My reviewance of Kurt Cobain’s journal continues. I am about halfway through, but I grab his big red book at every commodal sit-down and late afternoon nap. So far, it has been every bit the epic roller coaster I hoped it would.
“No matter what you write, it will be completely misinterpreted by everyone who reads it every time.” ~M7
“Don’t read my diary when I’m gone.” ~Kurt Cobain, in his journal
When I got ahold of the journals of Kurt Cobain and published an insistent social media post about it, I was set upon by immediate misinterpretation by friends and acquaintances, the most significant of which was the notion that this was about the band Nirvana or the grunge music scene in the early 1990s.
The Initial Commentary...
“I’m not a fan of Cobain or Nirvana. It’s not because I specifically dislike him or their music, it’s just not my thing.”
“…never cared for Cobain or Nirvana. I know the ‘Teen Spirit’ thing always made the charts and lists as a great song and I never understood why. Love music and my taste runs from Pink Floyd to Johnny Cash and a lot in between but Nirvana wasn’t one of them.”
“Nirvana was meh. I don’t think it translates very well post-90s, but that is just me.”
“Overrated band….period..and history has now proven that.”
This has nothing to do with music.
I saw these journals and, as a journal writer and reader, I was fascinated. I said that in the initial post, but… sigh. Maybe M7 was right. Maybe my best efforts to unravel Cobain’s thoughts are doomed from the start.
Sometimes I see myself as far too organized, far too careful. Part of me admires Cobain’s total chaos. Even when I try to let myself be chaotic, in writing or photography, the chaos I create is pretentious and fraudulent. I am not, however, a fraud myself. Two works I admired as a teenager and later found out to be complete fakes were Go Ask Alice and Jay’s Journal, both conjured by a religious nutbag to try to scare kids away from drug, the occult, and Satanism. Ironically, it drew more kids to those things than away, so hmm. Maybe it was a false flag. I don’t know. Maybe no one knows.
I won’t make this post a review of Cobain’s journals, at least not until I have made a couple of complete passes through it, but this is an indictment of myself: too careful, too controlled, too controlling, too disgusted and afraid of what I might become if I let go of all that.
I wasn’t into Nirvana when the band was huge. I found their sound, like a lot of grunge/garage of the era, a bit too ratty and melodiless.
In the video, Nerdwriter mentions front man Kurt Cobain’s journals. I literally stopped the video right then, swiped over to the Amazon app, found and bought Cobain’s journals. Why? Everyone who knows me knows that not only have I curated journals since 1978 (when Cobain was just 11), but also that I read all the journals I can find, from friends who shared theirs with me or gave them to me, to famous journalers like Anaîs Nin or Franz Kafka.
I read Cobain’s suicide note years ago, and it left me wanting more, and more than just music.
Today I got a fat book in the mail. It is photos of his journal pages, which, honestly, is beyond cool. It is messy, chaotic, vulgar, brilliant, interesting. I will dig in with my multi-colored highlighters, and attempt to decode the journal of this troubled, complex, dark soul. Watch this space for a review.
I am saddened to report that Open Mic Nyte, which I have attended since June 2017, has suspended performances.
We saw this coming when its long-time home, Mojo’s Coffee, closed in October 2018. The Grandview hosted us for a while, which was unassailably generous, but the space wasn’t quite conducive to our scene. Another factor that contributed to this was that many of the musicians who performed at Open Mic moved to Sessions, a new live music and alehouse venue, which hosted performances on the same night just down the street.
Sterling Jacobs, a friend for decades, organized the event, and though he has been a poetry rock star, attendance has been faltering. Sterling said in a video that he hopes to keep it going via Facebook, but it’s definitely not the same, not a scene. Besides, my writing is overwhelmingly here at richardbarron.net, not on social media.
We had some great times at Open Mic Nyte, and I feel like I expressed myself well. I always looked forward to it. I met some great people, and reconnected with some old friends.
I hope to find another frequent open microphone event where I can read soon.
Editor’s note: I read this at Open Mic Nyte recently, and I felt is deserved a wider audience. It was written by a long-time friend of mine in one of the notebooks we share.
At Right Angles
by M7/Rectal Infectant
My pet kangaroo gently bounces in front of me – ears atwitch. I lustily attack her brownie and she farts off into the azure distance somewhere. I mount her ghostly afterimage and slobber all over the back of her neck. Her poltergeistly marsupial climax timpanied at the end with a massive kick of her rabbit/clown feet. I double over in grief, semen dripping from my defeated unit like absinth dripping from Lord Byron’s lips (or like the condensation from a rickety mid-August Oklahoma window mounted air conditioner.)
“Fuck you, Kangaroo!” I groan as I fumble through her ghost pouch for the “off” switch. After seeing my hand pass through the insubstantial pet, I settle for the 24th century super- Quaalude I fish out of my vest pocket.
After a bit, I am calmed and there are no kangaroos about – ghostly or otherwise. Yet I still feel the clammy clutch of her chocolate roo vagina. 45º crooked perspective… loamy earth surrounds… tumbling grains of sand.sugar.salt…
Matching her bounce this time, I hold tight to her ridiculous ears as she farts off into the azure else. The supersonic breeze buffets my erection, but I had taken special adhesive precautions the night before.
The ghostly image was left alone in my room to gleelessly masturbate to the Hoover.
Last semester a photography student of mine told me that she visited this site and took a trip “down the rabbit hole,” meaning she got involved and lost in the content. It was very flattering to me to have someone say that. I try to be as entertaining as I can and as poignant as I can. The internet can be unforgiving, particularly when you tell a truth some people don’t want to hear. I appreciate any approbation offered.
Here’s a little history. In 1978, I started a journal for English class in tenth grade. I wrote in full-sized spiral notebooks for 20 years. After that I switched to smaller hardback volumes. In 2007, I started a blogger.com page. Within a year I migrated to my own web site, and have administered it using WordPress since then. That gradually replaced writing in longhand.
