Talking to is also touching.
With hands wandering over you.
- Paul Celan

My friend Robbie lent me two books. Platform, by Michel Houllebecq, and a collection of Paul Celan's poetry and letters. The juxtaposition of the two is infuriating and exciting - I love that Robbie gave me both at the same time. He has a certain double quality reflected in his tastes and recommendations. Platform is incredibly well-written in a kind of po-mo 'destruction of all things' kind of way. That said, it is a fluid and fascinating read, a novel punctuated with gorgeously sardonic and rather revealing quotes about the human condition. I am simultaneously infuriated by it and comforted. And then there is Celan; a thorough modernist writer committed to a classic vision of love - its agonies and its redeeming qualities. Sex in two ways, in two styles. I go back and forth between wanting sex to be casual, pornographic, instinctually, and sex as something lovely and warm, like a milky-hued painting or foggy, moist morning. Neither is the truth about sex; it hangs in the balance.

(I got some hate mail last week. Unfortunately I was drunk and it was immediately after a physical altercation broke out between two men (because of me). So being told to "fuck off and die" and that I "create problems in my life because I am bored" just reaffirmed the already-present negative feelings floating around in myself at the time. Fortunately, though, the boys I was drinking with laughed it off and reminded me that it's "just the internet." That said, I think that sending anonymous hate mail to people is one of the most cowardly things to do. It's rather embarrassing for the sender. So, whoever you are, fuck off. I have enough self-loathing to last me a while, I don't need assholes who don't know my situation to send me hateful comments.)


The heaviness, the lightness, in doing something stupid. Avoiding Kant for a week. Cold nights and toes. I am single again. I fucked up my life as I am prone to do when things get...I don't know. I got my own new place, it is a little bachelor with a tiny deck and no counter space. I spent 200 dollars at the Asian market today getting staples. I can't wait to cook, drink a glass of wine, listen to soft folk music and watch the [future] snow from my big windows. I am being irresponsible.


It is raining outside my big 10-foot windows and downtown is looking bleak and resigned; summer is over and frat boys will be screaming "Wooo" more often and, to quote my friend Noel, such cries will reach their fever pitch this weekend. Students here are nuts.
Today is a perfect day for research and writing and isolating myself from London's increasingly busy streets. This cold, milky light reminds me of sitting on the old scuffed hard-wood floors at my old Toronto place, chain-smoking and watching the X-Files, or listening to Mount Eerie, or kissing you, or fighting with you, or crying to myself while gripping a glass of whiskey, or just lying back on the floor and falling asleep in those strips of light. The high melancholic pitch of my nostalgia reaches its peak in late August. Based on my observation of the blogs and tumblr's I am subscribed to and read daily, this is a common ailment. August is so painful. September is better.
Maybe only because it produces a different kind of anxiety; that fresh "I'm back to making something with my life" anxiety produced by new responsibilities and tasks, new people to impress, new papers and grant applications to write. Everyone knows or thinks "this year will be different." I prefer anxiety produced by the future to anxiety produced by the past. The future, at least, always turns out better than I expect.
I am lecturing next Friday and pretty scared about it. Although I have gotten more confident in public speaking and I consistently get great comments afterwards, I still fear criticism and I don't particularly like being in the spotlight. Even just being 'back' in and around campus and the theory center over the past few days has made me feel increasingly anxious. Stupidly, I am intimidated of meeting the new cohort of kids. And I am intimidated of having to finish writing this lecture, of having to present it, of having to do the GRE's in October, on having to write 30 pages of my thesis by September 15th, despite not really knowing what the fuck I'm doing. That said, this blog post (specifically paragraphs 2-4) really encouraged me yesterday and put my academic anxieties in perspective: This Week in Writing and the Anxiety of Meaning by Levi Bryant at his blog Larval Subjects.
Anyways, I hope you are all doing well. xo


Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?

