 2009: 220 (114e).

8Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Mineola, NY: Dover Publishing, 1990: 68.

9Beckett, Samuel. Murphy. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1957: 1.

10Joyce, James. The Dead. Dubliners.

11Montaigne, Michel de. On Presumption, Essays. Penguin Books, 1958: 207.

12Stevenson,
Robert Louis. An Apology for Idlers, The Art of the Personal Essay. New York,
NY: Anchor Books, 1995: 225.

13Wieman, Henry Nelson. Religious Experience and Scientific Method. Macmillan, 1926: 128.

14Lopate,
Philip. Against Joie de Vivre, The Art of the Personal Essay. New York, NY:
Anchor Books, 1995: 731.

14.1InLuke 6:26, Jesus warned woe to you, when all people speak well of you. By insulting
others, I lovingly show them that they have nothing to fear. When others insult me, I feel cared
for my heart is eased I feel loved.

15Allusion to Endgame by Samuel Beckett.

16Seneca. On Noise, The Art of the Personal Essay. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1995: 5.

17Seneca. On Noise, The Art of the Personal Essay. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1995: 7.

70
18Johnson,
Samuel. Praises of Solitude, The Art of the Personal Essay. New York, NY:
Anchor Books, 1995: 142.

19Quote from Goethe.

20Inspiration from Alastair Reid.

21Quote from Georg Lichtenberg.

22Lermontov, Mikhail. A Hero of Our Time. Translated by J.H. Wisdom & Mark Murray. New
York: Alfred A Knopf, 1916: 235.

23Lermontov, Mikhail. A Hero of Our Time. Translated by J.H. Wisdom & Mark Murray. New
York: Alfred A Knopf, 1916: 309.

23.1 Guiltivate (verb): to motivate with guilt.


Guiltivator (noun): someone who motivates with guilt.

24Allusion to No Man Is An Island by John Donne.

25Aseries of references to The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, The Heart of Darkness by
Conrad, and No Man Is An Island by John Donne.

26Huxley,Aldous. Vulgarity in Literature, Collected Essays by Aldous Huxley. Harper & Row,
1971: 103.

27Unlike most people, when I watch TV, Im aware of it.

28Steve Jobs said that creativity is just connecting things, admitting that he violated Big
Copyright. Jobs and I are brothers: fearlessness runs through both of our veins. A creator unifies
and creativity connects. Everyone is a creator, because everyone has a consciousness that unifies
all their experiences into a self, but Big Copyright scares people into screaming Im not creative!
(aka: Im unconscious!). Its disgusting that people are so cowardly.

II (2)

1Allusion to The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

2Its always Mothers Day; for more details, study property rights.

3Like God, Ill keep the meaning to myself.

4Rieff, Philip. Charisma. New York, NY: First Vintage Books Edition, 2008: 133.

5Rieff, Philip. The Triumph of the Therapeutic. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2007: 79.

6Atthe very least, thats a great, epic, unfalsifiable, and poetic way to describe yourself so that
people pity you and give you free stuff like love and money.

7Allusion to The Trial by Franz Kafka.

8Rieff, Philip. Charisma. New York, NY: First Vintage Books Edition, 2008: 133.

9Rieff, Philip. Charisma. New York, NY: First Vintage Books Edition, 2008: 133.

71
10Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 129.

11Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 160.

12Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 186.

13Allusion to Close to You by The Carpenters.

14Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 99.

15Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 69.

16Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 69.

17Allusion to Genesis 1.

18Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 100.

19Allusion to The Castle by Franz Kafka.

20Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 50.

21Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 19.

22Allusion to The Silence of the Sirens by Franz Kafka.

23Gaddis, William. The Recognitions. Dalkey Archive Press, 2012: 95.

24Gaddis, William. The Recognitions. Dalkey Archive Press, 2012: 95.

25The I Ching. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997: 400.

26Allusion to George Box.

27Smullyan, Raymond. The Tao is Silent. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1977: 7.

28Smullyan, Raymond. The Tao is Silent. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1977: 86.

29Smullyan, Raymond. The Tao is Silent. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1977: 5.

30Tao is Tao and also the (Not-)Not-Tao: its like any ideology and why anyone with an ideology
is like a Taoist. If you have a worldview, what supports it is what you dont care whether or not
exists (though you will likely think you do).

31Smullyan, Raymond. The Tao is Silent. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1977: 6.

32Allusion to The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1977: 28.

33Suzuki, Daisetz. Zen and Japanese Culture. New York, NY: Princeton University Press, 2010:
5.

34Suzuki, Daisetz. Zen and Japanese Culture. New York, NY: Princeton University Press, 2010:
376.

72
35Suzuki, Daisetz. Zen and Japanese Culture. New York, NY: Princeton University Press, 2010:
96.

36Allusion to The Putin Paradigm by Masha Gessen.

37Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 310.

38Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 71.

39Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 71.

40Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 97.

41Allusion to The Drunken Boat by Arthur Rimbaud.

42Allusion to Gravitys Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

43Allusion to The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot.

44Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 19.

45Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 19.

46Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 70.

47Allusion to A Descent into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe.

48Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 20.

49Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 20.

50Allusions to Lunch with the FT: Jonathan Franzen by Lucy Kellaway.

51Nabokov, Vladimir. The Gift. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991: 164.

52Allusion to Proverbs 25:2.

53Allusion to The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats.

54Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 128.

55Allusion to The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats.

56Nabokov, Vladimir. The Gift. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991: 4.

57Nabokov, Vladimir. The Gift. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991: 211.

58Nabokov, Vladimir. Pnin. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 165.

59Nabokov, Vladimir. The Gift. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991: 25.

60Nabokov, Vladimir. The Gift. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991: 169.

73
61Smullyan, Raymond. The Tao is Silent. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1977: 38.

62OConner,Flannery. The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South. Mystery and Manners.
New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970: 192.

63Hoban, Russell. Riddley Walker. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1998: 223.

64Hoban, Russell. Riddley Walker. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1998: 226.

65But in case she is a lying and an undercover writer, I might criticize books with characters in
them that criticize being a character in a book, because I would want critics to roll their eyes at
her metafictional bull----. I should also criticize fictional characters that make connections
between allusions to show off cultural knowledge, mere connections that teach us nothing, but I
would need a quote. I should also talk about living my life in a manner that doesnt follow a
traditional story (like Joseph Campbell discusses), but note that Im scared not to do what works
and that I have to face my fear: I shouldnt live my life unlike I otherwise would just to make it
interesting and storied. None of this describes the real me though Im a person, not a character
but to save her from inspiration and writing, I can be who I am not a hero without his face.

66Nabokov, Vladimir. Invitation to a Beheading. New York: First Vintage International Edition,
1989: 93.

67Rieff, Philip. Charisma. New York, NY: First Vintage Books Edition, 2008: 4.

68Hoban, Russell. Riddley Walker. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1998: 223.

69Nabokov, Vladimir. Pnin. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 165.

70Nabokov, Vladimir. Invitation to a Beheading. New York: First Vintage International Edition,
1989: 26.

71Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 166.

72Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 98.

73Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 116.

74Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 167.

75Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 217.

76Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 290.

77Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 99.

78Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.: 2002, 18.

79Allusionto Why Every Smart Liberal Should Read Conservative Philosopher Peter Lawler
by Damon Linker, as can be found here:
http://theweek.com/articles/701064/why-every-smart-liberal-should-read-conservative-
philosopher-peter-lawler

80Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 13.

74
81Hoban, Russell. Riddley Walker. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1998: 7.

82Hoban, Russell. Riddley Walker. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1998: 226.

83Nabokov, Vladimir. Pnin. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 141.

84Nabokov, Vladimir. The Defense. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1990: 25.

85Nabokov, Vladimir. The Defense. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1990: 133.

86Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Second Vintage International Edition, 1997: 53.

87Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Second Vintage International Edition, 1997: 31.

88Nabokov, Vladimir. Glory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991: 34.

89Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Second Vintage International Edition, 1997: 53.

90Self, Will. The Quantity Theory of Insanity. New York. First Vintage International, 1996: 43.

91Gessen, Keith. All the Sad Young Literary Men. New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 2008: 41.

92Self, Will. The Quantity Theory of Insanity. New York. First Vintage International, 1996: 77.

93Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press Corp, 1977: 51.

94Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature by Gary Saul Morson, as can be
found here:
https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/why-college-kids-are-avoiding-the-study-of-
literature/

95Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. New York, NY: Manchester University Press, 2002: 76.

96Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. New York, NY: Manchester University Press, 2002: 77.

97Allusion to Meditation XVII by John Donne.

98Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. New York, NY: Manchester University Press, 2002: 78.

99Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. New York, NY: Manchester University Press, 2002: 79.

100Self, Will. The Quantity Theory of Insanity. New York. First Vintage International, 1996: 57.

101OConnor, Flannery. OConnor: Collected Works. New York, NY: The Library of America,
1988: 19.

102Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. New York, NY: Manchester University Press, 2002: 84.

103Vonnegut, Kurt. Cats Cradle. New York, NY: Dell Publishing, 1998: 2.

104Vonnegut, Kurt. Cats Cradle. New York, NY: Dell Publishing, 1998: 33.

105Allusion to King Lear by William Shakespeare.

75
106Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 160.

107Klosterman, Chuck. The Visible Man. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2011: 52.

108Vonnegut, Kurt. Cats Cradle. New York, NY: Dell Publishing, 1998: 25.

109Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press Corp, 1977: 59.

110Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 69.

111Klosterman, Chuck. Killing Yourself to Live. New York, NY: First Scribner Trade Paperback
Edition, 2006: 197.

112Mosley, Nicholas. Hopeful Monsters. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1993:
48.

113Ellmann, Richard. Yeats: The Man and the Masks. New York. W.W. Norton & Company,
1978: 219.

114Inspired
by Chuck Klosterman. Eating the Dinosaur. New York, NY: First Scribner Trade
Paperback Edition, 2010: 50.

115DeLillo, Don. Libra. New York, NY: Viking, 1988: 151.

116Klosterman,Chuck. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. New York, NY. First Scribner Trade
Paperback, 2004: 81.

117Klosterman, Chuck. The Visible Man. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2011: 101.

118Klosterman, Chuck. The Visible Man. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2011: 97.

119Klosterman, Chuck. IV. New York, NY: First Scribner Trade Paperback Edition, 2007: 38.

120Allusion to Jean Cocteau.

121Allusion to Boogie Nights, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

122DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 103.

123Klosterman, Chuck. The Visible Man. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2011: 38.

124Klosterman, Chuck. The Visible Man. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2011: 16.

125Klosterman, Chuck. The Visible Man. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2011: 93.

126Coetzee, J.M. Slow Man. New York, NY. Penguin Group, 2006: 47.

76
127Klosterman, Chuck. The Visible Man. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2011: 91.

128Coetzee, J.M. Disgrace. New York, NY. Viking Penguin, 1999: 194.

129Alludingto How to Write With Style by Kurt Vonnegut, as can be found here:
http://peterstekel.com/PDF-HTML/Kurt%20Vonnegut%20advice%20to%20writers.htm

130Klosterman, Chuck. I Wear the Black Hat. New York, NY: First Scribner Hardcover Edition,
2013: 40.

131Vonnegut, Kurt. Palm Sunday. New York, NY: Dial Press Trade Paperback Book, 2006: 123.

132DeLillo, Don. Cosmopolis. New York, NY: Scribner, 2003: 6.

133Allusion to The Trial by Franz Kakfa.

134Inspired
by David Foster Wallace: Remarks on Kafka, as can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzEO0qFFzwI

135Nabokov, Vladimir. Glory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991: 5.

136Klosterman,Chuck. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. New York, NY. First Scribner Trade
Paperback, 2004: 36.

137Klosterman,Chuck. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. New York, NY. First Scribner Trade
Paperback, 2004: 36.

138In the Ultimate Multiverse Brian Greene discusses in The Hidden Reality, all actually possible
fictions would exist as non-fictions. Does that include all (artistic) fictions that have ever been
created that are realistic enough to be possible? If not, the Ultimate Multiverse wouldnt help us
determine who are the best artists; if so, Harold Bloom should check the place out.

139Klosterman,Chuck. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. New York, NY. First Scribner Trade
Paperback, 2004: 147.

140Paraphrasing
of Kafka by David Foster Wallace, as can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzEO0qFFzwI

141Allusion to The Centurys Decline by Wislawa Szymborska.

142DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 474.

143DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 11.

144Inspired
by Episode 7 Lost and Found (Part 2) by The Liturgists, as can be found here:
http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2014/10/27/episode7-lost-and-found-part-2

145Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press Corp, 1977: 95.

146Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press Corp, 1977: 89.

147Allusion to Luke 23:34.

77
148In a world where everyone knew everything, you wouldnt have to cite anything.

149Allusion to William Hazlit on Hamlet.

150Allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare. (Do I need to provide this reference? It is Hamlet,
but most people havent read it: they just know that famously clich monologue. I mean, have
you read it? No, I mean read it? Thats why I have to do all these references: if you knew
everything, my life would be easier. And theres no guarantee, despite all my work, that Big
Copyright will leave me alone: they have to eat too and avoid boredom and not be similar to the
IRS in The Pale King and not have religious experiences.)

151Allusion to Ludwig Wittgenstein.

152Allusion to Luke 9:60.

153 DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 103

154Allusion to John 13:16.

155Coetzee, J.M. Elizabeth Costello. New York, NY. Viking Penguin, 2003: 53.

156Kundera, Milan. The Joke. Great Britain. HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1992: 271.

157See Roger Scruton - On Islam and the West, as can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9DuNlJpWxg

158Inspired
by Roger Scruton - The True, the Good and the Beautiful, as can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10PG8VZiZaQ

159DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 507.

160DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 507.

161Allusion to Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot.

162Coetzee, J.M. Disgrace. New York, NY. Viking Penguin, 1999: 33.

163Too bad Philip Rieff isnt around to meet her.

164Pinkard, Terry. Hegel: A Biography. Cambridge University Press, 2001: 228.

165Coetzee, J.M. Slow Man. New York, NY. Penguin Group, 2006: 44.

166Allusion to Tadeusz Rozewicz,

167DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 785.

168Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 38.

169Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 39.

170Coetzee, J.M. Dusklands. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1996: 91.

171Coetzee, J.M. Dusklands. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1996: 57.

78
172Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 30.

173Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 12.

174Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 133.

175Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 115.

176Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 130.

177Allusion
to The Sage of Yale Law by Joshua Rothman, as can be found here:
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/persons-of-interest/the-sage-of-yale-law

178Allusion
to Should Tyler Cowen Believe in God? by Ross Douthat, as can be found here:
https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/should-tyler-cowen-believe-in-god/

179Allusion to Dostoevsky.

180Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 3.

181Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 9.

182Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 41.

183Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 10.

184Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 31.

185Coetzee, J.M. Diary of a Bad Year. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2008: 91.

186Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 71.

187Coetzee, J.M. Diary of a Bad Year. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2008: 7

188Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 62.

189Coetzee, J.M. Diary of a Bad Year. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2008: 27.

190Coetzee, J.M. Diary of a Bad Year. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2008: 55.

191Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 59.

192Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 114.

193Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 59.

194Mann, Thomas. Buddenbrooks. New York. First Vintage International Edition, 1994: 235.

195Mann, Thomas. Doctor Faustus. New York. First Vintage International, 1992: 441.

196Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1982: 5.

79
197Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Idiot. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New
York, NY: First Vintage Classics Edition, 2003: 580.

198Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Idiot. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New
York, NY: First Vintage Classics Edition, 2003: 566.

199DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York, NY: First Scribner Paperback, 1998: 826.

200Coetzee, J.M. Dusklands. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1996: 79.

201Coetzee, J.M. Dusklands. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1996: 79.

202For that amazing sounding sentence (who cares if its true?).

203Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1986: 81.

204Achebe, Chinua. The Trouble With Nigeria. Gaborone, Botswana. Heinemann Educational
Publishers, 1984: 43.

205Tanizaki, Junichiro. Naomi. New York, NY. First Vintage International Edition, 2001: 163.

206Suri, Manil. The Death of Vishnu. New York, NY: First Perennial Edition, 2002: 36.

207Saki. The Complete Saki. Judkin of the Parcels. London, England. Penguin Books, 1982:

208Skrmeta, Antonio. Burning Patience. Saint Paul, MN. Graywolf Press, 1994: 15.

209Barakat, Hoda. The Tiller of Waters. New York, NY: The American University in Cairo Press,
2004: 25.