Interestingly, I bought a number of hardback blank journals in the early 2000s that remain unused. I have toyed with the notion of giving them away, but we live in a world of such plenteous paper and so little demand that I expect anyone who would take them wouldn’t use them.
That leaves keeping them for either a special project or some kind of handwritten journal reboot, neither of which is likely in the internet age; I am much more comfortable at the keyboard these days than I am with a pen or a pencil.
An Open Mic Nyte buddy of mine, Timothy, calls them his notebooks “codex” books, which is an elegant name for the same thing. Another OMN friend, next door neighbor Jenn, keeps journal notes all the time. Ideas?
“What do you care what I think anyway? I don’t even count, right? I could disappear forever and it wouldn’t make any difference. I might as well not even exist at this school, remember? And you… don’t like me anyway.” ~John Bender, The Breakfast Club
We Were Young
“When you grow up. your heart dies.” ~Allison Reynolds, The Breakfast Club
As I read an old journal – my first journal – as research for another blog entry, I found that it led me to think about my writing. When I was 15, I was so proud of my journal. My journal was everything to me. But it was nothing. It was just me recycling M*A*S*H jokes, stealing Charlie Brown quotes, and being obsessed with waifish girls in my class. I wanted so much to be doing something creative, but it was just masturbation.
December 23, 1978
I spent a lot of time out behind the house today. (We have a creek and a dump.) I was constantly thinking about – no, no I wasn’t really thinking of anything. I was just thinking. I came to no real conclusions.
Somehow this epiphany extended to the present, and at the moment I am feeling that every word I’ve ever written has been a jumbled, better-spelled, better-grammared version of those first whiny spiral-bound entries from tenth grade.
January 14, 1979
I’ve been thinking lately. In what do I excel? Am I totally useless? No. I have three outstanding abilities. Firstly, I am a good orator, seeing that I got first place at Cameron [speech contest]. Secondly, my hobby. I am a pretty fair photographer. Lastly, and probably most important to me, I am a highly prolific writer. This paragraph may sound conceited, but I must occasionally remind myself that I am not totally untalented and worthless.
I tried to quench this deserted thirst by re-reading some of my blog entries and short stories, but that was just shooting blanks. Maybe I really am a bad writer. The only writing I’ve ever actually gotten published is in Ada Magazine, and that wasn’t much of an accomplishment since I am the editor. By this time in 1979, after a school year of journal writing, I fantasized that I would end up writing novels.
January 14, 1979
I feel surrealistically sad right now. I feel so much as if I am going to die. But of course, it is only a feeling. Or perhaps, a hope? After all, what’s there to live for? A few novels, maybe one of my photos on a magazine cover, an award for best oratory? Maybe nothing, maybe everything.
The journal entries themselves from that period seem – at least from my probably too-close, too-critical perspective – much more self-involved, self-indulgent, and self-piteous than I imagine other 15-year-olds’ thoughts would be.
January 30, 1979
I just don’t understand. Why? Why am I the one and only Richard R. Barron? The totally untalented and superfluous RRB? The great unsung hero of absolutely nothing of any importance? I really should call X; she hardly knows that I exist. All of my long nights spent in ambivalence, all that pain and suffering was for nothing at all. Then again, maybe not.
So here I am watching a late night documentary about mind control. I don’t think my brain could be washed or mind could be controlled.
And there seemed to be so many violent thoughts; I often used the word “revenge.” I know I never had violent fantasies at the time, so it might be that I was relatively inarticulate. Maybe I just wanted justice, or maybe I just wanted to be heard. “Revenge” is a loud word to write, but no one seemed to hear it.
April 27, 1979
I feel like crying. I want to die. Everything has suddenly gone wrong. Everyone is starting to hate me. Worst of all, I am starting to hate myself. My entire emotional structure is collapsing. Time lingers on and brings back memories. So much has happened inside me since last summer. A good deal has changed just within a few days. I am alone, but I am not lonely. I am at peace, but there is much unrest. I know I exist and yet I do not understand why. I am just a shadow on the wall. I am nothing.
I could vanish from the face of the Earth right now and no one would know.
I effect no one’s life and play no significant role in any society. Who cares? Who DOES care? No one. No one will ever care about or for me. I am totally inadequate and superfluous.
But what about the long run? Is it possible that I could significantly influence the future of the world? Perhaps there is a definite reason to remain part of life on Earth.
Another thing I did in junior high and high school was sneaking out of the house late at night. I don’t know what other kids did when they snuck out; maybe it was to get high, drink, and screw, or all three. In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jennifer Jason Leigh sneaks out to have sex with a college kid. I snuck out to explore. A buddy and I would meet up somewhere – a park or the golf course – and go from there, finding and exploring stuff like construction sites, vacant lots, storage areas, whatever. We always did it when it was super cold outside, and I always wore my dad’s surplus army jacket. The next day we made maps of what we did.
I wonder how many kids snuck out late at night, and what they did. Abby and I were guardians of her nephew for a few years during his teen years, and I always wondered if he snuck out. As far as I know, my parents never knew I snuck out, and I was never aware that he snuck out.
May 4, 1979
I have come a conclusion. I am totally and absolutely worthless. It’s not really all that bad that no one else cares about you once you get used to it. It’s just that I really don’t care any longer. I need a way out and I am desperate. No one even really likes me. I am simply an outcast, a loner, an oddball in a great crown of normal, happy people.
What would really happen if I killed myself? What would REALLY happen? I would, in a way, have my long-sought-after justice. Justice, indeed, my friend, justice.
Life goes on. I must continue regardless of the world’s meaninglessness.
Like most kids, or even most people whose perspective becomes myopic and self-centered, I thought of my life as miserable and difficult. I honestly had no idea how good it was; carefree, full of potential, healthy. George Bernard Shaw pierced the heart of the matter when he said, “Youth is wasted on the young.”
May 5, 1979
My life is going very badly now. I am filled with pressures and anxieties. Learning to ignore problems… especially those unsolvable ones… is hardly a solution. Something is wrong… deep down inside, something is wrong. Is it just that I am very tired?? Am I losing my sanity??