So, people. I need some advice or kind words.
The last month or so has been nuts for me emotionally. August and September have always been really fucked up months. I start getting nostalgic and I get this urge to change my life entirely and basically run away to a new place, etc., that kind of cliche self-searching. I've started having dreams of people I miss, mostly old partners or friends, and the result of this is kind of devastating: imagine dreaming of an old lover and reliving the best times you had together, or the worst, and then wake up with either a manic desire to be with them again or a manic desire to "confront them" about obviously unresolved issues. Worst thing is, dreams can't be taken literally (can they?) so I know that more than likely these people are symbols of other issues; one in particular symbolizing my fear of rejection, inadequacy, etc. Instead of focusing on the feelings in the dreams, however, I focus on the person. And get fixated, and locked into a cycle of negative thoughts, wishing things were "different" or had gone differently. Etc. This occurs, sadly, despite my being in a relationship now and in what I consider to be a good situation; i.e. I can't "locate" anything wrong that would provoke such feelings. I don't know how to get out of the cycle. I keep telling myself "get over it." Seriously, why re-hash shit that happened a while ago? But just when I feel that depression subsiding I'll have another dream where, wow, this person is being so nice and loving and oh my if only ____. Sigh/barf. Talking to my boyfriend earlier, I realized that it is easier for me to cope with bad relationships because I don't have to be scared of some baseline falling out from under me - in bad relationships there is no baseline. And that kind of instability has always been easier for me to handle. At least it is predictable.
Seriously, I miss my psychiatrist. I miss someone impartial saying things like "everyone has a hard time letting go of the past sometimes" and "be in the present" and etc., etc. I guess my issue is - is my inability to let go of this person/these people/the past a symptom that I am unhappy now? Do I need to "clear up" things with this or that person, or should I let things be? And am I crazy or do other people experience similar things?
What I would like right now is a sun-drenched day on a secluded beach that ends with a big thunderstorm and a tent and quiet whispered candle-lit talks about philosophy and love and art.
I can't concentrate on anything, or fall asleep, as much as I want to do the latter.
I like that Camus quote because it encapsulates that feeling - when you're mired in existential angst, stuck in whatever past or future of fantasy, and you can either submit to it or say 'fuck it' and keep going with the daily grind. Indulge in small pleasures. Know that difficult things and feelings will pass and be replaced with new difficult but also joyful things and feelings.

goodnight xo

ps. for consistency's sake I'll give my obligatory apology for being sappy and probably much more boring than most of the other blogs you read. The self-loathing! Argh.


Kind of feel like this.

and this.

and even this.

When you read blogs, do you assume it is written for or about you? Do you feel the rush of a personal address, or look for that little sexy tidbit that may or may not refer to you? In my hubris, I do. That said, mostly only in the blogs of ex-friends and friends. I recognize the ridiculous vanity of this.
That said, when I have the urge to write a blog post it is usually more or less for someone. This one's for you.
Today was brutally, utterly bad. After at least 5 or 6 attempts to quit smoking cold turkey this year alone, and countless times before this year, I've finally caved and purchased several boxes of nicotine gum. So now when I feel overwhelmed or when I start something or when I finish something or when I'm bored I chew this disgusting gum (or rather, keep it nestled between my teeth and gums, as per directions). Sometimes I forget and chew it too fast for too long and my tongue goes numb, and I get bad hiccups, and I start slurring my words. I feel bad because I am obviously edgy.
It is rather horrifying to learn that the feeling of calm produced by a 'cigarette' is actually just a gross tingly chemical, a virtual thing that soaks into my brain. I feel foolish and dumb for relying on something I could hold.
When you remove one or another chemical or security blanket from your system it is like peeling back a scab because everything is a little different, a little off. And it is hard for me to determine what anxieties are inherently "mine" and which are symptoms of psychological withdrawal. I guess that is the dilemma of life, really, now isn't it. It is kind of great, though, to be able to pin point something outside of yourself as a cause of [insert neurosis].
I realize how bourgeois this is. No one gives a shit about me quitting smoking. I was thinking about writing this in the bright pink journal my step-mom gave me for Christmas, as yet unopened, but privacy is so DONE. But fucking blogging is so sickly and gross. Who do we blog for, and why?
Alongside my cigarette-lack-induced-anxiety (or whatever) emerges my social anxiety, again, something that has been pleasantly dulled over the last year. In Toronto I tried to isolate myself from groups. I used to think that groups are too much, and are too risky. As soon as you add a third person to the social dynamic there is room to gossip, room for dissenting opinions, room to be rejected in favour of the other. This, however, I have realized, is a bad strategy. I have, instead, tried to balance groups and singles, and never keep the singles too isolated. (this is what happens when someone with anxiety problems - everyone? - makes friends: it becomes a fucked-up system). I stopped dissecting social relationships just enough in grad school (of all places) to make friends. But with that comes that paranoia: i.e. how much am I 'in the group' or am I really just a lone wolf (do all intellectuals and artists and people think that?); who is who's favourite, and am I being too anti-social this week, this month, this evening? Am I dancing in a strange way? Can I just dance without thinking all these thoughts? Usually, but the last week or so has been marked by an upsurge in insecurity.
The rest of my summer, dwindling into its last days:
1. move 5 groups of friends into their new homes.
2. write my theory session talk on the city as embodied/other in China Mieville's The City and the City (Michel deCerteau, Lefebvre, D&G, blah).
3. avoid my chain-smoking, indulgent, nonsensical but brilliant supervisor until such a point that I can successfully turn down his non-stop cigarette and beer offerings
4. write the first 30 pages of my thesis project on the cybergothic
5. move into my new place, get the cat settled, avoid spending all my money on mid-century furniture, avoid domestic disputes that will unsettle our neighbours (we will be living above an amazing indian restaurant and a used bookstore - heaven, basically, yes). This is the first time I'll be living with a partner since...four years. And of course I pick a spitfire of a smart, amazing, but loud and opinionated man.
6. write, I think, 5 proposals for conferences
7. finish the four mixed media pieces I have started (they're almost done!)
8. calm the fuck down, in general.

