David Baird

First New Story

                                    Complex Realizations

                                    A cycle of short fictions


                        1          Brothers Will Be Brothers


            We’re driving to an event in the city. We’re getting very high. Coltrane is playing. The coltrane sounds so good that I feel I can’t drive anymore.

            “I can’t drive. Who wants to drive.

            “What are you talking about?”

            “I’m too high. I’m pulling over.”

            “Fuck you, asshole. No, keep driving.”

            “No, fuck you. You can drive.”

            “What the fuck are you talking about. You can drive. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re being a fucking asshole.”

            “You’re being the asshole. Someone who doesn’t want to drive shouldn’t drive.”

            “Oh, you motherfucker. You fuckin suck.”

            “I’d rather be a rider. I’m not capable of driving any more.”

            Fuck you.”

            “Oh, this is much better. This is the way it should be.”


                        2          Dosage, Then Tripping


            Its my first trip. About an hour and a half after eating the paper, John and I are in Matt’s room. Stephan is making funny faces, slowly morphing between them. He’s trying to trip us out. Its working. Everything kind of looks like the bleeding color-shifted way 3-D movies with glasses look. Except the hits have impacted us emotionally, as well. We’re more sensitive, we’re more determined to be as psychically comfortable as possible.

            “I can’t handle this. I think we should leave.”

            “Do you want to leave? Ok. Lets leave.”

            Me and John say bye-bye to the non-trippers, and make our way out into the hallway. We are in the biggest all male dorm in the western hemisphere. Tripping is really a trip. Walking down the hallway, looking at the big paintings people have been allowed to make on the walls and ceiling, we barely have the ability to keep going in the direction we’re going in. We walk by a room with the door open and a band trying to play inside. I think it sounds disjointed and sick, not healthy, but John will later tell me he thought they were playing awesome shit.

            “We shouldn’t be in here. We should be in nature.”

            “Yeah. I have to take a piss though.”

            We go into the bathroom and position ourselves behind two urinals. Pissing is really weird. I’m tripping so hard that each real second that passes seems a lot longer. I’m in the middle of saying something, but I look up and discover that John has already left and someone else has come in. I pretend nothing weird just happened, and leave.

            “Where’d you go? I was talking to you.”

            “I left. You just kept talking.”

            We laugh at this. We have eaten “hippie trips”—unusually potent LSD hits. I guess it refers to the way hippies are generally into full-fuck drug experiences. We have eaten two each. Its becoming apparent to me that two is infinitely heavier than one, even though I’ve never taken only one. I wonder, what was my life like that I wanted to do this? Because this is a level of intensity that nothing could have prepared me for. Besides being tortured, this seems like the most intense thing human beings can do. But why do it? Certainly not for the pretty pictures, the eye-candy. No picture could make this kind of psychic disturbance, this total mind-fuck, worth it. Later in life, I will hear Nick Drake sing, “Is it now worth all the color of skies, to see the earth through painted eyes?”

We go outside. We have paper bags with a couple of drinks in them, but for some reason, our trip is such that we are feeling so intense that putting liquid in our mouths seems crazy. I guess if we were truly thirsty we would drink. We walk across the drillfield. The grass is flowing together, spiraling in swirling eddies. We study this phenomenon. We keep walking and hear skidding, then a crash. It appears that in front of us a car has hit another car maybe. A police car immediately shows up. We turn around. We want no part of accident and police investigation. We laugh, because after it crashes, without a word, we both turn around at the same time. Trippers’ instinct.

            “Look at all these people. Why aren’t they tripping? Why isn’t everyone doing this.

            “Maybe they don’t know about it.”

            “Oh my god. They can’t even imagine.”

            “They’re just in normal life.”

            “How could you live without tripping?”

            We go to john’s room, in a co-ed dorm. We lock the door. We don’t want people to know we’re tripping. We’re afraid to look in the mirror. Eventually I try it.

            “This is the secret to tripping. You have to look in the mirror. You have to realize its not you. I look like a devil. But its just hallucination. My face isn’t really morphing.”