210Still
a god though (relative to Flatlanders and rocks and stuff): with a pen, I can paint on paper
something that means what it isnt; I can make cat, which doesnt mean c-a-t, but an animal.
Its magic. Granted, if my handwriting is bad, others wont understand the expression of my
divinity, but such a contingency hardly makes my power anything less than ineffable.

211Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice. Tristan. Quality Paperback Book Club, 1993: 349.

212Mann, Thomas. Doctor Faustus. New York. First Vintage International, 1992: 87.

213Like all meaningless letter combinations asdfasd, agqr, sadfxzad infinitum you can search
for it on Google. Something will come up.

214Mann,
Thomas. Essays of Three Decades. Goethes Faust. Translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter.
New York, NY. Alfred A. Knopf, 1968: 15.

215Allusion to Canto XXXIII of Paradiso by Dante.

216Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 33.

217Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 98.

80
218Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 7.

219Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 24.

220Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 217.

221Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 79.

222Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice. Death in Venice. Quality Paperback Book Club, 1993: 24.

223Coetzee, J.M. Life and Times of Michael K. New York, NY. Viking Penguin Inc., 1985: 140.

224Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 487.

225Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 119.

226Coetzee, J.M. Life and Times of Michael K. New York, NY. Viking Penguin Inc., 1985: 57.

227Mann, Thomas. Doctor Faustus. New York. First Vintage International, 1992: 169.

228Allusion to George Box.

229Its really too bad we cant know which models are useful until after we try using them.

230Allusionto McCloskey on Piketty and Friends by John H. Cochrane, as can be found here:
http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2014/12/mccloskey-on-piketty-and-friends.html

231Coetzee, J.M. Life and Times of Michael K. New York, NY. Viking Penguin Inc., 1985: 140.

232Coetzee, J.M. Life and Times of Michael K. New York, NY. Viking Penguin Inc., 1985: 89.

233Coetzee, J.M. Life and Times of Michael K. New York, NY. Viking Penguin Inc., 1985: 89.

234Coetzee, J.M. Life and Times of Michael K. New York, NY. Viking Penguin Inc., 1985: 97.

235Allusion to Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

236You know what I meant: no one but me (how could I not understand understanding?).

237Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory. New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1989: 46.

238Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 271.

239Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by John E. Wood. New York. First Vintage
International Edition, 1996: 271.

81
240Im making all this up. Myself. Everything. All. Sociological imagination. Sociological
awakening. Questioning givens and conformity of the un-conforming and beliefs and contexts
in which beliefs are given possibility of themselves. Intentional and emotional earnestness.
Aggressive skepticism of, of Cant turn it off. Switch flipped. When? Broke. Urgency. Walking
warfare against unknown powers.A Need to make reference points for journey. Places for
footing on cliff. Dont slip. Up-on. Take in everything. Forever and forever and forever.B All
information. Breakyou news: theres more! Think fast! Dont think about it. Dont think about
how no matter how much you take in, you will take in very little. Too much. Search. Have to
work. At least Im smart. Am I? Not smart enough to tell. Just keep fighting my me that keeps
me from knowing. Like Kafkas hope, perhaps there is truth, but not for us? How can some of
our thinking not be full of clichs, generalities, catchphrases ? And so theres a feeling. It. A
crater. A thing known by its absence. An outline that perfectly resembles something. Perhaps by
chance. A something that might be worth knowing or good or horrible or deadly but cannot be
known until it is seen. Would I have the brain (non)voice if not for it, the voice that cant not
talk? Contagious? Never mind. Too late. Never mind. Maybe Kafka wanted the protagonist in
The Castle to reach his destination and the protagonist only didnt because the book was left
unfinished in a state of eternal possibility and failure, an incomplete loop that perhaps is
complete in being incomplete. Perhaps. Always perhaps. Truth could be what sets us free and
that which if we know it, we cant know we know it: there is no emotional confirmation, which
could be evidence there is no truth (and do you really know something you dont feel?). Perhaps
dedication to truth is dedication to something you cant recognize even when in its presence, no
more than a dog could understand 2 + 2 = 4 when looking at it (jealous?). Question marks
ever-hang over our feelings: welcome to the legitimation crisis of our lives. Nothing is given.
But maybe the next idea, the next book, the next thought will be different cant know until
we try; if we stop, we have to know we stopped, that there could have been something up ahead.
And we dont feel like we have the legitimate authority to make the call to stop or continue.
Anxiety equally suggests a lack of truth and a Gdel-funny reality that genuine truth cannot be
confirmed as true. We want the feeling of truth more than truth because thats rational (right?).
Dont admit that! Say you want truth no matter where it leads including a place where nothing
feels true! (No one will understand what Im going through if I cant articulate it all others have
of me is words and words are never experiences; words are failures that reach.) Im sorry, but
try to understand me. You dont have to forgive or accept me. Can you understand me? Stop
talking Compelled by intellectual ethics to see(k) truth that if we found, we (perhaps) couldnt
know we found it. Holding nothing, we may hold truth. Or nothing. Evidence we are yet to find
truth. Schrdingers Cat. Both-ness. Or not. Full-blooded. Urgent. Liberating. Troubling.
Paralyzing. Ineffable. Life. Thinking is all thats left now, now that the world is comfortable and
we dont believe in evil and there are no quests to go on unless maybe aliens exist (shut up).
Whats inside is all thats left. After the make it new, all thats left is the thinking. [M]apping
what will not quite stay mapped.C Epistemic tools like falsification only take us so far. Tempting
ignore Feyerabend and claim we should only use one epistemic method like science or
falsification, but that claim itself cannot be falsified and isnt scientific and you cant help but
know that and so know youre not being epistemically responsible. There are multiple coherent
and internally consistent belief systems. Formed. Arranged. For truth? For staying together? Ad
hoc, inescapably. Specific or makeshift or improvised or limited? Internally consistent systems can
always plausibly deny that they are false as they can always plausibly deny they keep us from
truth and any truth can always be plausibly denied as true even when it is true like selves and
there is no editor: Im the editor and the writer and I write and edit myself from a writer and
editor from This isnt fun but its not supposed to be or it would be part of the dying (right?):
were supposed to endure (be stupid?) Can we evaluate bedrock assumptions of belief systems?
Among twenty snow mountains.D But theyre bedrock, and if you throw out the bedrock
current life is built upon, all must be rethought, like restarting a book because its world has
changed, changing the meaning and reality and plausibility and of everything. Can we use our
emotions? But their unreliable and socially constructed. Mystical experiences? They lead
different people to different conclusions. What do we do? What do we do? Say nothing is true or

