The needles raze my skin with venomous bites. He wipes the excess ink with a cool gel. “You’re not a bleeder,” Horishin laughs. “I guess not? Is that bad?” It’s late. Late into the early morning. At this point, I have lost sensation in my arm. The process has become rather painless. The humming needles rake across my flesh in a wake of color. There it is this time. My blood blossoms in fields, across the peony petals: red atop a crown gold. I’m inspired by Horishin, his attention unwavering as he deftly moves from one petal to the other. Perhaps in a fit of hysteria, I laugh. “This is cool. Normally I’d just be doing what I do every night. But tonight I’m hanging out with you, in this spot, getting tattooed.” He smiles beneath his mask. We’re both tired, but it just shows how masterclass this guy was. He was absolutely focused to the point I was thinking shit man that part of my arm hurts but you’re still shading it. I want that for my writing –that obsession, that absolute possession. “Karajishi”, he tells me. “The Fu Dog is the king of animals, and the peony is the king of flowers. They usually go together.” I didn’t ask for the peony, but I’m happy he included it! Two my heroes have peony tattoos: Neistat and Bourdain. We hug after the session; getting tattooed is always a strange bonding ritual. It wasn’t what I expected my tattoo to look like, but I’m learning hardly any of my expectations ever manifest fully as I envisioned them. Life offers better alternatives, I suppose, and there’s a degree of excitement and surprise to that. As I write this, I’m operating on an hour’s sleep. But how wonderful is it that I can stray from the normal, the mundane, and experience something so different, something so painful, beautiful yet earned.
Oh yeah every song that played reminded me of you; it was all the love songs from our parent’s generation. I used to hate them, but I get those feelings now haha. Or maybe I’m just fucking tired. I hope you’re doing all right –the prayers go the same: I hope you become wise enough to protect yourself. I hope you become brave enough to pursue your goals. And I hope you become strong enough to find happiness.
Writing is also the words I do not write. Too many words can detract from the feeling. I think it’s like using negative space. There needs to be room to breathe. Yet every word needs to be placed with reason, with design: imagery, plot or character development, rhythm. It’s like the example of the English teacher and the blue curtains. Yeah, the curtains could just be fucking blue, but when you work with a craft long enough, when you appreciate the time and effort invested, you understand what it’s like to write with design, with intention. And you hope they do too. Writing, for me, is extracting from the subconscious and shaping it with conscious meaning. The better the writer, the better the shaping. Then again, the curtains could just be blue.
I think this idea of negative space should translate to my growth too; there needs to be some breathing room. I want to keep growing, keep having these epiphanies, and keep learning just like how I sometimes want to jam a bunch of words into a fucking sentence in an effort to shape a turd into something beautiful and it’s disgusting. It’s like I want to be constantly producing but I got to appreciate the breathing space too.
With my writing, I need to improve on maintaining tension. Palahniuk said it best when he said good writing is when you have to be with the tension; bad writing is when tension is resolved immediately. I think this tendency in my writing is reflective of how I’m still discomforted with confrontation, violence, the lurid, and my abusive childhood. If writing is shaping the subconscious and my understanding of Jung’s writing is the acceptance of the sometimes ugly subconscious, then I have to be brave enough to shape my writing into its truest form… But I suppose those are two separate aspects of writing: truth or beauty.
A quote from Lord of the Rings because I don’t know, I just like it:
“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”
I dreamt about my sister and I getting ready to take a trip. We were going to Portland. I was anxious since I knew I didn’t have enough money for the trip. But something told me it was necessary to go on this trip. My mom really encouraged us to go. At some point in the trip, I was transported into the wilderness. I think I was alone, wandering. There was rain, but then it quickly turned sunny, warm again.
If everything in dreams is the self, then I must think of what my sister represents to me. I think she represents forethought. I’m rather impulsive compared to her. Perhaps going on a trip with her means I have to think ahead more and prepare, maybe reconcile with an aspect of myself I tend to ignore. Ironically that meant spending money in my dream. Maybe I need to use my money more wisely? I don’t know. I’m not licensed to do this shit. I want to buy a Christmas tree for my family this year –nothing pricey, a small plastic one like the one we use to have. I think it can be a nice gift to them.