            I get the inspiration to call my brother. He’s in high school, living at home. I get John to ask for him, I don’t want to talk to my parents. I think it would be nice to talk to him right now. To let him know I’m alive, that I care, that I’m tripping. I’m sitting on a big pillow and the cord gets wrapped around me. He’s not there. I can’t figure out how to escape from the wrapped up cord.

            “I’m stuck. I can’t move.”

            Its just a cord. You can’t fuckin figure out how to get out?

            Its too complex.”

            He’s laughing hard. “That’s hilarious.”

            I slow down and concentrate and I figure out how to unwrap myself. We decide to watch Fantasia, an animated film that’s coordinated with some sort of classical music. At one point, the whole screen is enveloped in flames, and things are weaving in and out of each other.

            “Do you see what I see?”

            “I think so.”

            “There are naked women in the flames.”

            “That’s crazy. There really are. Do other people see this?”

            “Maybe you have to be tripping to notice it.” We’ve never seen the movie sober. It actually appears that Disney has included subliminal naked people. Somehow we don’t think Disney would do that on purpose. Maybe the animators snuck them in without the company’s knowledge. I’ve seen a book, which was about the unseen dark side of Disney. There are some really eerie things in it, with realistic ants and other animals, not the usual humanized animals. Most of the shit looks cooler than anything they’ve ever shown to the public. Its sad that a whole dimension is absent from their creations, especially since these creations have such power over many people.

            John wants to continue hanging out indefinitely, but I say I’m tired, because I want to go off alone, and lie down in the dark. Maybe I should have lasted out the trip with him. But we were together for hours. How much companionship can I give people? They have to be happy with what I can comfortably give them. In bed, weird crystallized patterns writhe and mutate in my entire field of vision. The designs remind me of Native American things. I get scared that the trip will never end. But I fall asleep, and wake up not tripping. I feel blank. Like there’s nothing left of me. I’m just a body. I can act and react, but all meaning has been sucked out of me. Maybe its just a sign of how empty my life is, without a love.


                                    “F” For Female


            Its hard for me to do things. I live in comfort. Why should I leave? If its this good without an f I can’t imagine it with one. F’s are organic. They die. They take up space, physical and mental. They can see. They can see into me. They have selves. They can be just as conscious as me.

            Someone in my class told me about a reading. So I oscillate between wanting to go, and wanting not to. There will be people. Mistakes will be made. Opportunities lost. But the accomplishments, no matter how meager, may be positive.

            I might die tonight, so I decide to go, instead of doing something I already know.

            The drive is a trip. I’m awash with hopes and fears. This is like free reality being given to me. An experience offered. All I have to do is move my body to the event, and try to be myself.      

I park and walk to a university-owned apartment complex. An f lets me in. I’m directed to the room. Its like a gameroom. There are about 17 people. Socializing. Sitting in chairs. Drinking coffee, even though its 8:30 PM. I see people from my class. The music’s loud, so I’m not entirely comfortable talking.

There’s a pool table. No one’s on it, so I start to play. I’m not shooting according to rules. I take balls out of the pockets as I go and place them on promising spots. I take whatever shot’s educational. I feel like I’m on display. My mouth gets dry. I can meet the gazes, but not sustain them. I’m having fun. Eventually a guy walks up.

“How’s it going?”

“Good, how’re you?”

“Good. Can I take a shot?”


“Pool is like…”

But I’m walking to my seat to get water, and he stops talking when he realizes I’m ditching him. Exhibit A: I am an asshole.

The reading starts after a few minutes. The first person is an f reading fiction. Her face gets red, but her voice betrays no nervousness. She strings images together, seemingly with taste, but I can’t follow the plot. Either I’m not paying enough attention or its too complex for me to understand. Or I’m better with text than sound. When I cross my legs, take a sip of water, look around, or remain still, I feel like I’m sending a message to the others. Maybe they’re used to social events, and feel less exposed.