82
truth can only be known by x or that truth can only be known by y? By what standard? Can we
find a standard under reality? Are there guardrails, roads, paths useless metaphors along
which reality has to formulate? An unseen pattern behind the perceived chaos of phenomena?E
A logic which transcends things and by which things must be? Or does that logic emerge with
things at the same time and exist indivisibly? Who can know? We must try to know but
(perhaps) cant know what we must know or cant know we know it when we know it or we can?
How can we know? [Y]ou never know when the magic will descend on you.F Might come to be
saved and able to save. Dont be evil.G Existence is uncomfortable. Knew it for years but then
you feel it and realize you never knew nothing. Not existence. Circle in circle in circle And if
you dont see(k) it, you know you dont, you know you act epistemically immorally. If you reach
truth and it ruins your life, you cant unsee it. What tragic, risky adventure. One. Zero. But you
dont know what youll see until you see it. A thing of which there may always be more to see.
Perhaps a nothing. Zero. The great horror. The great relief. Best to remain thoughtless. To
forget (what you cant forget?). Like a dog!H How can you know? Like a dog!I Be stupid.
Please, Mom? Just stop the experiencing just stop stop the whirlheadwind all the possibilities
stuck all the potentials that are there realized or not because nothing isnt nothing and just for a
moment try turning it off just try then turn it back on just try to take a moment and then go
back to figuring you and the world and everyone all out and keep trying and dont ask others to
figure you out or think youre ripping people off by faking something because youre mean (but
are you?) I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU! dont fade fight and figure out how and dont
worry if fighting speeds up the whileheadwind because what you fear comes unto you I think
and even if it does speed up fight more and if it speeds up fight more and maybe diversify how
you fight and if it speeds up fight more and if it speeds up !J Be stupid. Do it all only for
pleasure. Justify being stupid. You see no evidence youll succeed but have to try but perhaps its
because youre too weak and thats what all the shallow people know (without knowing) in this
world that is objectively more secure but [that you] experience [] as more contingent or
accidental than ever, causing overwhelming anxiety.K Having glimpsed it, you dont know how
you cant try to take everything in (everything before Guttenberg was so little) and if you do
and realize nothing is holding everything up you still have it all in you and want to do something
with it or else get it out of you [people], unlike [trees], can[] help themselves but you cant
and couldnt have known youd want to get it out until it was in you and then L You exist in a
maze and if you want to enjoy life you must learn to enjoy the maze. Out of nothing. (But how
does one do that?)M And if you dont want to lose your mind in the maze you have to keep
trying to escape even though no one has ever escaped (that you know of) and perhaps you dont
know about them because they have escaped and who knows, maybe youll find a way out?
Probably not, but how can you live without hope? You cant. You have to believe that in the
end, youll know whos right and why you ended up you like you ended up. Because maybe you
will. Maybe its logical that you need a God to know, to believe it when you are told this is the
truth, to feel certain even if its impossible for God to exist. Reality is a nuisance to [both]
those who want to make it up as they go along and those who want to know reality (to make
sure they arent making everything up as they go along).N Funny. At least youll get better at
living in the maze? You know, right? Funny. Funny if you believed from the start life was a maze
you couldnt escape but knowing that was nothing like coming to feel it, which doesnt happen
until after youve been in the maze for so very long. [W]ith a sigh.O But its worth it, right?
Rationalization. Reasoning. Giving reason. Need truth to tell. That thing that might exist but not
for us. Over the maze without exits. The maze with the roof. [A]rms in the air [] cheering
[]P All this is fiction.Q

AAllusion to Christopher Dawson.

BAllusion to The River-Merchants Wife: A Letter by Ezra Pound.

CAllusion to Thinking of Darwin by Herbert Morris.

83
DAllusion to Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens.

EAllusion to Christopher Dawson and the History We Are Not Told by Jeffrey Hart, as can be
found here:
http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2013/02/christopher-dawson-and-the-history-we-
are-not-told.html

FWallace, David. Infinite Jest. New York, NY: First Back Bay Books, 1996: 243.

GAllusion to Google.

HAllusion to The Trial by Franz Kafka.

IAllusion to The Trial by Franz Kafka.

JAllusionto Kurt Corbain, as can be found here:


https://kurtcobainssuicidenote.com/kurt_cobains_suicide_note.html

KLawler, Peter Augustine. Stuck With Virtue. Wilmington, DE. ISI Books, 2005: 118.

LLawler, Peter Augustine. Stuck With Virtue. Wilmington, DE. ISI Books, 2005: 93.

MLawler, Peter Augustine. Stuck With Virtue. Wilmington, DE. ISI Books, 2005: xxxvi.

NFarrer, Austin. Saving Belief. Harrisburg, PA. Morehouse Publishing, 1994: 24.

OAllusion to The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost (the greatest troll).

PHart, Jeffrey. The Living Moment. Evanston, Il. Northwestern University Press, 2012: 24.

QIm holding a gun to my head. Dont believe me? Smart. I dont always act like it but I dont
want people to end up like me (of course Im lying: you think I care about you?). Why I try not
to speak particularly and specifically (but go with it for a minute: fun to see if youre smart
enough to keep a lie going). Try not to reinforce the sense of the that Something.Q.a One.
Zero. Try not to tempt people to step into something they cant step out of or ever know if
theyve stepped out of or into. Poet in Cloud-Capped Towers by Elizabeth Goudge was a
monster. It was nothing more than a descriptive poem []Q.b Better if people blind (thanks
Zeno). Not experience being(s)-which-point(s)-to-One/Zero. Everything a (middle) finger.
Pointing. But things arent (sacramental) arrows: a sign is a shape that points because we project
onto certain shapes a meaning that means pointing. There are no arrows or signs unto
themselves, just things we interpret as arrows or signs. Were to blame. Its like we cant stop
ourselves. Maybe because were supposed to look for for One. Zero. Maybe not. Might just
be something that happens that doesnt mean anything. [O]ld sickness of the world.Q.c [This]
calling, and the respect accorded to it, admit[s] [us] into the presence of troubles [we] [can] not
mend.Q.d Or can we? Always or. Always clues to collect that may only lead to more clues but
that always make you feel excitement and hope that youre approaching what youve always
wanted to find. Every clue excites and theres always more excitement to be had (until you
realize theres always more excitement to be had).Q.e Cant know until its on and unstoppable if
your fecundity is painting in the worldsoul a vision of hill-side[] dew-pearld / [] lark[] on the
wing / [] snail[] on the thorn, or if its breeding [d]ull roots with spring rain that wrap a
burning burning burning man of broken images around the throat that then pull upward
toward beatific peace that passes understanding if only you could make it take the pain
hold your breath burning.Q.f, Q.g Cant know its a curse or blessing until you reach the end of
the road, and if theres nothing at the end of the road, theres nothing there to make clear to you

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that youve reached the end of the road: theres nothing there to keep you from going further.
With a host of furious fancies.Q.h Never mind. Are you afraid of imaginary things? No, I dont
mean anything I just said. Yes its all rationalization. Nothings true. Never mind. Fire!Q.i, Q.j

Q.aOConnor, Flannery. Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose. New York: Farrar, Strauss and
Giroux, 1970: 148.

Q.bGoudge, Elizabeth. A Pedlars Pack and Other Stories. New York: Coward-McCann, 1937:
90.

Q.cBerry, Wendell, Jayber Crow. Berkley, CA: Counterpoint Press, 2000: 294.

Q.dBerry, Wendell. A Place in Time. Berkley: Counterpoint, 2012: 52.

Q.eInspired by Seven, directed by David Fincher.

Q.fAllusion to Pippas Song by Robert Browning.

Q.gAllusion to The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot.

Q.hAllusion to Tom o' Bedlam.

Q.iAccording to Seven, directed by David Fincher, shout fire! instead of help! when youre in
dire need.

Q.jParagraph inspired by Holy Ground: The Sacramental Landscape of Berrys Port William, a
dissertation by Winn Collier.

241Self, Will. The Quantity Theory of Insanity. New York. First Vintage International, 1996: 2.

242Bair, Deirdre. Samuel Beckett. New York, NY: First Summit Books Edition, 1990: 95.

243No need to reference Gandhi.

244Nabokov, Vladimir. King, Queen, Knave. McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1968: 21.

245Musil,Robert The Man Without Qualities: Volume II. First Vintage International Edition,
1996: 984.

246Inspired
by The Metaphysics of Narrative Structure by Brian Artese, as can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm4_PphUlP0

247Allusion to St. Silouan.

248Allusionto Fredrik deBoer, as found in Thinking Strategically About Free Speech and
Violence by Nathan J. Robinson, as can be found here:
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/08/thinking-strategically-about-free-speech-and-violence

249Allusion
to Academic Language and the Problem of Meaninglessness by Nathan J.
Robinson, as can be found here:
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/07/academic-language-and-the-problem-of-
meaninglessness

85
250Allusion to Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson.

III (3)

1Buber, Martin. I and Thou. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Charles Scribners
Sons. 1970: 67.

2In order to get you to assent to the authority of this social contract-system, people will
pressure you to attend Grad School (hiding their intent behind words like opportunity and
career).

2.01Itwill be hard to get people to believe that they pressure one another to go to Grad School in
order to out-quote one another (even though only gods can quote someone right), but its the
truth; because most people are idiots and too dumb to know it, most have already accepted the
belief that Grad School is a place where participants humble themselves before the altar of
knowledge, but this framework is incorrect. A framework is an orientation through which people
view the world, and the moment a framework is accepted is a critical moment. Everything is
viewed through a framework, and the only way to make people see that they are wearing
sunglasses when they dont know it and their hands are tied is to hold up a mirror (aka: make
them undergo a catastrophe). If you remove their framework, you have to replace it with
another one they have to become accustomed to (which is a long and difficult process). Worse
yet, people are also married to particular ways of talking, and the only way to get to their glasses
is to first learn how to talk like they do. This is why I dont try to influence people: its too much
work. Let them live in ignorance they wont know any better.