Today feels rather unproductive. I read, I wrote, and I read some more. But it doesn’t feel like I’m making any progress. Most days feel like this though, and it’s important for me to understand it’s just part of the process. I really enjoy the mornings now. These two hours are really for me to find balance and all.
I wanted to write a poem for you, but I’m going to smoke instead. This song will probably capture my feelings better than anything I write anyways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwUEJt-o3Yk
What do you think of the essence of Hell? Hell is when the depths come to you with all that you no longer are or are not yet capable of. Hell is when you can no longer attain what you could attain. Hell is when you must think and feel and do everything that you know you do not want. Hell is when you know that your having to is also a wanting to, and that you yourself are responsible for it. Hell is when you know that everything serious that you have planned with yourself is also laughable, that everything fine
is also brutal, that everything good is also bad, that everything high is also low, and that everything pleasant is also shameful. But the deepest Hell is when you realize that Hell is also no Hell, but a cheerful Heaven, not a Heaven in itself, but in this respect a Heaven, and in that respect a Hell.
Selfish desire ultimately desires itself You find yourself in your desire, so do not say that desire is vain. If you desire yoursel£ you produce the divine son in your embrace with yourself Your desire is the father of the God, your self is the mother of the God, but the son is the new God, your master. If you embrace your sel£ then it will appear to you as if the world has become cold and empty The God moves into this emptiness. If you are in your solitude, and all the space around you has become cold and unending, then you have moved far from men, and at the same time you have come near to them as never before. Selfish desire only” apparently led you to men, but in reality it led you away from them and in the end to yoursel£ which to you and to others was the most remote. But now, if you are in solitude, your God leads you to the God of others, and through that to the true neighbor, to the neighbor of the self in others. If you are in yoursel£ you become aware of your incapacity. You will see how little capable you are of imitating the heroes and of being a hero yourself So you will also no longer force others to become heroes. Like you, they suffer from incapacity. Incapacity; too, wants to live, but it will overthrow your Gods.
It’s strange. Reading Jung is like finding the friend I’ve always wanted.
“The worst thing that can happen to a man is becoming civilized.”
I have to remember I am alive for myself foremost. I must strive to improve myself, but I must be in tune to myself. I must understand when I’m doing something against myself. Something I had planned for months fell through. I was absolutely destroyed. I smoked an entire pack of cigarettes and I told Spencer about how they fucked up 3 times. I didn’t get mad until they called the 3rd time, telling me they messed up. I raised my voice. I apologized and told them I don’t blame them; that I’ll take the refund. Spencer was able to give me some insight. He told me perhaps I was placing too much emphasis on that one thing, and that it won’t affect whether you’ll come back or not.
It was a difficult night. I felt entirely lost. But then, the next day I felt clearer. It did feel as if I didn’t learn anything from these few months. I was so focused on that one thing, and I don’t think it would have shown you how much I’ve changed. I should be living for myself. And I thought about it… perhaps it wasn’t something you would actually want in the first place! So I hatched another plan, which I think makes a lot more sense. It’s something I think you’ll enjoy a lot more… I finally got my haircut, which I was stupidly holding off for you. I went out to eat with Spencer -something I haven’t done for a while. And I explored on my own for a bit, meeting Peter who taught me how to flagpole. I found my balance again.
Things I want to do: get a forearm tattoo, take up boxing, keep working out, keep reading challenging literature, and work harder at my job. Life is as good as I make it.
It’s weird that life is just this constant dialogue between the self, this constant attempt to find balance and truth…
The law of efforts aggregated: things done consistently will yield more results than things done sparsely, intensely.
In the November cold,
I wrap myself in your jacket,
goosefeathered, light and soft
as the sun rises
above post rainclouds sweeping
over the cars
My favorite, your arms
around me, your embrace still with me–
do you still wear mine?
Nights like this I try to find meaning
Nights like this I wonder if I’m plain unlucky
Nights like this I ask if I failed the test
Nights like this I think the universe is telling me no
Nights like this I remind myself I can’t choose fate
I suppose I have a story now