Its not exactly uncomfortable. I suppose its worthwhile. The next reader is a poet. He has taken off his shoes. When he starts in, I immediately know I’m in the presence of a wierdo. His inflections are dramatic. He’s showing how serious his work is. He’s not just reading. He’s communicating some primal thing that we all have in common, even though we don’t know about it.

So it ends. Two readers. The music is cranked back on. The one f from my class, sitting next to me, turns around and starts talking to an interesting f behind us. I could turn around and enter the scene. But I sit, staring ahead, and decide to escape. I say goodbye to her, thanks for inviting me. I ignore the other f from my class, who talked to me earlier. We walk right by each other, her not looking at me and me deciding that the occasion doesn’t call for any more little polite scenes.

Driving home, I wonder if I’ll go again. I’m used to the pros. Do I want to hear college kids read? But I’m only in it for the f’s. Next time, will I be able to connect with the mysterious strangers? Or will I do the same thing—observe and leave.


I go again the next week. I don’t talk to any of the multiple pretty f’s. Because its not effortless to. Its fairly uncomfortable. A guy reads decent poetry. Stuff I don’t necessarily want to hear. The one image that gets me was men in a restroom taking shits next to each other, afraid to fart, worrying about each other hearing how much paper they wipe themselves with.

Maybe I sit in the wrong chair. My position’s in everybody’s line of sight. So I have to either look at the poet, myself, the floor, or other people. I investigate what the others are looking at more than a few times.


Maybe it would have been better not to leave during the intermission. Maybe it would have been cool to try to connect. To admit to being conscious of someone’s image, their visual data. To admit to having curiosity. To reveal interest.

None of this was probable. I played pool alone again. They could have approached then. But I guess f’s are like drummers—all the good ones are taken. And I don’t really trust my image to attract hf’s, (hot f’s). I look odd. Misshapen. I enjoy my mirror image, but in pictures I inevitably look dorky.

Do guys have to be hot to get hf’s? Depends on the hf. Am I that lame that I’d rather be alone than in a room with potential friends? I felt happy when it seemed like the poet was symbolically ripping on me. Talking about me indirectly. Its then that I felt like the event meant something. I wanted it to be all about me. I shouldn’t expect others to be as into me as I am. They might be into me if I opened my mouth. If I reached out. That rarely happens.


My teacher and I


            “I’m going to suggest that you try to write some different stuff.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “You’re pretty good at what you’re doing now. But I’d like to see you try to use more action. Plots that conventional readers can follow and enjoy.”

            I knew it. But this is why I’m in school for writing. To change.

            “But isn’t there plenty of action around for those who want it?” I’m being an arguer because it’s a nice way to make dialogue progress.

            There’s plenty of lots of stuff. That doesn’t mean we should ignore it.”

            “But what possible physical action could I portray that’s different?”

            “You know about the calculations that showed all musical forms would be exhausted early in this century. Writing is such a strange thing that I don’t think we’ll ever exhaust it.”

            “But individually we can reach points where we’ve done all the adventures, put up with all the toil of jobs, felt the joy of sex, where we pretty much know everything about what our bodies should do.”

            “If all you care about is one character’s body, you may be right. But aren’t you concerned with the infinite totality of life on earth, the complex important problems that do call for physical solutions?”

            “Yeah, the universe is definitely out there right now, changing, and calling for some sort of intelligent, ethical response.”

            “I know its hard for you do think about these physical exploratory fictions. But it may allow you to tap into a whole different groove.”

            “I just don’t feel good enough to rise to the level of reality that journalism, for instance, routinely reaches. I feel like my gift, my desire, is more conversationally productive than dramatic action type productive.”

            “But with this gift for words you can push against every different kind of artistic limitation. Don’t you want to try things you’ve never tried?”

            “I feel like I’m writing the best shit I can. Its just so hard for me to get characters to actually do things. Its harder than really doing things. Its so hard, but maybe this is a sign it might lead to surprises.”

            “I’m just telling you about your options as I see them. Nothing can make you try a different mode of writing. You could spend your whole life in mental art. But if you start, maybe even with just a line, to do some action, I think it could blow your mind wide open.”