2.1Since my avatars have been featured in Cosmopolitan, you can trust every word I say.

3Also, while crafting my work, I would make sure that I was depressed, for happy people are bad
writers.A I would also be sure not to write a clich, nihilist text, like some young, inexperienced
artist. I would rather provide readers (all of who eventually die) with the ecstasy of confusion by
implying the possibility of meaning, claiming that my work followed logic to the place where
illogic prevailed (which is an incredible achievement). After claiming all this and impressing
readers, I would lie and tell them I took all those thoughts from an interview between John
Barth and Michael Silverblatt and that none of those insights had anything to do with my
project. If the readers were more informed, they would have realized that I was just testing them.
Being original, theres no way my work could be like Barths (because theres no way he could,
without my realizing it, be a voice inside of my head).

AYou can determine a persons worldview by how they treat depressed people. In being
depressed, the people around me would treat me in a way that unveiled their true selves. This
would provide excellent material.

A.1Amajor point in my work would be that all of history hinges on something really bad
happening to a really good person.

3.1My real intent for writing the piece could only be discovered by holding it up close to your
face. As if looking out an airplane, the landscape would resemble a painting. Abstract. Reflective.
Moving.

3.11Though Ill never write a text, Im still dedicated to telling people that any interpretation of
my text that I offer has nothing to do with the actual text. That way, to their satisfaction, people
would never figure out what the text meant.

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3.12Anything genius that critics saw in my work would be something I intended; if not
consciously, subconsciously. Since an overly self-aware artist is sophomoric, I would do all my
projects thoughtlessly and wouldnt know where to start until I arrived at the last page. Self-
conscious literature erases itself when self-aware of its self-consciousness, so its better to be
totally thoughtless than risk self-effacement. Anyway whatever the critics told me I intended,
Id tell them that they were right (while reminding them that of course I would say that). I hate
critics. Im sure one would tell me that my protagonist (me) so longed for the story to achieve
completion and to be a story that the protagonist narrated the work without any idea of how
anything in it would fit together, while I (me) eventually overpowered my narrator (me), like a
virus devouring cells, in order to push my personal agenda.A This pitiful narration would drive
readers crazy, Id argue, and since you cant legally go crazy in this world, my work would offer
readers a fun, engaging experience that they couldnt get anyone else. Around then, my work
would be eaten by the economy.

AYour best protagonists are those you feel like youre constantly meeting anew. (If I was a writer,
Id write that down.)

3.121Bythe way, a reliable narrator tells you that hes unreliable, while a good, unreliable narrator
doesnt know that hes unreliable.

3.2My project would include inspirations and sources in the notes, but all of them would be made
up. Id put them there so that people wouldnt think Im a genius but a thief and refrain from
talking with me.

3.21Since the endnotes would all be fake, in truth, I wouldnt have any. Theyd all be lies, not
realities. Therefore, even if in the text with the lies I said something like There are no
endnotes.run to the end and see, Id still be telling the truth.

3.22And you know a problem Ive always had with Wallace-like end-additions in fiction is that the
character(s) couldnt possibly have had all the thoughts included in the end-additions: the speed
of the events recorded in the chapters wouldnt allow it. Clearly the information was added after
the events, as if overseen by a manipulative author of all creation, and this renders the fiction
unrealistic, seeing as there is no author who can change the world.

3.221Theidea for excessive endnotes/lies wouldnt come from Wallace honest. Why would I try
to copy the style of someone who will always do that style better?

3.222For the same reason, I wouldnt copy Walter Benjamin either: Ive never even read his self-
reflection ([my] writing consists largely of quotations [no onecould gather any rarer or more
precious ones] the craziest mosaic technique imaginable).A Ive also never aspired to write
The Glass Beads (a book consisting totally of quotations), for I would hate for my peace of
mind [to be] often troubled by [a] depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the
work of other men.B

ABenjamin, Walter. Illuminations. Introduction by Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken Books,
1969: 8.

BAllusion to Strange is Our Situation Here Upon Earth by Albert Einstein.

3.3Remember, Im a storyteller whos never written a word (or typeteller), so everything I say
that implies Ill write is a distraction designed to lead you to a place where I disappoint you.
Disappointed, youll finally leave me alone.

3.301Are you still there?

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3.3011You dont have a soul, do you?

3.3012Im so sorry this [note] is so long, I didnt have time to make it shorter.A

AQuote from George Bernard Shaw.

3.31If
I wrote something, people who didnt like it would owe me thanks; like success, happiness
ruins people. And since Ill never write anything and this will upset everyone, the world owes
me.

3.311And if I wrote, people (who didnt study grammar) would accuse me of having lifeless,
didactic, clumsy, ugly, -------up prose. Even though Id confess to being a bad writer in the text
just to make those Pharisees happy, people wouldnt forgive me, because people dont forgive
when they have evidence justifying coldness. Theyd think the text in front of them proved that I
couldnt write, but what constitutes evidence is subjective. They would prove that they think Im
a bad writer, but that wouldnt prove that I am a bad writer. However, unwilling to listen to
reason, theyd make that illogical step and disregard my work. Im a few steps ahead of them
though they cant disregard what doesnt exist.

3.312And even if I did write terribly, Id only be doing so in order to bore readers to Nirvana.

3.32Aguy walks into a bar perfect way to open the text Ill never write. If people thought it
was a joke, theyd enjoy it and be ruined. Then, unhappy, theyd be saved, and Id be saved from
talking to them.

3.321You cant preach to people anymore until you entertain them. Whenever I feel entertained, I
know someone is about to slip in some life lesson (Im onto your game, Friends). Now that Im
aware people use entertainment to get your defenses down, whenever I laugh, I immediately
start preaching. Being the quicker-draw, the enemy relents (feeling belittled and lectured to), and
I save myself from being ruined by wisdom. The name of the game now is to preach first before
someone else beats you to preaching. The game starts whenever someone laughs.

3.3211Its
also a great strategy to never let yourself be entertained, and a great way to achieve this
nirvana is to over-amuse yourself. Over-saturated, youd never again be threatened by wisdom.

3.322Sinceits the case you cant teach until you entertain, it must be the case that you cant
entertain until you teach. Therefore, if I were to write something, it would bang readers over the
head with ideas until they were begging for some kind of amusement. Then, when they really
wanted it, I would give it to them, and for the first time in their lives, entertainment would mean
something. Rather than amused to death, theyd be amused to life.

3.323Ithink the supreme achievement in literature would be a good story that broke all the rules
of good storytelling (such as the rule that you never tell your audience what you think constitutes
the supreme achievement in literature). Since the best is what everyone tries to achieve, I
wont try to write such a story (or at least thats what I would say so that you would miss
something wonderful, something that you never earned the right to see, seeing as you didnt
write the ---- thing).

3.3231This
is totally off topic (assuming there is a topic), but have you noticed that everyone goes
around saying that literature and the arts matter without ever explaining how? Supposedly they
make us human, but what does that even mean and who cares? Its not surprising that people
who read claim that reading is important (its unnatural to admit that youve wasted your life). If

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a girl stops reading, its not the end of the world; if anything, its only the end of her world. The
Apocalypse is always personal.

3.324The(perhaps fake) reason I wont try to accomplish this last, original enterprise and
supreme achievement in literature is so that future artists wont have to create new rules of
good storytelling in order to break all the rules of good storytelling in a new way.

3.325Ithink a perpetually ironic text may catch the human brain in a loop it cant escape (even
through over-saturation). Post-irony seems to be a neurological impossibility: the brain seems to
have a limitless appetite for irony. Considering this, if I never stopped being ironic, a reader
wouldnt be able to stop reading that book Im never going to write. I think it would be
important to do this so that readers would learn why they shouldnt have ever started reading in
the first place.

3.4Ill
never write because Ill never be as good as (say) Franzen. If Franzen wouldnt have been
so selfish and became a writer, I could be someone (who I honestly dont actually want to be).
But because Franzen became Franzen, Ill just be someone who, upon starting a book, would be
told but youre not Franzen. What a jerk: did he not think about all the people he would
dishearten by accomplishing his dreams? Because of him, no will be taught by me that, as with
people, how a book is misread is more important than what it says.