One thing is for sure… those vast, untapped and long forgotten memories will soon return. Once again I will wish and hope and eventually be hurt, disillusioned and disappointed.
Nothing has gone right in a very long time. I must have a reprieve or I will go insane. Why is the world so deeply set against me?
All I can tell you now is that I feel like nothing in a world of something, and that something wants to push me deeper into oblivion.
One fairly impressive thing about all these crazy, sometimes seemingly dangerous, things I wrote in my journal: my English teacher completely respected its implied confidentiality, and made dozens of mostly helpful, understanding comments in the margins when he graded it. I’m not sure a teacher in the 21st century would be as understanding about my teen angst, but might instead regard me as a threat and report me to authorities, the result of which is to push such feelings and expressions deeper into the shadows.
May 10, 1979
I am losing control over my emotional status once again. My feelings have, as usual, suddenly and profoundly changed. I am again confused and somewhat afraid. I am falling apart. I am under a great deal of stress in all ways. I am so tired. No one really cares right now. I would try to care, but I tried to care one and failed. No longer is there poetic justice in the world. There is only work and bad feelings. No rest.
Another lesson I might take from these ramblings is the value of communicating clearly. Teenagers can’t really do it. Part of that is the Small World syndrome, a subset of wishful thinking, in which we believe the things closest to us are the only things in the world, and everyone else surely sees them.
At the end of the year, the English teacher hosted the infamous luncheon at his home that devolved into the famous “social pressure” conversation. It was an odd experience for me, since I spent more than a year presuming and assuming all kinds of unhappy fiction about how everyone felt about me. The luncheon laid out before me, to some extent, that there were other people in the world, and that despite their good looks and popular friends, these other people had feelings not entirely unlike my own.
When I was about 14 and my sister Nicole was about 11, we started writing and drawing in a spiral notebook that we kept under her bed. We wrote in it off and on for several years. It was an ideal fusion of the “Amy plus Bobby 2gether 4ever” type notes you see scribbled on an eighth grade girls’ notebook, and skill-lessly draw pictures of penises.
It included charts and graphs of people we hated or people we wanted to love. The charts were fill-in-the-blanks charts that requested basic information: age, date of birth, virginity status, hair color, eye color, height, phone number, school, grades, use of profanity, voice, and “molestee” for girls and “molester” for boys.
Our class schedules are in there, as are some hysterically funny drawings.
I don’t know if this is an insight into the minds of young adolescents, or a scathing indictment of how weird we were.
A Few Tidbits
Jenny’s bludges. -Richard
And my personality has never recovered. -Nicole
I’m so happy-sad! -Nicole
Sure, I hated him this morning. That’s when I didn’t know him. -Nicole, quoting Peggy
(In different handwritings)… Hot stuff. Stuff. Stuff. Hot stuff. Cold shit. Blotchey. Blotchey pen. Blotchie? No no no. Blotchey. -Richard and Nicole
Let’s be friends, okay? -Nicole
Let’s hear it for the real people. -Nicole
Freshenup gum! -Nicole
(Name of Nicole’s date)… Stupid! Dumb! Ugly! But at least he’s nice. -Richard
I wish he would get into me. -Nicole
(In large script handwriting)… The Crystal Chandelier -Nicole
What? What? What! That’s what I said. I said what! -Nicole
P.S. Remember our secret about why we were late getting back to the bus at the Spanish Club trip? Keep it a secret.
I have always wondered about that secret.
Nicole's List of First-Day-of-School Fears
No one will talk to me in the morning.
On the first day, I’m going to wear corduroy and I scared everyone will think I’m dressed wrong for the season.
My hair is straight on one side and curly on the other and I can’t get them to match.
My face is all broken out and my makeup fades too fast.
I’m three inches taller than my boyfriend.
There is at least one “make a face” game in it, which Nicole and I developed during long drives to see our grandparents in Missouri. In it, we each took a turn adding a feature to a face, with emphasis on making it as funny or grotesque as possible.
There is a certain chaos about “The Book” that I find compelling, yet am unable to reproduce in latter-day efforts.
The cover to the spiral-bound book was lost many years ago, so I don’t know where it actually begins and ends. There is an A thru Z comparison of my handwriting and my sisters, so I treat that as the cover.
Apparently I was into a girl named Peggy at the time, but I only recall ever seeing her once. (Updated May 2018 to add that I recall it was Peggy Crockett, the girl I hugged under the streetlight in the summer of 1978.)
The biggest surprise about the book is that it made our parent’s move from Lawton, Oklahoma to Palm Coast, Florida in 1987. I would have thought they would have thrown it out.
These are notes from one time I went to dinner with my friends with whom I later formed the writing group called Robert’s Frost.
Pink = Audrey | Green = Shana | Blue = Richard | Red = Merida
Mickey Hamstrings the Pope by Minimus 7.0.1
In the future, everything will be made from leather; leather furniture, leather kitchen utensils, leather consumer electronics.
In restaurants, leather will be served on rice, on the side, flambéed, grilled, smoked, and on ice.
Certain leather, expensive and sensual to the touch, will be soaked in a substance from the future that is part drug and part 24th-century psychotropic herb that yields perfect perception when stirred with gold foil and pressed atop a leather pyramid.
Cows will be forced to eat their own processed hide.
Chips are crunchy, chips are good, chips are my favorite munchy.
My friend says tortillas smell like cum. My tortillas never smell like cum., but if they did, I would swallow them.
Mickey liked the way women would smile graciously and gently masturbate the Pope with a special leather apparatus. “I’m apparatus man!” he would proclaim.
When I am cold goosebumps I grow. They appear any time of the day. Goosebumps or “freeze dots” are not fun. My legs turn prickly and that’s when I know I’VE GOT GOOSEBUMPS.
Try biting your own crack. Goosebumps gone.
I saw myself eat!
“Flush, twice if you have to. Flush your stuff. Why is this so hard for you to do?” -Sign in bathroom
I’m a cat. Meow.