            “I do like books with everything mixed together. Its just that some of my best memories are from conversations. Although my best dreams are often nonverbal. That’s what’s hard about a rounded approach—you have to bring consciousness and unconsciousness together. But they’re so different, so often in conflict, that sometimes I just wind up excluding a whole kind of art.”

            “There is some wisdom in doing what we’re best at. You might totally just need to write mental things. The physical may be something that for whatever reason you absolutely don’t need to do. But the thing about writing is that you, through your work, can determine what kind of writer you’ll become. You can choose your style and your content. This is good, because if we only did what we naturally were programmed to do, change wouldn’t happen. I think we should let changes happen. Who wants to spend their life in one mode?”


My brother and I


            “You don’t believe in writers?”

            “There are plenty of stories about pipe-dreams. The novel he’s going to write. The masterpiece he’s going to paint.”

            “You’d want them to get jobs instead?”

            “No one who works is going to like your shit.”


            “No one wants to read about you sitting around and going to therapy and writing down whatever you think. And no girl will want a guy who lives with his parents and gets a government check and writes things.”

            “You’re talking about them. I’m talking about her. I’d be just as interested in what she writes.”

            “No one wants to know what you write.”

            “But she would. Its called unconditional love.”

            “You think what I’m saying is bullshit.”

            “I think you’ve told me about a group of people who I hadn’t been thinking about. Now I know there out there. How many people have you known like me, who don’t have to work?”

            “I see rich people all the time and they’re miserable. I never hear you say you’re happy.”

            “I’m happy-slash-sad. I learn a lot. More than I’d learn if I worked. You think flipping burgers helps people?”

            “It gives you a foundation. You know what its like to be a part of things.”

            “A saw a beautiful girl today at the gym. We just kept looking at each other, but I didn’t say anything.”

            “Did she smile?”


“If there was no facial expression nothing happened. Smiling is key.”

            “I don’t think smiling is necessarily a good reaction to this world.”

            “If you don’t work.”

            “I think making faces is not as meaningful as how you feel, which may be exactly like you are, expressionless.”

            “All you’re doing is self-gratification.”

            “I’m working for my future audience.”

            “You think people will want to read your shit?”

            “You might not be a fan but I think I will have them.”

            “You write for an elite. Most people wouldn’t care about your shit. If all you’re exploring is yourself no one is going to be interested in your characters, who will all be the same.”

            “You think DeLillo, a genius who creates the best shit imaginable, doesn’t have individual characters. You think they all sound the same.”

            “If they didn’t people would be writing about it. People write a lot of shit about him but they don’t say his voices are differentiated.”

            “I’ve read all his books and all his characters have definite personalities, although all having souls there are universal things in common.”


Me and a buddy


            “I was looking through some old papers I found. I found some of my old poems and stories, even with teacher and student comments,” I say.

            “How old?”

            “Probably six years. Its amazing to see that I was a writer, even then. It has more impact than seeing shit I wrote just last year.”

            “I wish I had some old stuff to see,” he says.

            “Yeah. This shit I found is just a partial sample. For some reason, I decided to lose tons of other stuff. Maybe I thought it was so simple I could recreate it later if I wanted.”

            “You have to extrapolate from what you do have.”

            Its turned me on to how alive my readers were. I used to look at student comments and take them for granted and think they were almost meaningless. But now they seem really human, really trying to connect with my mind, whatever that was.”

            “You tend to lose track of what students really are. They’re fully real beings who were once little girls or boys. They have potent intelligences and feelings.”

            “I thought I was so good. But now that shit seems chaotic. I’m surprised they could even read it,” I say.

            “You must be a way better writer now.”

            “Maybe I learned from the chaos I used to call art. Maybe the art of becoming a writer is first learning how disordered your mind is and then building a new mind from this wreckage.”

            “I think you can get a lot more gentle and careful. At first its tempting to use the power of art and blast away at people’s minds,” he says.