3.41And why would I write a book when people these days only watch movies? I mean, they
would read stories if stories showed people what movies never could. Which is? The mind. The
telling machine. But creative writing professors always tell their students show, dont tell. I
mean, thats partially true: show the telling, rather than simply tell readers about it. Furthermore,
show how the telling machine is always lying: it almost never tells the truth. The few times it
does, the truth cannot be known as true.

3.5IfI were to finish a project, I would call it erroneous upon publication so that admirers would
feel discredited. How dare they feel good about something they didnt create! How dare they try
to ruin me by making me successful!

3.51If
youre successful, youll stop living a meaningful life. Once you get fat and happy, youll
stop seeing the need to struggle. The more stable your life, the more it dries up. Success kills,
and thats why you want me to be successful (I know how you think) (I think).

3.52Allgreat books are self-help books. Therefore, if I were to write, instead of screenplays, I
would write (philosophical) literature to assure that I never lost the comfort of failure. In this
regard, Schopenhauer has been very encouraging to me: hes helped me remember that truly
great books can never provide a lifetime of comfort for their authors, for to them only a brief
triumph is allotted between the two long periods in which [they are] condemned as paradoxical
or disparaged as trivial.A Halleluiah! Declare the good news: let us speak the truth!B When my
book is ignored, its greatness will be confirmed, and blessedly, Ill still live with hardship! Like a
saint!

AAllusionto the Preface to the First Addition of The World as Will and Idea, Volume I, by
Arthur Schopenhauer.

BAllusionto the Preface to the First Addition of The World as Will and Idea, Volume I, by
Arthur Schopenhauer.

3.521All
great books are written by people who want to write about the kind of book they are
writing.A Metaphorically at least, great books also tend to be about how after people catch
everything on fire, hoping for a miracle, people wake up and realize they too are burning. To

89
think Saviors would destroy us all, they sigh, but then keep hope: they dont have the capacity to
recognize the end of the world. Theyre human.

AInspired
by Richard Lanham, as found in Hamlet: Poem Unlimited by Harold Bloom. New
York, NY. Riverhead Books, 2003: 53.

4It would be an encyclopedia and an autobiography, because when I engage in memory, I never
alter what happened. Also, though people would accuse me of writing a falsehood, claiming
autobiographical work didnt cover my life millisecond-by-millisecond, the truth would be that
all instances not mentioned in the text would be instances when I was asleep. My
autoencyclopedia would make people happy, which is great because happiness is discomforting,
and its most lovable character would be a monster. It would be hard to read because its hard to
be human today (or at least thats what I would claim to get away with structuring an
autoencyclopedia thats difficult for no real reason other than to seduce readers into studying its
complexity in hopes of seeing something beatific forever). Of course, in the autoencyclopedia, I
would say something like what I just said so that readers wouldnt think there was any point to
the text at all, and so that those who considered themselves good readers would think my
narrator was trying to throw them off and proceed to do the hard work of studying the work,
thinking they were seeing past my sleight of hand (forever). Of course, I would say something
like what I just said too so that readers wouldnt wait who cares if its beatific? I dont even
care that I dont care.

4.01So why havent I started my autoencyclopedia? It would be perfect, and nothing perfect can
exist in the world.

4.011Thanks for the insight? Dont mention it.

4.012Shut up! I said dont mention it!

4.013Perfect.

4.1Why would you read fiction when you can read an autobiography? Between a true story or a
false one, the choice is obvious: theres at least something to learn from lies. (Or so I would tell
people (while screaming (like I am now), seeing as people ignore content when they dont like
the tone its presented in). Why? So that no one read my autoencyclopedia and I became
invisible (which is fantastic, because the more Im unacknowledged, the more I gain relevance).)

4.2Keeping in mind that people prefer controversy to insight, Ill figure out later if I want my
never-to-exist work to be more like the Bible than Family Guy.

4.3I
should write a note reminding me to forget this part of my life before writing my
autoencyclopedia (unless my work actually said something rather than (indirectly) yell Im clever!
Love me! Please love me!).

4.4Sothat people wouldnt fact-check my work, I would imply that I intentionally got all my facts
wrong to artistically show that no one knows what they are talking about. When someone told
me that I miswrote my facts, I would tell them that my work was realism (to me). When they
claimed reality wasnt made up of my facts, Id ask them to prove it, and they would have to do
so with my facts.

4.41The
role of a fact-checker is to make sure theres nothing in your text that can be fact-
checked.

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4.5Sowhats the difference between a novel and a book? If there is one (and Im not just
deceiving you (of course I know whether or not I am)), a novel is that in which the universe
decides whether or not to self-destruct, ultimately decides not to (to the disappointment of
readers), and then ends when the novel is closed. A book, on the other hand, has no beginning,
middle, or end, so the universe contained within, never starting, never faces the decision of
whether or not to self-destruct. (Do note that nothing that I just made up on the spot has any
philosophical or literary significance: its totally Eighth-Circle-Bolgia-2-bull----.)

4.6You want to hear more about that masterpiece Im never going to craft? No? Great just
promise me that youll stop calling me a genius to avoid the responsibility of being one. Since its
responsible to make people cry, my autoencyclopedia would be a chess game, because if
Silverblatt liked it and I got on Bookworm, my career would be set. In the work, Id directly talk
to readers to make them emotionally attached to me, and Id even confess that my intent for
breaking the fourth wall was to prove that readers were trapped by their emotions. Id mock
them, and theyd love me. Theyd want to meet me, but I wouldnt want to meet them. The
version of me that was my main character would be much smarter than me, though his insights
wouldnt be backed by any research. The work would predict that people would hate it; when
people did, its genius would be confirmed. And if people didnt understand it, it would be
because of the school system, where people are taught that if you cant understand a book as
soon as you see it, its poorly written. (Unlike teachers, Im willing to teach incomprehensibility: I
dont let people go into the world thinking complexity is a rumor.) In my work, the hero would
fall into an abyss-hole he dug with his own hands, and readers would have to watch. Id tell
readers at the beginning that this would be the heros fate that the hero would go on a
rampage and massacre millions because a true artist can deflate the ending without anyone
caring (take Tolstoy with (spoiler alert!) The Death of Ivan Illyich).A My work would also entail
countless pages through which the hero explained what he would do in the text and what the
text would ultimately be about, and all of the explanation would be lies (or at least thats what
the hero would claim (to give readers something to debate)). My hero (me) would claim to be
afraid of being called pretentious so that he could get away with being pretentious for the sake of
showing readers how everyone is pretentious in this pretentious age. He would warn readers that
they should stop reading a text the moment they think its pretentious, hoping to guilt readers
into suffering him (me) longer. He would want readers to point at him, celebrate their hatred of
him, and be glad that they werent like him (because what people judge is what people become).
As if he were Hamlet, he (me) would warn readers Im bigger than literature, and if you box me
in, Ill swallow you, and readers would proceed to label him as arrogant and so be consumed. A
fantastic salesperson, my hero (me) would consider every possible response a girl at a bar could
have to anything he said before saying it, then consider every possible response to every possible
response, etc., and end up saying nothing (which is all any of us say anyway). He would watch
girls watching him watching girls, think about how he would come off if he moralized (like
Dostoyevsky in The TV-Less Age), and consider asking someone if they were lonely too. The
girls nearby would tell him to stop using sympathy to manipulate them and to go back to being
funny if he wanted people to seriously care about him. He would then start telling the girls about
his pain, because though they wouldnt want to listen, no one would be any more appropriate to
tell. Bombarded by fury, the hero would begin writing notes on napkins in bars in order to digest
all the information being hurled at him. He would use those notes to write a story about a
character stuck in a world where irony was just the way of things, and when people asked him
why he kept adding hundreds of pages, he would tell them that it was a long story.B The
character of ironic ontology would just be a fictional version of my hero (me) that would directly
explain to people why he did everything he did (like some kind of mirror or confession); this
way, the hero (me too) could indirectly tell readers why he did what he did without saying a
word.C The hero (who would justify his clumsy writing style as a statement against the ruling
class (and whos favorite line would be if youre reading/seeing this, youre a genius)) would
then consider having his character make a character who explained to readers why he did
everything he did in order to indirectly tell readers that he was making a character to explain