Maybe they had cum on them. Maybe you should see your tortilla maker.
He could just think about getting it up and it would get up.
Yea, I’m thinking about getting it up right now.
Richard, stop poking me!
Yes, I would characterize myself as an avid masturbator.
I got gunk on the page. [There was gunk under her comment.]
In September 1998, my journal (sometimes lightheartedly referred to as “Lord Byron” from a name I gave it in high school) turned 20. I thought of marking the occasion in several different ways. One somewhat radical concept I had involved writing the next 20 years in the margins of the first 20 years, which were all handwritten in huge Mead spiral notebooks. It had a conceptual high art feel to it, but my friends talked me out of it.
A woman I dated in the 1980s also wrote a journal in Mead notebooks, but insisted on writing a pun associated with the word “Mead” next to it on the cover, like “Mead and Podadoes.”
It was around this time that I was frequenting book stores. Remember those? Borders and Barnes & Noble were in their heyday, and had whole sections of blank journals. Some of the journals were fairly plain, while others were clad in the finest Italian leather. Some had faint designs on their inside pages, while others were entirely blank. My pages of choice were simple ruled paper, so I could just write. All of them were dimensionally smaller than the college-rule spirals, which I stuck with for the first 20 years because that was what I had when I started writing the journal in tenth grade.
It was on September 5, 1998 that I made the switch. In addition to smaller paper, I abbreviated the date, which I had always written out in the Mead books.
Upon looking over the transitional period, I began to discover that I was really writing well during that period. At least I thought I was.
February 25, 1998
I wonder if this journal is what sets me apart from the millions who toil like Sisyphus every day, pointlessly churning out paperwork or rubber dogshit or the culture of excess and disease. Or is it my photography? What sets me above?
March 14, 1998
I desire to be brilliant. Ready? GO!
Cynicism is not the answer. Who is happy? Not the cynic. By definition, happiness is the goal. But the definition of happiness eludes us. To believe one’s self to be happy but in actuality being destructive, ignorant, lazy, stupid, or not using one’s potential is not happiness, just the illusion of happiness.
May 11, 1998
The biggest imagination gap: self-image. So many people look and act like complete idiots and believe they are the coolest thing since ice cream. How can you think you look good in that ball cap, that moo moo, that pair of urine-soaked golf pants?
LOOK AT YOURSELF!
Then there were the lists.
Write It Down
The only happy teenagers are the stupid ones.
I am the sky, and I must go home.
What I wouldn’t give to write this page in my own blood.
I would snap you like a twig.
There but for the grace of not being a flipping idiot go I.
I feel that I can write much more honestly now that I have a document shredder for my notes.
Sometimes I feel like I need my anger the way I need my next breath.
“That was very sexy.” -T, after watching me lick salt from my margarita glass.
Never in my life have I been so good at concealing my feelings.
I have written a lot of words over the years. Most of it is drivel. In fact, almost all of it is drivel. Occasionally, however, there is a pearl.
It was September 1978 when Eisenhower High School English Teacher Gil Hernandez assigned my English II class to write in a journal three times a week.
Less that a year later I almost lost the damn thing.
Dad let me take his car to school. It was the Cadillac our family bought years earlier for our vacation to California, but as it got older, it became Dad’s everyday car. (It’s hard to fathom today that a car that guzzled fuel at a rate of 8 miles per gallon could be an “everyday” car.) Michael and I decided to hang out after school, so we got in this 5000-pound rolling house of a car and rumbled off down 53rd Street in the direction of my home.
Journal, November 2, 1979
Having to face adversity every day, my share has been dealt for today. A car ran over my journal. Fortunately there were no fatalities. Almost all of the pages survived, but the spiral part of the notebook is hopelessly crushed. Ironically, I only had today and tomorrow to enter and this book would have been full. How, you may be wondering, could my journal possibly be run over by a car? It fell off the roof, of course.
As we drove on, something didn’t seem right, and when I looked in the back seat, I didn’t see my journal. It dawned on my that I’d put it on the roof of the Cadillac while I unlocked the door, and left it there.
In something of a panic, we turned the boat car around and raced back toward the high school. We spotted the journal sitting forlornly in the middle of the road in the very busy intersection of 53rd and Gore. In my mind I began to formulate some kind of a plan to pull the car up to it when the light turned green and grab it through the open door as we passed it. But before my plan was concrete in my head or the light was close to turning green, Michael was out the door. He dashed like an idiot into traffic and grabbed the journal like a football, then dashed back to the car and got in.
Nearly losing the journal wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as many of the things I wrote in it.
Journal, April 28, 1979
My entire emotional structure is collapsing. Time lingers on and brings back memories. So much has happened to me since last summer. I remember. I remember all the days and nights of bitter, sad, angry, empty feelings. And I know, now, that absolutely no one cares about me. Right now I sit and write and no one on earth is thinking of me or remembering me. I am just a shadow on a wall. I am nothing.
Another pile of dreck from the blue filigree notebook, marked for my reference in fuchsia and powder-blue Post-It notes. Sigh…
I want someone to tell it’s alright, even when it’s not.
“At least it’s intense.” -Kathy, 1986
“At least you know you’re alive.” -Ann (who is no longer alive), 2002
I look at pictures of us together and think, “did it really happen?” (Applies to everyone)
In his last dying days and suffering a brain tumor, V was asked if he saw people where he was going. He counted eight.
There’s no going back now. There’s nothing back there, anyway.
c 2001: Disappearance..
My problem is very obviously too much imagination when it comes to romance. That they have beautiful eyes is more about their mastery of mascara than the depth of love in their hearts. Their slender hands grow without any help from their concepts of right and wrong. The intoxication I feel when I smell their soft hair isn’t from inhaling their brilliant insights.
Then I find that even looking in the mirror is too much to bear.
I lent him a cent for lent
but now I relent
for the scent
is that the cent
I lent him for lent
has been spent
for lent ~Dream fragment, 1993
As if any of you care, that’s it for the blue notebook.