            “My poems were like high-volume screams. Maybe that’s what I needed to do, given my emotional problems. But there’s a continuum, which begins with silence, emptiness, and goes all the way to supernovas, incredible burning.”

            “You can take the normal and slightly tweak it, make it dream-like.”

            “Beauty can be strongest in just reality. I see f’s of unimaginable beauty all the time. A human’s beauty is one of the most highly-evolved, fully-tweaked things in existence. The possible beauty in art is another of these things.”

            “I’ve come to demand beauty from the books I read and the music I listen to. Its hard for me to do assigned reading of things that aren’t ultimate. It causes pain to read imperfect shit. Luckily there’s usually some truth involved in these second-rate experiences,” he says.

            “I’m not saying my text is super-good. I’m just happy I’m in classes where people will read it. Maybe I’m on to something that can turn them on slightly. Readers have an energy that’s very appealing. It can let me see things differently.”

            “You know what makes you happy. Now what you’re looking for is to trip others out. You’re good at your own life. But what can it do to us?”

            “I’m good at learning. I think. My text seems a lot more feeling than that stuff I wrote six years ago. Or rather the feelings I have now are more useful to the world. My mind is way more aware of the real problems around. Knowing more means being better. Having lived more means being able to live more directly now. Finding out how good things really are lets me try to go in transcendent directions I didn’t know,” I say.

            “Maybe its good to think you’re good. This enables you to keep working. Thinking you can play with positive energy that may alter reality. If you think you’re boring you tend not to act creatively. If you think you’re bland and evasive you end up quitting early,” he says.

            “I try to explore what good means. If acting is good exactly now, then I say its actually good. If the act of writing is beneficial in whatever ways, then I should do it, even if the resultant text will be uninteresting to certain people. I tend to believe that some will see what’s happening in my art. They’ll be able to taste the way my words project light into their eyes. They’ll know that writing it was an act of life, was a way of fighting death, of becoming more alive and more fully connected to our struggles.”

            “We should only care about whoever cares about us. We shouldn’t waste our time trying to convince the blind they can see. There are people who will think you’re either wasting their time or you exist to entertain them. Maybe you can change them some way. But its not really your concern what happens in the minds of the stupid.”

            “Stupidity is something to be explored in the characters I create. We’re all partially stupid. But we want to find the least stupid people that exist. People who love what we do. Or love other things as strongly as we love our things. Or who respect our love, even if theirs is different.”


My name is Karl, and df’s, (dream f’s), are the point of me


            I met this girl Susana at the gym. She got on the machine next to mine. We eventually exchanged numbers.


            “Hey Susana its Karl.”

            “Hi, how’s it goin’?”

            “Good. How bout you?”

            “Today is a good day. Do you want to come over and hang out?”


            I have to parallel park on her street. No meter though. I’m feeling a certain way which I feel sometimes. All the colors look very intense. I can look around and keep moving my eyes and it all is amazing. I can never predict when I’ll make it to this level. I guess I have to be happy knowing it’ll happen again sometime.

            She opens the door and I walk in and look around. It’s a fairly nice place. I’ve been in some apartments which were pretty bleakly decorated. Her roommate won’t be home for a while. We stand facing each other. I read out and take her hands. I grasp them and move them and change them with my own hands’ pressures. We both smile. We move closer. Our hands disconnect and wrap around each other’s bodies as we initiate a kiss. I have an excellent feeling as our mouths find the suctions and frictions.

            “You’re pretty cool,” I say.

            “Thank you.”

            “I’m glad you got on the machine next to me.”

            “I wanted to see what would happen,” Susana says, and we’re almost whispering.

            “And this is happening.”

            “Do you want to see my bedroom?”

            Her room is not huge but there’s a comfortable amount of space in it. I sit on her bed, and she stares at her CD’s, wondering what to put on. I ask her,

            “What do you think you want to hear?”

            “I don’t know exactly but I have some kind of music going through my mind, and hopefully I have something that matches it somehow.”

            She puts on one of Zappa’s You Can’t Do that On Stage Anymore. I feel it’s a good choice cause Zappa has the kind of perversity and funness that goes nicely with love.