I'm going to do my tarot reading now. sweet dreams. xo

images: lukasz wierzbowski, aela labbe, random tumblr, I'm sorry.



Today marks my two-week mark in BC. Yesterday we went into Vancouver and Dock took me to one of the best bars I've ever been to - there is no "entrance," just an open door at the back of a warehouse building. A few dilapidated hallways later and you're in a sufficiently bohemian but non-pretentious red room covered with neo-colonial paintings and local artwork, drinking cider and buying fancy cigarettes from a dude with an amazing tattoo sleeve and getting advice from locals about where to buy the best dumplings in old Chinatown.
People are so much more friendly on the West Coast. I can't count the number of random conversations struck up with mostly working class dudes on random patios, buses, ferries. It helps having a highly personable and outgoing partner.
After the bar my boyfriend was presenting a talk on Hauntology (Derrida, Deleuze, Beckett, Kafka) at a whole-in-the-wall art space filled with kind people. A bunch did talks on random things. It was a great vibe - and so much more relaxed than an academic conference. At academic conferences there is a certain level of "high theory" expected from the speakers, so when people just shoot the shit about stuff they like, I always feel a little disappointed. Not for lack of interest but for lack of theoretical engagement. Here, though, it was just relaxed and good vibes. You like twitter? Tell me about it. You're a teacher and your gifted students wrote a collaborative mystery novel? Amazing.
We have bought almost 30 books while here. I have bought a bunch of mid-century antiques for our new place. I am reading "the Broom of the System" by David Foster Wallace. I just finished reading Mieville's "The City and the City." A fresh volume of Bukowski is sitting beside my bed on top of Deleuze under a mug of peach mango tea. I smell bacon in the air and we are going to a water park later today.
Shit is good.

ps. that Bukowski poem really struck me and made me happy and sad when I first read it. I want a wall of my home covered with Bukowski quotes that make me cry.


I am so exhausted of bodies and women's parts blown up like balloons or cut into pieces so that they are adequately tiny or adequately round and their skin is sufficiently smooth so that we can reinscribe meanings and our own desire or fear of desire or inability to desire on to their available surfaces. I feel that public sexuality is such a stupid farce; as much as I want people to be comfortable with their bodies and sexuality, what has become so called 'sexual liberation' is the opposite of comfort - it is the putting-on of sexuality as a hard, impenetrable shell so that all we are given to jerk off to is that - those shapes and listless eyes. I don't want sex to have "meaning" in that old, stilted, oppressive way, but I want it to be relational and an exchange between people rather than spectacle, images.


the world is literally falling apart and I'm just sitting here reading Badiou. I feel so humbled and sad and fearful and helpless. Its been a tough year, Earth. I don't know what I can do.


I went to New York City for the first time last weekend with a group of friends. We rented a big and disgusting SUV to go to a conference on oil and slime and geotrauma inspired by Reza Negarestani's text Cyclonopedia, which you should check out sometime if you're in the mood for disconcerting speculative realism. I learned a few important things while I was there. It is disconcerting to be with someone you love, but rarely see, and come to terms with changes - that is, changes in them, and the changes in yourself that become visible in that exchange. I only realize how I change when I witness old friends' responses to me in new settings and new times. It is not a negative experience so much as humbling. And it requires a period of grace - to recognize that this is what it means to love someone - to take things as they are. When you love, you are capable of doing that, I think. It is too big a burden if you don't. Don't love, that is. I also realized that my boyfriend is extremely important to me. In the moment - on a rooftop patio overlooking midtown Manhattan and the Empire State building, surrounded by drunk people - that I realized our paths wouldn't line up that night, I just felt such a pain and loss that I haven't felt in a long time. New York is one of those places that needs to be experienced with the people you love, or else it is just exhausting and anxiety inducing, at least for someone like myself. I am blessed to have spent most of my time with one person I love, but lacking my better half during a time at which I so needed him made me realize the extent to which I have found something profound in another person.
I also realized that I am very happy with my life now, to the point at which even such glamorous alternatives as NYC in the springtime are relatively unnecessary in comparison. I love being invested so deeply in work I love, I love being out from under the burden of unfriendly thinkers (i.e. Lacan) and in the arms of those who want me there (i.e. Deleuze).
I don't really have the time or desire to blog anymore, but sometimes it is cathartic. That was the original intent. I don't really have the outlet anymore, except maybe in my working-through theory and philosophy. In any case, followers - drift away, float away, slowly dwindle. I am happy with a whimper and not a bang for an ending.