91
what he was doing (a Mahabharata-esq story in a story in story in a.), but around then, the
hero would remember that John Barth already did that kind of meta-textual s---, call it all boring,
trite bull---- to hide his jealousy, and then push Anna in front of a train. Additionally, the hero,
who could only sleep after crying, would always talk to himself so that readers had someone to
listen to and make lots of references so readers would always feel like they were missing
something and religiously reread the text over and over again until their lives were wasted. He
would also argue for Gods Existence, seeing as everyone hates apologetics. Claiming hes never
written a word, the hero would refuse to write (again), convinced that writing fiction was like
creating a World of Warcraft-version of yourself and imaging that the fabrication was you (in
other words, my hero would find fiction pornographic). He would also find fiction a form of
lying, failing to draw a distinction between telling people a lie, and they knowing it is one and
telling people a falsity while they think youre telling the truth. The hero would also recognize
that his fictional creation would have to murder someone for his work to be popular, and he
would find that immoral. A scene in my work would entail the hero trying to convince the police
to arrest him after having a dream in which he murdered his annoying neighbors dog. When the
police refused, my hero would betray his principles and write a fictional account in which he
murdered Anna Karenina. Once complete, he would turn it into the police as a confessional
(before giving it to a publisher who would reject it and get thrown in front of a train). In my
heros story, Annas last words would be is there life before death?.D

AThe conclusion would be stream-of-conscious(ness) and epic, and all the wit would be lost on
the last pages amongst long soliloquies and a barrage of new concepts and allusions. The
character would ask God if this chapter of his life was too long, and when there was no reply,
the character would say good, his thesis that the whole world has ADHD being verified by the
fact that not even God can pay attention. In this scenario, the reader would be God, and
throughout the last section the reader would scream hurry up!, begging for the action to move
along and for the character to stop talking and get it over with!. The character would be
heading toward destruction, using all his tools to digress it away, and the screams of his God
would be so cruel.

A.1Or not.

A.11How else can the modern live but by refusing to leave the (uncertain) realm of possibility? If
anything becomes solid, everything turns to stone.

BFated to, because humans are writers.

Proof1:
Everyone walks around composing in their minds their next, witty status, like writers frantically
writing down in notebooks all their ideas.

Proof2:
The I is revision: whenever people meet, they present their I like someone presents a rough
draft to be reviewed, given back, and then resubmitted all over again. People edit our I like the
compare function in Word: we lay it over the other to see if it matches who we think the other
person is, and keep revising it until it does (the same goes with God).

Proof3:
See Read(er) by O.G. Rose.

B.1My hero (me) would do this after being told by a muse to write about a man who had voices
in his head. Due to this distracting, mental ----, the man would develop ADHD and fail at life.
The man would then consider suicide, not because the voices told him to, but to stop hearing
the voices say kill yourself.

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B.2And then fill it with scholarly/ridiculous footnotes and quotes, mocking/honoring the past
and designing a coat to disguise himself in as he wandered into the future in search of someone
who could predict it (or at least be a great audience) hoping that his work would at least be
useless (rather than mediocre), hoping that his work would lack a center because it would all be a
center (to the reader, whose world always lacks a center (why else would someone read?)),
hoping that his work contained every book he ever read, hoping that it lacked a beginning, end,
or aim (like the world), hoping that the last line the moral of the story is: would show that
the moral was irony itself, hoping that he made facts rather than found truth, hoping that his
work would be like poetry (words heard behind a door) (mis)translating a journey to hell into a
journey to hell, making the past present with miles to go before he could stop to see the present
covered in forgetful snow and the whisper why dost thou tear me? ceasing to fall[] faintly
through the universe. So that:B.a

B.aAllusions
to Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, Inferno by Dante, The Waste
Land by T.S. Eliot, The Dead by James Joyce, and Canto I by Ezra Pound.

CFor example, the character (fictional me), explaining why he told jokes, would say truth is a
mirror, and comedians tell us the truth, and then the narrative would switch to my hero (me)
who would be standing on a stage, comically (saying nothing, tears running down his face), and
the people in the audience, like readers, tears running down their faces, would watch themselves
laugh.

C.1The hero (me) would come to embody the narrator (or fictional version of himself), so much
so that the hero would come to embody the narrator more than the narrator would embody him.

DFrom Whatever You Say, Say Nothing by Seamus Heaney.

4.61(Stop trying to talk over me! Unlike Christ, Im not finished. And everything Im about to say
is the expression of an active imagination, and remember, [i]t is imagination that rules, not
reality, reason, or the ongoing work of the negative.A) Acting like adults told him that it was
unrealistic (like the internet) to write, and furthermore, after watching an inspirational talk about
never letting anyone tell you what you can and cannot do (because such talks always apply to
everyone but your children), the books hero (me) would apologize at the beginning for never
being written (into life). What would the heros books subtitle be? The following is fake. The
tentative, opening line? They say life is a joke. I provide the punch/lines. What language would
it be in? If it was in German, I would be allowed to have a lot of compoundwordsviadashes;
also, what constitutes poor writing is relative to language, so I would use a lot of blank space in
my book, space in which readers could imag(in)e genius (themselves). What would the opening
epigraph be? Books no longer inspired reverent joy but dread dread that he would never be
able to hold his own with an author, that every new book he read would seduce and enslave him.
Just as he was becoming brave enough to disagree with a book now and then, the war had come
along. Now he would never learn. He would never catch up.B The title? The Art of
Conversation.C Humans spend more time talking than breathing. Talking is humanitys most
common expression of will, but people dont take time out of their lives to intentionally practice
it. We practice piano, cooking, and wasting time, but not conversation. Its absurd. You think
Im wrong? I promise you that you spend more time talking in your head than any other activity
(I know I do). More than anything, I would want my book to be a conversation starter.

(By the way, everything I just said was something that I had to make you think was a lie (by
mentioning active imagination) so that you took it seriously. You have to experience it to truly
get that the world is a sick place.)

AVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, xii.

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BSolzhenitsyn,
Aleksandr. The Red Wheel. Translated by H.T. Willetts. New York: The
Noonday Press. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. New York, 1989: 18.

C Rule 1:
The most common characteristic of good conversation is misunderstanding.

Rule 2:
Shut up.

The End

4.7My book would be a map.

4.701Is a map a mirror or a text?

4.702Joyceclaimed that if Dublin was destroyed, it could be reconstructed from his descriptions
in Ulysses.A I personal would want nothing to be constructed from my work. You. Alone.

ALevenson, Michael. Modernism. Ann Arbor, MI: Sheridan Books, 2011: 238.

4.71But it wouldnt be a map in the same way academic work is a map for scholars, guiding them
ever-deeper into their (necessarily) endless study. You want to know why I wont write academic
work? No? I dont want to be pulled on a string through history, like Klees angel, trying to grab
data about everything radio history, the role of the carnival, the siblings of Hegel, the history
of candle-design all the fragments, all the fragments to assemble a full picture of reality
(which can never, ever be assembled) and theres always more and more to grab and you try and
try again and more and more fragments build up and you keep aging and die too soon under
fragments. All of us die with fragments, but maybe we have a better chance putting together the
fragments of our lives into something than the fragments of the world. Maybe not. Better to do
nothing. To be realistic.

5Idea from Bernard Hankins.

6Allusion to Ecclesiastes 12:12.

7A cult of the subtle runs publishing houses today: if your book isnt subtle, you wont be
published.A They reject all books that demand readers to think directly, because books today are
supposed to be collections of nice observations, aesthetically pleasing paragraphs, and believable
characters; in other words, books are supposed to be porn (for ----ing yourself). Im never going
to write a book, but if I did, it would be one that when the publishers saw it, theyd ask me why
didnt you follow the criteria laid out by our totalitarian regime?. Id then put on my Che shirt
and invade the factory where the shirt was produced.

AEven the author has to be subtle dead, in fact: the death of the author, as Barthes put it, is
all the rage. Why bother writing though if youre not going to get any glory for it? Better to sit in
bars and help people find themselves.

7.1Someone should tell the regime that description isnt possible anymore, only reference. Our
imaginations have been outsourced to the internet, celebrities, government, and so on: our ability
to see in our minds is now outside of ourselves. And since all sight requires the brain to
formulate images internally, were blind unless we reference. Hence, people can only know what
I look like if I tell them I look like Matt Damon, but to provide them with that clarity, I have to

94
risk Big Copyright hunting me down. To have identity, people require reference points: were all
walking citations.A God, what happened?