In addition to the scores of blog entries here over the years, I’ve written dozens of notebooks full of journal entries, as well as the hilarious green and red notebooks full of stuff my friends and I thought was funny or ridiculous. I also kept a few “other” notebooks. Some of them were full of personal observations I hoped would lead to story or poem ideas, while others were just phrases or sentences I though were deep or meaningful. I quoted movies, I quoted friends, I quoted Camus and Nietzsche and Kafka. I was deep and pretentious, honest and phony, brilliant and idiotic, and all the while I was self-involved and myopic.
Since the early 1980s, I had a couple of extra spiral notebooks where I could carve out some of my inconclusive free-verse or jot single-line ideas. I also used them for shot lists of movies I never made, and outlining novels I never wrote. I really liked the hard cover notebooks that were popularly for sale at bookstores in the 1990s, so I switched to them from the old spirals.
As an aside, I was wondering the other day what I did with my free time back in the old days before the internet, and except for obsessive masturbation and the occasional video rental, writing in my journals and these notebooks must have been it.
Almost all of the things written here about women were written before I was married.
There is no chronology to these items. In fact, I usually just opened the book to a random page or a page that looked particularly empty.
Also of note: writing a lot of material doesn’t necessarily make any of it good.
Life is a song. Time is the voice.
Home is a moment.
Hell is the moment of ultimate regret.
“You don’t conquer fear. You learn to get excited by it.” –Gary Busey
It’s all there, in shades of grey.
“All is not lost, only misplaced.” -Unknown, quoted here from M. Z.
I have as much paper as I want. The day will never come when I say to myself that I’ve written too much.
My life is full of undocumented suffering.
“We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” ~1984
She had that damned black soul that got all over my fingers.
I feel happy on purpose, but often feel sad by default.
Prepare and Prevent
What do we mostly offer our children? Candy, sugar, fat, video games, television, the internet, violent movies, cigarettes, alcohol, bad advice, empty morality, hypocrisy, Mr. Self Destruct. What kid could possibly resist? Moral: don’t act so surprised.
Medicine is not candy. Food is not medicine.
I despise women who date and marry loser guys who are really good looking, but I fawn over really beautiful women.
Story idea: a man spends an entire winter cutting down a huge oak tree with his bare hands.
Is confession an action?
Unhappiness fuels the engine of passion.
Violate my tender place and witness the darkness.
Everyone else is so ridiculous. I wish I had a clearer picture of my own ridiculousness.
Spirit is Psyche
Don’t tell me who I should be. Don’t tell me that buying something will make me happy, that I’ll be loved, that I’ll be The One. In fact, don’t tell me anything. Give me the truth.
“I use hate as a weapon. Had I been strong, I never would have needed such a weapon.” ~Ann, from her journal
Fear: If I let this all out, the explosion of violence and rage will destroy me.
“Anger and sorrow frighten me because I fear losing control and becoming a raging maniac.” ~Letter from girlfriend, 1992
I look into their beautiful chestnut eyes and think about the bold, uncaring ingratitude their husbands will show them tonight.
Demanding that I demand nothing is a demand.
I don’t miss you. But I miss who I was when I was with you. Or thinking about you. Or missing you.
Story idea: “The Disk,” about a writer who has misplaced a computer disk full of intimate erotica she has written, and the search to find it through subtle dialog and observation.
Having others around me suffer helps because I think they deserve it.
Lots of people call me for advice to ignore.
My life is raw material for writing.
It Is Your Destiny
Wherever I am is where it seems like I was destined to be. When I am with someone, it seems natural, obvious, inevitable. It’s the same when I am alone. The truth is, though, that I am alone much more than I am with someone.
I am not insane, but I sometimes have insane fantasies.
If you castrated me today, would I care about anything in two weeks? How much of what I feel and desire is in my glands?
Today I walked venomously close to that place of dangerous insanity. My hate, all clad in white and red, led me by the hand.
Then there’s that intensely person moment, in the dark, shared with no one, when you finally say you’re sorry.
That day, I was her hero.
I’m lucky: I fantasize about violence that is so ridiculous that I could never actually do it. (K called this “utility tempered vengeance.”)
That brings us about a third of the way through the blue book with the gold filigree. More to come.
“We shall come all over.” -Creedo of Cool Left-Wing Juggling Nihilist for Social Revolution, my 1986-88 girlfriend’s college club.
“I’d rather pop a boner in a nursing home.”
Hey, Hitler! Nobody likes you!
My approval rating skyrocketed after I said some nice things about an event elsewhere in the world.
“Talking to yourself is only bad if you’re telling yourself jokes you’ve never heard before.” -Stolen from someone who stole it from a Facebook friend.
“It doesnt matter who’s completely right or completely wrong, it’s the guy’s job to say sorry.”
“Then what does she do?”
“She gets to forgive you.” -Also stolen from Facebook
Actual lyric: “The damage accumulates.”
Misheard: “The dummy between your legs.”
I dreamed that Max the Chihuahua got lost at a rodeo. I eventually found him in a cubby hole next to a cattle stall, but by then I was all the way across town (it seemed like Norman, Oklahoma) and was late for Abby’s family reunion night tug-of-war.
X has decided that people who act like morons when being photographed are doing so because they are afraid that if they don’t, they will look like morons anyway because they really are morons.
I am getting old and I can prove it. I just set a wall clock to the “correct” time, since it appeared to be 6 hours off. Then I realized it was upside down in my hands. (Please visit me at the old folks home.)
Ever wonder why so many products bear the moniker “SX”? Simple: you can’t say “SX” without saying “sex.” Try it!
The original thatched hutch in Europe was invented by a Polish civil servant named Antonin Starsky. His invention is now known as the Starskian Hutch.
I was going to lock the bathroom door while I did my business, but then thought to myself, “What if I fall in?” (No, I am not kidding.)
If there is one thing I have learned in all my years, it’s that my goats know what to eat and what not to eat.
Brenda White Simpson: “You know Richard, Ive been meaning to tell you this for a long time. You are one of the funniest people Ive ever ‘met’. Thank You.”