            We start making out again, my hands moving over her, through her hair, massaging her body, her skin and flesh and blood vessels and nerves. Let’s take off our clothes. Just for fun. As I sit on the edge of the bed her kissing mouth moves down, from my mouth, to my chest and belly and private parts. She kisses and licks and eats me. To me, oral sex is as good as it gets. As I’m about to come I tense my dick and whole body and the orgasm arrives and I hold the tension for as long as possible and then my juice bursts through, into her beautiful mouth.


Me and my therapist


            “I haven’t learned anything since we talked. I don’t know what to say,” I say.

            “Oh, I’m sure you’ve learned something. There are people who’re stuck, though,” she says.

            “I think I go through stuck modes. But they’re temporary.”

            “People organize their lives so they learn nothing new.”

            “I’ve tried to push the limits of my life. But I failed in the past, so I’m probably failing now somehow.”

            “You seem to be living quite lively.”

            “It may appear so. But I’m the one who knows, and as far as my art goes, its been stuck for a few years now.”

            “Haven’t you been coming up with new writing?”

            “I have, but all in the freewriting mode. Its been since school that I wrote anything structured,” I say.

            “Well now that you want to change, you can.”

            “But its so hard. I read DeLillo and its so discouraging seeing him do the ultimate, achieve detail and power and abnormalcy. Maybe I’m wrong to try to imitate a genius.”

            “I think its natural for you to want to match your favorite artists.”

            “I’ve actually copied some of his shit. But it turns me on so well I end up just reading it. Maybe I can try to cover some of his scenes. Write them how I write them. Because as far as important scenes go, he’s collected a lot of them.”

            “Don’t you have your own scenes?”

            “I do. But I doubt that people want to see them. Maybe that’s just cause I’m so familiar with them. Maybe others would be surprised by them. I guess it’s the strange fear that if I actually write what I know I’ll exhaust it and won’t be able to write anything more. But maybe real-based scenes are only the beginning,” I say.

            “There have been some characters in your life. I’m sure you could, by bringing them together in different ways, hook onto an almost endless source of productivity.”

            “With my writing there’s always the problem that I put myself in every scene. But it might be wild if I put other characters together, if I let them live without my presence.”

            “It takes a having a large distance from your work to try to make it work without your voice in it. This is where things get crazy—stuff happens that would never happen around you,” she says.

            “Yeah, I tend to normalize things. I don’t know if I’m tense or tension-free or sane or insane but wherever I go, normal things seem to happen. Maybe this is true for everyone. But I’m sure some people think their lives are crazy. My life is crazy only when I imagine it to be. Or rather, due to the status of the rest of the world, any life is so wild and special, in comparison to all the other lives. All we can do is compare.”

            “Yes, its one of our greatest acts to evolve some kind of relationship with everyone else. And not to accept the relationships that society supplies. To respond to history with writing, not with multiple choice,” she says.           

            “Hopefully, we can choose what to be, within limits. Though I want my writing to have no limits. I think its possible to give the imagination a field to play in where it can do anything. This is what the world is—a place where imaginations are being as free as they can or know how to be. That’s the scary part about writing. If you’re really learning from it, you always have to leave words behind, because newer lines become possible. I write knowing that I will leave my words. Why even write if you’ll surpass it? You have to write.”


In a dream with me and an af, (acceptable f)


            “What kind of shit do you write?”

            “Shit that tends to make one uncomfortable.”

            “How so?”

            “I don’t intend it to. I try to entertain, to enlighten. But I end up writing embarrassing shit if the people I based it on were ever to read it.”

            “Don’t show them.”

            “What if they’re in my writing class and I write about them and I have to share it?”

            “They should be honored that you not only noticed them but thought them worthy of inclusion into your art,” she says.

            “I’d rather not share shit with the people its about. But if I take that to an extreme, it means I shouldn’t share anything with anybody. Cause I’m writing about them even if I don’t know them,” I say.