AAllusion to Christy Wampole, according to When T.S. Eliot Invented the Hipster by Karen
Swallow Prior, as can be found here:
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/01/how-ts-eliot-invented-the-
hipsters/384175/

7.2Speaking of references, that reminds me that in the ancient world, writers were reproached
who were in the habit of giving too many references to the sources [they] cited.A Far from
having to establish the truth by means of references, [it was thought writers] should have waited
to be recognized as an authentic text [themselves].B We see that [] ancient [writers] [did] not not
use sources and documents; [they were] source and document [themselves].C Modern [writers]
propose an interpretation of the facts and give the reader a way to verify the information and
formulate a different opinion. The ancient [writers took] this burden on themselves and [did] not
leave the task to the reader.D Also they believed [i]t was impossible to lie gratuitously, or lie
about everything to everyone, for knowledge is only a mirror; and the mirror blends with what it
reflects so that the medium is not distinguished from the message; consequently, deepening
ones understanding of [a] text [was always] the same as deepening ones understanding of
reality (some reality, at least).E, F Hence, referencing to assure readers the writer wasnt lying was
unnecessary (there is only fiction where there is belief in fiction). Mostly though, the ancients did
not cite their authorities, for [they felt] that [they were] potential authorit[ies] [themselves].G But
today references just pour out of us we cant stop the flow in response to the information
overload were all suffering: its how we get the data out of us before we explode. Consequently
no one is an authority and were suffering a legitimation crisis, as Habermas calls it.

AVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 5.

BVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 6.

CVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 8.

DVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 10.

EVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 57.

FVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 110.

GVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 9.

7.21When and why did references begin to appear?A In short, scholarly annotation has a litigious
and polemical origin [] The main reason for this shift is the rise of the university, with its
increasingly exclusive monopoly on intellectual activity.B Now, at the university [writers] no
longer write[] for the common reader [] but instead write[] for [] colleagues, and hence
reference, because people who live at universities have time to look up references and make a
living out of living in books no one but them reads.C You see, it was once the case you could cite
the Bible to shut people us, but then colleges became the new God with its own texts that
achieved sacredness via peer-review. Fought with references and citations, this has led to
countless religious wars in which believers try to shut up the colleges and the colleges try to
shut up the believers.

AVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 10.

BVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 11.

95
CVeyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?. The University of Chicago. 1988, 11.

7.211We reference because only God can save us.

7.212Because we are homo religiosus.

8Knowing how to behave wouldnt change them.

9Allusion
to On Not Reading by Amy Hungerford, as can be found here:
http://www.chronicle.com/article/On-Refusing-to-Read/237717?cid=trend_right_t

10Allusionto Gabriel Zaid, according to On Not Reading by Amy Hungerford, as can be


found here:
http://www.chronicle.com/article/On-Refusing-to-Read/237717?cid=trend_right_t

11Paragraph
inspired by On Not Reading by Amy Hungerford, as can be found here:
http://www.chronicle.com/article/On-Refusing-to-Read/237717?cid=trend_right_t

12Paragraph inspired by Kino no Tabi, directed by Rytar Nakamura, episode nine, Hon no
Kuni, as can be found here:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003EBKNDQ?autoplay=1&t=1171

13Inspired by Talking to Yourself: A Sign of Sanity by Linda Sapadin. Retrieved on December


5, 2014, as found here:
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/12/07/talking-to-yourself-a-sign-of-sanity/

14See Digression(s).A

ASpecifically:

That explains everything.14

15

16Levenson, Michael. Modernism. Ann Arbor, MI: Sheridan Books, 2011: 257.

17Levenson, Michael. Modernism. Ann Arbor, MI: Sheridan Books, 2011: 257.

18Allusionto W.E.B Du Bois, as found in Modernism by Michael Levenson. Ann Arbor, MI:
Sheridan Books, 2011: 260.

19Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 64.

20Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 103.

21Allusion
to Emerson, as found in Kabbalah and Criticism by Harold Bloom. New York, NY:
The Seabury Press, 1975: 101.

22Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 102.

23Allusion
to Paul Valry, as found in Kabbalah and Criticism by Harold Bloom. New York, NY:
The Seabury Press, 1975: 93-94.

96
24Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 106.

25Allusionto Yeats, as found in Kabbalah and Criticism by Harold Bloom. New York, NY: The
Seabury Press, 1975: 101.

26Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 104.

27Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 103.

28Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 103.

29Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 125.

30Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 115.

31Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 126.

32Bloom, Harold. Kabbalah and Criticism. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1975: 111.

33Mailer, Norman, and Michael Lennon. On God. New York: Random House, 2007: 141.

34Allusion
to C.S. Peirce, as found in Kabbalah and Criticism by Harold Bloom. New York, NY:
The Seabury Press, 1975: 51.

35Allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

IV (4)

1Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Genealogy of Morals. Translated by Horace B. Samuel. Stilwell, KS:
Digireads.com Publishing, 2007: 25.

2Schopenhauer, Arthur. Essays and Aphorisms. Penguin Books, 2004: 171.

3Sultan, Stanley. Eliot, Joyce, and Company. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc. 1987:
192.

4IfI wasnt cultured, to make people think I was, Id buy hundreds of used books and fill them
with random marks and underlines while mindlessly listening to techno. Then, when peopled
looked through my things (perhaps after I achieved fame/death), theyd think I was the smartest
person in the world (serves them right for invading my privacy). Or at least thats what I would
(possibly) claim in a marginalia so that people would think I was intellectually dishonest and stop
messing with my stuff.

5Anonymous. Books: Shantih, Shantih, Shantih, Time. March 3, 1923.

6Maybe I could tell her that shes been brainwashed? When she objects, Ill tell her that shes
proved my point. Unnerved, shell then think about her childhood and find lots of evidence
confirming that Im right, her anxiety causing her to unconsciously change her memories and to
read past events out of context. Having confirmed that Im correct, shell come back to me and
ask for more advice, convinced that Im someone she can trust (with her heart).

6.01If
I put her through a traumatic situation, shell have an opportunity to undergo post-
traumatic growth (depression often teaches people how to live). That said, the problem with

97
learning is that you only learn that you know less than you thought. Once you start, you never
stop. Stuck in a loop, you become hopeless and die.

6.011Oncethis girl is gone, I can get back to work. You think I dont value her life? Let me ask
you a question: if a building was on fire and you had a choice between saving a sickly, ninety year
old man and a billion dollars worth of literary masterpieces, which would be more moral to save?
(Remember not to be selfish.)

6.1Whether reading gangster out of a person wearing a hood, cup out of atoms, or unsociable
out of a person in a library, [reading (into)] is all.A

AAllusion to King Lear by William Shakespeare.

6.11If
she didnt want to make love with me, she wouldnt be sipping on her drink with her lips
touching the glass like that.

6.2Shes everywhere but here.

7Eliot, T.S. The Metaphysical Poets. 1921.

8Eliot, T.S. The Tradition and the Individual Talent. The Sacred Wood. 1921.

9Allusion to Judges 17:6.

10Allusion to Immanuel Kant.

11Allusion to Learned Hand.

12Schopenhauer, Arthur. Essays and Aphorisms. Penguin Books, 2004: 91.

13Allusionto the thought of William Empson, following the thought of Roger Sale, as can be
found here:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/william-empson

14Allusionto BoJack Horseman, Rick And Morty, and the Art of Cynical Sincerity by Zack
Handlen, as can be found here:
http://www.avclub.com/article/bojack-horseman-rick-and-morty-and-art-cynical-sin-223245

15Allusion
to The 7 Tools of Dialogue by James Scott Bell, as can be found here:
http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-7-tools-of-dialogue

16Allusion
to The Westeros Wing by Emily Nussbaum, as can be found here:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/04/the-political-resonance-of-game-of-
thrones

17Allusion to Flannery OConnor.

18Allusion
to The Freakishness of Christianity by Emma Green:
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/08/russell-moore-christian-freaks/400265/

19Allusion to Flannery OConnor.

98
20Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Letters and Papers from Prison. Minneapolis, TN. Fortress Press, 2010:
44.

21Allusion to The Dead by James Joyce.

End of Sample

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