The ornate brown and gold book has slicker pages than other notebooks I own, so the ink flowed more swiftly. Occasionally it would fly off the pages, and go places I regretted.
Is today that day I forgive the world?
Create an image with words instead of creating an image with suffering.
For me, the maxim is: If you can’t say something intelligent, don’t say anything at all.
Today my mind is buried deep inside my feelings.
I deny ever having been me.
Whisper my name. I call yours and you do not answer.
I would take humanity, the whole world, tenderly in my arms before I destroy it.
I am sorry for the awkward way I loved you. For years you filled up my heart. (You know who you are, even if you don’t know it’s you.)
I was once close to her. Now I am only close to this moment.
Sometimes I feel like I need my anger the way I need my next breath.
I cannot make sense of my dreams, even though they make perfect sense.
Who am I? Funny question, since I ask as though finding the answer would make a difference.
Even after she left me, she said she would never leave me. (about K, 1988.)
Sometimes I am like insect repellent, which is okay, since sometimes people are like insects.
Staring at myself in the mirror for a long time, I slowly seem to see someone else.
Ignorance is abyss.
You can’t look at something without changing it.
It’s impossible to hope for a moral society when 97% of the participants willingly murder their fellow mammals for pleasure.
You mostly want what you want because someone a little smarter and a lot richer told you to want it.
Get down behind me and kiss my path.
Who are you anyway, you humanity? Your grand plan is to consume and procreate, like flies. You add to that a culture of suffering and atrocities, and act like you are God’s gift to the earth.
Crying: never enough, always too much.
The darkest place on earth.
How can you see me as “sweet” when sometimes I can barely see myself as sane?
In this moment, I understand your denial. How else could you bear your existence?
“I think I hear the answer, but it is only the wind and the dark and the vast emptiness.” -Journal, 1979
The fork in the road: dreams or mirrors.
The last foxhole atheist.
Infidelity: the object for some is getting caught, because it punishes their partner for being such a disappointment.
I leave dark scars on your life.
Story idea: held in my hands, trembling, insane words written in my own handwriting, that I don’t remember writing.
The work of love’s axe on the frozen sea.
I am a totally superior person and a completely inferior man.
During a particularly dark vision, I stand up and walk around the room, but am unable to escape myself. As dark as it was in 1978, 1985, 1988, I think maybe it is darkest now, this moment, this vanishing point.
These bones are wearing out. Would you pay to live forever, or would you eventually pay to die?
Bomb me into the fucking stone age.
I never knew how to let her go. It doesn’t matter if she let me go or not: she’s gone.
Wallowing in the muddy sludge you get when you mix broken dreams with alcohol.
“Maybe I’m boring and don’t know it. How terrifying.” -Journal, 1980.
I want her to come home. That day will never come.
It’s not a sore spot. It’s a dark spot. It’s less about losing her, and more about going back to that lonely place.
…that darkest part of me, the cold, hungry, injured animal part of me, understands the terrorist, the murderer, the despot.
I feel fragile, like old yellow paper.
Nobody is as lonely as I am. Not even me.
How can women love men who spit in public, but not love me?
Just what I need: another black-souled woman for my collection.
My wildest sin is dreaming. My worst mistake was caring.
Real men don’t let bumper stickers think for them.
How could I have held their hands, and let them go? Your hands.
I love like a woman, but I hate like a wild animal.
What do I want? I want to keep you warm.
I’d rather live a dramatic life, as long as it’s good drama.
Tears are an admission.
When asked for one word to describe me, Whitney was split between “intense” and “passionate.”
STOP! In large crowds, I find myself calculating how many cluster bombs it would take to kill them all. I have to stop that.
Here are some profound excerpts from the ornate brown and gold notebook. The first words in this book are, “A black paradise.”
I know I am in love when she and I stare into the sky.
Specious conclusion: that you deserve a second chance just because you screwed up the first one.
I was wrong to think we were part of each other.
Write more, think more, be more.
The kindness of winter: its cruelty pushed away all other cruelty.
Going a little crazy? Give me something to do.
An artist creates his own moral Universe.
Letting it be quiet.
Perception of blackness is a surrogate for perception of nothingness.
Women become an abstraction.
Validity of despair: only if it is tied to something creative.
There are so many ugly people in the world, in so many senses of the word ugly.
Don’t waste time justifying yourself to those who can’t justify themselves.
Certain shameful things give us those feelings because they so deeply, secretly excite us.
Has every moment been like this? I am refining my vision of destruction.
The fundamental solution to the core problems of humanity: to act properly as an individual.
Objectivity: the impossible objective.
The future is your only choice.
Bachelorhood: the freedom to joylessly masturbate to the uninspired pornography of your imagination.
“Richard,” she said, “you must be so lonely.”
You can’t believe in God based on what you lack.
Always just tell me the truth.
There is nothing more beautiful than tears.
It may be an insane place, but it is mine alone.
Possibly the best thing about my apartment: you’re not here.
I don’t want your apology; I just want you to shut the fuck up.
What sets me apart from the millions who toil like Sysyphus every day, pointlessly churning out paperwork or rubber dogshit or the culture of disease and excess? What sets me above?
Only nature seems fair, because even when it destroys you, it does so without judgement.
Christianity’s most arrogant assumption: that God needs us.
I spit, and hear no splash in the bottomless pit of your life.
The biggest crime is failing to face the truth, to say, “Here I am.”
Time can only take you so far down the road, and then there is a fork.
“No talking to imaginary people.” -Sign in New Orleans restaurant The Hummingbird, circa 1991.
Time is the illusion.
Words slip away, but an act of affection speaks louder.
Midnight is not the enemy.
My vision for the ascendancy of man is one in which the masses are able to stop acting like children, which 99% of them do 99% of the time now, and finally behave as adults in every sense. Adults don’t need their fears.
My friends are not the enemy.
When the night settles around me, nothing can touch me.
How dark can it get?
Your dreams know who you are.
A hurt I cannot name: words are not sufficient for this pain.