Today's women's studies' seminar - "Technology, Gender, Embodiment" - dealt with male fluids, the male abject, and the (white, able-bodied, heterosexual) male discomfort with their own leakiness. Of course we had to speak in generalizations for the sake of clarity; I know and have known men who are more or less comfortable with such things. But this is a topic that, in my opinion, is vastly under-theorized and extremely important - not only because it provides a more rich understanding of how female bodies are typically signified as "abject," but because it allows a certain queering of the "male." This is one reason I shirk away from programs entitled things like "women's studies" rather than "gender studies" - both binary stereotypes should be reassessed and re-theorized. Why not? The title "women's studies" also suggests that it is primarily the role/interest of women to redefine or challenge gender - and I don't think that this is the case anymore. Nor should it be supposed that only women or "othered" sexualities have a stake in these topics. Everybody does, or should.
In any case - one of the main topics brought up in the readings is the fear of contamination between men, of seminal fluids, and others - [heterosexual] men didn't want to talk about their semen or come into contact with other men's semen, and the possibility sparked tons of "humorous" comments not-so-subtly tinged with homophobia. When I refer to "the men" here, I'm specifically referring to the men who were interviewed for a series of case studies conducted by scholar Robyn Longhurst, particularly in her book "Fluid Bodies." In any case - men were only comfortable talking about solid excretions (shit, shaving), and not fluid excretions, unless of course the latter was either 1) sexualized, made to demonstrate virility in some way or 2) made into a joke. Heaven forbid the tightly sealed universal subject becomes obscured by its own (particular) decay, by its own proclivity to "leaking." Leaks, excretions, anything "abject" produces anxiety in [heterosexual] men because male bodies are produced as functional, social bodies, rather than as sites of pleasure. The desire to control these flows suggests a desire to maintain control over one's body, social position, as well as ones own desire - leaks are "feminized" - and therefore, must be suppressed.
One of the more interesting theories (Elizabeth Grosz's) is that straight men see themselves as active "givers" of fluid, rather than as passive "receptacles." Thus, flows between men are terrifying, not only because they threaten the self-contained "hardness" of the masculine, but because the vertical hierarchy of giver/receiver, passive/active is obstructed and replaced by circuitous flows (or what Deleuze and Guattari or Kristeva call heterogeneous flows). Desire is "queered" when it is transferred from a Deleuzian "striated space" to that of a "smooth space," or plateau.
In any case - interesting topic, and one that I will probably return to while researching for my thesis.
I've kind of abandoned this blog because it feels trivial, and I am busy. I've been in a good place. My brain feels full and I have come to terms with where I'm going - for my thesis I'm probably going to focus on virtual and material (sexual/gendered) prostheses, particularly in relation to queering desire and subjectivity. I have a shit-ton of Deleuze to read, basically.
Back to reading - Shopenhauer (sp?) and Schelling, McLuhan and Baudrillard.


by Rebecca Farivar

When a thing may
or may not be
real, you sense
it as a half-
presence, a source,
a back-story
you’ve hidden, thrown
into the trough
between two waves.
Now monsters crawl
to you, stalk you,
leave the bogs and
meres for you. A
whole line died to
kill you, but you’re
here still. And yet
you can’t break a-
way. You are full
of dark matter.
That comes from your
fathers, mothers,
your brothers, your
unnamed sister.
Think about what
haunts you, think of
the waves, the meres,
the monster-strewn
shores of somewhere
else, and then ask
again what haunts.

from here.


Capitalism has a very particular character: its lines of escape are not just difficulties that arise, they are the very conditions of its operation. Capitalism is founded on a generalized decoding of every flow: flows of wealth, flows of labor, flows of language, flows of art, etc. It did not create any code, it created a kind of accounting, an axiomatics of decoded flows, as the basis of its economy. It ligatures the points of escape and moves ahead. It is always expanding its own borders, and always finds itself in a situation where it must close off new escape routes at its borders, pushing them back once more...It is endlessly crossing its own limits which keep reappearing farther out. It puts itself in alarming situations with respect to its own production, its social life, its demographics, its periphery in the Third World, its interior regions, etc. The system is leaking all over the place. They spring from the constantly displaced limits of the system. And certainly, the revolutionary escape is not the same thing as other kinds of escape, the schizo-escape, the drug-escape. This is precisely the problem facing marginal groups: to make all the lines of escape connect up on a revolutionary plane. In capitalism, then, these lines of escape take on a new character, and a new kind of revolutionary potential. So, you see, there is hope.

Gilles Deleuze from Desert Islands and Other Texts: 1953-1974, pg. 270