            “Yes, perceptions about us are generally portable. But that’s the thing. You write shit that total strangers will find themselves in.”

            “Text is strange cause readers can find themselves identifying with characters who aren’t nice at all. Its just when you’re let into a narrators mind, you start to value his feelings, even if he’s mean,” I say.

            Its hard to be critical of characters. They’re described with such intensity, their lives are so dramatic. And we’d be doing what they do if we were them,” she says.

            “That’s one of my goals. To tweak a character so delicately that the reader doesn’t know if he’s good or bad. Cause I think uncertainty about other people is a healthy habit, which often takes people years to learn. You can talk to a complete psychopath and be charmed. So I always assume the worst. I assume people are evil and I let them try to prove me wrong.”

            “And even good people can go insane. Anything of value that I find in people is temporary. People can abuse themselves and their brains slowly deteriorate.”

            “Wouldn’t that be neat. To show a changing character. Usually I’m too wrapped up in a scene, trying to really define a mind. When really. Change is what we’re all about. Every fucking thing changes us. I’m glad we had this conversation or I might not have learned this so soon,” I say.

            “I’m looking forward to the book you’ll make. You get real involved with ideas. You don’t deploy them like weapons and move on. You look for how deep they go.”

            “Although I can’t write the shit that many writers take for granted. Scenery. My environmental descriptions are fairly lacking. But I make up for it with how far I push my characters’ conversations. Conversations are the formative elements of intellectual growth. Sure, so is a yellow-green forest and shadowed light on a perfect day with a perfect partner. I don’t know, maybe I can do conventional shit. Maybe I’ll fit all these conversations I come up with into a dramatic frame, with people walking around, looking at others, adventuring, watching pyrotechnics. Why the fuck not? If I want to include an element into my book, I only have to decide to do so, and implement. That’s what’s nice about art. You can always add. You can do some serious tinkering. You don’t have to be the well-disciplined artist, adhering to a program of conquest. You can crank scenes out then fool around with them, study them. There is no level of commitment I’m held to. There is no sponsor I need to please. Its just me.”

            “Yeah, you’re the artist. You’re an actual fucking artist. You’re not some schmuck. You’re the man. Its your plan. You can theoretically just keep making it better and better. If you have the ability to feel truth, which I think you do.”

            “Sometimes I doubt it. I’m so wrapped up in my self and my art that I think I get pretty biased at times. I’m locked into visions and acts, and I ignore chances to deviate from my habitual ways. I think it might actually be possible to be a person who is open to chances. To take whatever you can get. To make it your world. To sit in the director’s chair, and achieve the panoramic view. To always deny mental limitations,” I say.

            Its good that you’re aware of your problems. Maybe if you study them for long enough, if you get mad enough about them, if you do everything possible to prepare to solve them, it’ll happen—you’ll be right where you want to be, life will finally be yours.”

            “I’ve wasted so much time. It’s a shame. I’ve followed too often. I’ve had too little faith in the love of others. I haven’t cared enough about my own feelings. When I don’t care what the hell goes through my mind it becomes impossible to experiment with situations, I can’t change life, I can only make the minimum impact. Its like I’m a ghost even though I’m in the prime of my life. You could call me an emotional cripple.”

            “I guess you know what you’re talking about. From our conversations, I can’t really tell if your life is torturous,” she says.

            “I can make believe. I’m a pretender. I’m a believer in routines. I expect nothing exciting will happen to me. When opportunity does appear, I’m powerless. It’s as if nothing I’ve learned from the hugeness of history does any good. It’s as if I were just born, and don’t know what it takes to make friends. I’ve been virtually forced to make the friends I have now. I guess I need help with dealing, and most strangers aren’t going to try, given only my appearance. They have no clue what’s going on in my mind. Anything could be happening inside me, but they’ll never know, they’ll just see me appear and disappear.”

            “Maybe you need therapy.”

            “I need rules. Like don’t do caffeine. I’m guessing that that shit’s pretty unhealthy. But its so tempting to zap myself, cause I seem to be able to write twice as well on it.”