I am not the enemy.
Have the strength to be happy.
No matter how much they sympathize, they can’t feel it with you, or for you. You must feel it alone.
There is a big difference between letting yourself feel sad and making yourself feel sad.
Confusion is not a feeling.
Women are not the enemy.
I don’t have to get what I need. I am what I need.
Before blogging, there was journaling. It was fun, but only one person at a time could share it. The advantage was that it could be more intimate. The disadvantage was that it would sit in the dark. Here, then, are some choice excerpts from something dark.
Possible subtitle: dripping with cynicism.
If you ask for it, you deserve it.
I don’t despise who you are. I despise who you believe you are.
Your lies are of no interest to me, even if they are only lies to yourself.
The tree of life obscures the target. Cut it down.
Responsibility automatically comes to those who are aware.
Somehow we come to believe that suffering will make us important.
Humanity might not be the place for greatness.
Fly away. I see you in the distance.
I have no right to say that I am lonely. I only have the right to be lonely.
You are out of excuses.
“It never worked.” -K, about our two years together.
Pure and simple vs complex and subtle.
I let the moment fill me with what is essential.
Despite the small people around me, I remain at large.
Why would I ever expect you to understand this?
“I’m not afraid of this. I know I should be.” -M, about a relationship with me.
I am Erebus.
It feels like digging a hole.
She’s like me: dirty, impure, raging, real.
“I’m not smart enough to be an atheist.” -Negative Guy
Women love young, fat guys because they look like babies, and women love babies.
I am more complex than this. I am more complex than you can imagine.
Hope and fear stand in their corners, blame and guilt their coaches. The bell rings.
In high school and college, I used to have three friends who were the sons of very wealthy families. They were all incredibly arrogant, and all shared a common feeling that they should be, or were, above the law. They all routinely used their fathers’ money to purchase expensive radar detectors, buy their way out of traffic tickets, illegally modify their expensive cars, etc.
One of them collected guns. He had dozens. Eventually all three of them had lots of guns, and one of them, my room mate for a little while in college, once told me, “Chicks love it when I carry this.” It was a .41 magnum, and of course, he didn’t have a concealed carry permit.
They all got high, and thought they were entitled to get high if they wanted. They all littered as much as they could. One of them hated pennies so much that if he got pennies in his change, he would throw them on the ground, or in the trash.
Their favorite thing to do on a Saturday night was piss off cops and run from them, their expensive Swiss stereo systems blaring. Once, one of these guys left his car in a tow-away zone, with a loaded pistol in the front seat. It was towed, and the gun was confiscated. The next day – the very next day – his father got the car out of impound, and managed to get the pistol returned. That same guy thought he shouldn’t have to use unleaded gasoline, so he illegally used premium leaded gas.
I confess, it took me a long time to realize what a bunch of d!ckwads these guys were. We are all arrogant when we’re young, but these guys never seemed to grow up. I say that with a sense of irony, since one of them shot himself in the head when he was 19. I was 18 at the time, and saw his suicide with some wonder and sympathy, but in the last 20 years or so I have opened my eyes and seen it for what it was: a petulant, spoiled, rich a$$hole throwing his life away in a tantrum.
As adults, these are the people who live in gated communities, taking their vacations in the Bahamas, and hosting cocktail parties for important guests, meaning wealthy ones. I don’t ever see their kind on the trail. I see all races, faiths, and walks of life in the wilderness, with the exception of the filthy rich.
This kind of wealth corrupting lives is ultimately manifested in heads of state who also think they are above the very law they are charged with governing. From political corruption in its purest form, like Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, to personal indiscretions like Bill Clinton’s Lewinsky mess, all the way to the George Bush father-and-son war dynasty, which sacrifices the blood of honorable soldiers not for the people, but in the end to keep the rich rich.
Sidebar: I was incredulous that Bill Clinton was actually impeached for the Lewinsky fiasco. He may have lied about his relations with her, but come on, people. Are we really so sexually infantile that it’s more important to us that a man lied about having sex versus a man who led us into a war in which we lost thousands of soldiers? Are you freaking kidding me?
True Story: in the winter of 2001, a woman I know named “Barbie,” good-looking and successful, is found in the trunk of her car one morning with her eyes and mouth taped and a cord wrapped around her neck. Two weeks earlier she had shown police and coworkers a doll in the same condition that she said she had received in the mail.
The day after she was found in the trunk of her car, the sheriff told me that she had done it all to herself.
I found this story much more chilling than the story of my mentally ill neighbor who left street garbage as a gift for me, for one central reason: if it could happen to “Barbie,” it could happen to me.
Jeffrey Dahmer told the news media that by the time he was 15, he was killing animals all the time, and that he knew it was wrong but could not stop. He also said he felt his feelings and actions had become “unconfessable.”
This afternoon as I drove to a photo assignment, I had my stereo turned up with a Third Eye Blind CD in it. The song “Misfits” played and I remembered that tonight Abby and I were having Wil and Marline Fry down from Seminole for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Papa Gjorgio’s.
They are moving to Texas this week, and we wanted one last chance to hang out with them before they left. They came down, and we all enjoyed sparkling conversation and an excellent meal on this wonderfully soft, warm August evening.
The reason that song reminded me that they were coming is that Wil and I think alike a lot of the time. I know that he was as big a misfit as I was growing up, and I know from conversations with him that we share a lot of key paradigms. Example: our minds are always racing with thoughts, even when we are trying to sleep (maybe especially when we try to sleep.)
I told him to download “Misfits” and listen to it like it was something of a theme for people like us.
Those are the ones for me
Those are the ones for me
The misfits, the freaks, the enemy, you and me
Those are the ones for me
Those are the ones for me
The misfits, the freaks, the enemy, you and me
Sidebar: I detest it when people who were popular and good-looking in high school later claim that they were awkward, shy or insecure. It’s a crock. Their arrogance kept a lot of people like Wil and me down, and they knew it at the time. Their latter-day claims of nurdishness are made to look like an apology of ignorance, but are really just another way to rub our noses in it. I tried to be friends with a couple of them over the years, and I know the truth, that they are still just as full of themselves as ever.
Wow! It makes a really cool noise when I whack this notebook on my steering wheel!
Myiasis = infestation with maggots.
“Government pork is lower than dog vomit.” -D
“Am I sharp and pointy and heavy?” -R
“My modus operandi is nothing but a diarrhea-ic thought process.” -D
If you don’t try to drag me down to your level,
I promise not to try to haul you up to mine.
Abbrevurrito = small Mexican snack
Free-range Janitors Association
“If you poke into something hard, back up! You may be in the wrong hole.” -T
My apartment is so small you couldn’t raise veal in here.
Beer on chili, farts really silly.
“She’s just like him, only she doesn’t have a dick!” -D’s friend
“The search for the absolute always ends in hot, futile tears.” -D
“If the world ends, what about all those people who live underground? Under the earth,
you’ve got movement and motion everywhere. What would happen if gravity stops working?
I pray every night that it doesn’t.” -a friend’s mom (“Is she institutionalized?” -T “No, she’s dead.” -R)
Occasionally He had felt
deluded and cheated by misplaced
guilt, but lately he felt better, he
felt like he could stand up and
say that he was a worthy person –
that he deserved the good things
that a life in this modern country
could offer a moderately talented
man such as himself.
He figured out the deserve has
nothing to do with it.
Everything was just a matter
of finding some stupid and
tottering piece of reality and
then holding on for dear life
and in the end,
nobody deserved a fate like
As brilliant as it is stupid.
What’s for dinner? Roots and gazelle.
The go-go bar on the edge of forever.
The first wipe breaks off the turd that can’t decide whether to come out or not.
8200 people were hospitalized in 1996 for injuries that occurred while wiping their asses.
Real answers given in game of Tabloid Teasers…
Manager reveals that Frank Sinatra had ________
a symbiotic relationship with an unusual species of blue-green algae.
falls into open cockpit, flies to Las Vegas.
Woman rescues three-year-old from _______
cougar. (That was the best)
“and after all,
this song has been sung,
still there ain’t no lifetime
metaphor for dung.” -Musical dream fragment
Nicole and I were somewhat inadvertently ahead of our time as children. In our daily play, one thing we did was gather on her bedroom floor with all her Barbie crap and all my G. I. Joe crap and make a big compound of houses, dolls, pillows and such. Since it was a trip to imagination land, one thing we needed to imagine was a transportation system. The evolution of that was a device we named the “E Machine,” so called because as it flew along, carrying Joe, Barbie, Long Locks, the German light infantry, Dawn, and any other toys, dolls or characters in our playland ensemble, the bathing cap that carried them all was accompanied by the sound, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
Sometimes on the weekends, Mom and Dad let us make a pallet in there and sleep on the floor, surrounded by our valley of the dolls.
I sit in a stall at Denny’s in Albuquerque, NM, with jelly on my knuckles. There is a bright light above the commode that shines directly on my business, like my constitutional is being interrogated.
Insert the word only anywhere in the following sentence:
She told me that she loved me.
Very few people know about this, okay? After the Lee Harvey Oswald double was optioned out by the CIA, the real Oswald was sent to Burkina Faso for secret training in making terrorist attacks look like Black Ops. You can see him in the photos of the World Trade Center minutes before it collapsed. In fact, I think he was the one who took the photo of that guy wearing the backpack on the observation deck right before the first plane hit.
After planting the Thermite in just the right spot, he got onto a CIA elevator and descended to safety. He is presently in that secret Agency penetration weapons research center in Dickson-Moorehead, North Dakota, which, by coincidence, is the location of an elderly John F. Kennedy, Bigfoots number 2 through 71, and Hitler’s brain.
Dream fragment: Shooting at a complex, crowded metallic gnu range with an ultramodern assault rifle, very accurately. The ultimate prize is to shoot the bottle of mineral water.
(It’s actually supposed to say “gun range”, but I think a gnu range would be even cooler.)
A high school kid walks up to me wearing a t-shirt with Germanic letters “Ubermensch” on it.
Dream: When I flush, not all of it goes down. When I look closer, I see that it’s mostly whole, raw carrots.
After a big meal in a nice restaurant, at the top of my lungs I like to announce “I am one engorged Dick!”
(You have to be named Richard for those to work.)
Facts about left-handers:
-Lefties have a higher prevalence of being blond-haired and blue-eyed.
-4 out of 5 designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed
-Research has shown that a predominant number of allergy sufferers are left-handed.
-Research has shown that a large number of vegetarians are left-handed.
-Most left handers have enormous weeeners.
My butt is left-handed.
Unlucky bloke diabetes
Fat f*ck diabetes
-Willie B. Hardigan
-E. Norma Stitts
-Harry R. Gann
-Harry P. Ness
-Ima P. Ness
-C. Mike Rack
As the year 2008 comes to a close, I thought I would amuse the readers of the Giant Muh with a few key gripes from the notebook with the squished spiral that I keep in the seatback pocket of my car (so I can complain on the road).
The Viagra/Cialis dual purpose: fat men who can’t get it up, both because they are fat, and because their wives are fat. If I had a fat, ugly wife, and was a fat ugly man, I could imagine needing drugs to help my “special purpose.”
Lately I have been pretty annoyed that wieners aren’t made out of animal wieners. Isn’t that some kind of flagrant false advertising?
9 a.m. Wednesday. (I’m not sure if this was a complaint, or just an appointment.)
When I was a senior in high school, the guys I hung out with had expensive stereo systems in their (dad’s) cars. One day I noticed a button on one of the stereos marked HEAD.”Hey,” I asked, “what does ‘HEAD’ mean?” One of them replied, “It controls equalization!” I then asked, “What does that mean?” He replied, louder and less patiently, “It controls equalization!!” Ass jacket.
There don’t seem to be any fat people in Moab, Utah.
On my last trip out west, I saw more than one hitchhiker with wheeled luggage. Need I even comment on this?