I teach animals tricks. I teach frogs to leave with a sudden jump whenever they’re going somewhere. I teach flies to navigate by crumpled up maps. I teach humans to…
Writings about my self, my identity, my life and other mundane musings.
The universe is a fucking dark place, I thought late last night when the street lights outside my house for some reason went out.
It’s changing. The walls moving again. Not the slow surface, petrified and decaying, don’t touch it! But heading inside. Different somehow. The spinning anxiety has subsided. For now? Only the spinning remains left (ambiguous end).
Scratching the dream
I don’t dream about things I would do if I won a lot of money. I dream about what I wouldn’t have to do.
An acquaintance saw the movie Taxi Driver for the first time a few years ago. Afterwards she said to me: “Sure, it was good, but not as special as people said it would be.” She didn’t consider (or know) that there were no other films quite like it when it was made in 1976.
She would probably react to David Cronenberg’s early films the same way. He was doing stuff late 1970:s and 1980:s in a way that no one else had done before. Then the styles and themes he explored seeped into mainstream where they have been refined with better budgets.
But now that I’m doing a retrospective, re-watching them all in cronenogical order, I find that I still love the rawness of those films. Slick production and modern effects can never replace the earnest excitement of exploring these dark, liminal spaces of the human body/psyche.
The progression in the early films, starting with Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), ramping up with The Brood (1979) and Scanners (1981) to (at least in my eyes) culminate in Videodrome (1983), is a beautiful journey. Though they are (mostly) horror films I get really happy when I watch them.
His continued production is also great, Dead Ringers (1988), Existenz (1999) and Spider (2002) to mention a few, and I’m very excited to see his new Crimes of the Future (2022). But, though I’m no nostalgic, the new ones lack one certain aspect of the old ones: the vintage production design.
Because the Canadian late 1970:s is my absolute favorite aesthetics in film ever.
For each time we spin to face the billion-year-explosion things become more and more unreal. It’s as if the radiant pride of the gravity well can’t help pointing to the flaws of its obviously half-measured creation.
With every turn the dense composition is revealed as hollow, an insubstantial tangle of shadow play and make-belief, forcing us to participate in a fiction without script, directed by an elusive feeling of the inevitable.
Caught by surprise, imprisoned by the floodlight, we hastily patch together an undercover dayself from scraps we find around us to avoid detection, to fool the guards, too fool each other. To avoid confronting that we are the flaws.
The brief hours of respite, when we look away from that self-centered scorching face scrutinizing our personas to pass condescending judgement, is the only time I feel I actually exist. My nightself is my real self.
I only truly exist at night.
The Delusion Solution
As a writer I thought that I was rather alone diving headfirst into the ever-shifting currents of culture to chart the depths of imagination and explore the visionary landscape of the human psyche.
But now it seems like most of humankind has been dragged off by an escalating series of malgorithmic realityslides and thrust deep into the dark torrents of a psychic deluge – far beyond the actualities of physical reality.
So I have realized that instead of being a writer I will become an avalanche dog. I’ll try to dig tunnels and drag anyone I can find back to reality before they suffocate under the imaginary weight/state of the world.
And maybe offer some brandy to those I have saved.
About me being both an author and a reader: “If there are enough pretty accessories I can ignore the visible seams in the dress.”
Being you, being me
It’s spring and the sun comes back. People are not used to this and get sunburned. They dismiss me as whining by stating that everybody hurts when I try to explain that a long time ago I got trapped in a car that caught on fire.
Struggling my whole life with both mental health and people dismissing this as me being lazy and too sensitive. Now with pandemics and wars this attitude gets even more condescending: “It’s tough for everyone.”
Remember that being you is not the same as being me.
Back to reality
Funny that I, who have spent most of my life writing stories exploring the mind and it’s reach beyond physical reality, seem to pay more attention to what’s actually real than most people do today.
Printed or digital?
Printed books are special. They are not just things. A novel is inextricably bound to the medium (the book) in a way that a movie (the screen) or a record (the loudspeaker) isn’t. This makes my love for a novel extend to the physical artifact.
Partly because of this and partly because it’s much harder for me to focus on digital reading I have avoided e-books. But it’s a brilliant format. Cheap to produce and distribute, easy to transport and store. I want to give it another shot.
The mirror I’ve used for most of my life recently turned out to in fact be a cheap Picasso reprint.
On sword game
Asking a writer to play [any popular word game] is like challenging a whisky connoisseur on who can drink a bottle of 25 year old single malt the fastest.
Old writing, wild magic
I had a different kind of ambition as a writer when I was younger. I know my writing could be difficult and demanding. But that also meant it could be art. I need to get back to that again. The feeling of creating something so dense that it becomes real.
While reading an old novel of mine I realized I had more nerve and disrespect for convention in those days. It felt like I was truly exploring the unknown. Shaping the world with fiction. Dissolving the borders. The kind of writing or work that I today would call magic.
But when my limited circle of readers back then didn’t understand what I was trying to do I got self-conscious. The existential dread was taken down some notches, the experimental prose became more straightforward. I suppose I wanted to fit in, be accepted.
I do like what I have written since then. But now I long to throw away the shackles of the ordinary. I long to return to the wild lands again, long to become a hermit, to rewrite myself, remove the safety limits of my frequency and transmit truly unfiltered again.
I will rise to the State of Transfictionation.
It’s your chemicals
So, I have an ADHD diagnosis. This was my day yesterday:
- Phase 1: adhd-medicine kicks in.
I want to collect my scattered writings so people can read them.
- Phase 2: medicine at full strength.
Wow, who wrote all this, it’s brilliant!
- Phase 3: medicine starts to wear off.
How ambitious and creative I used to be…
- Phase 4: medicine drops really low.
Existential crisis! Who am I? Why do I even write?
- Phase 5: medicine depleted.
I can not take it, I’m too tired, I’ll never write again.
- Phase 6: recovered after medicine.
Okay, I have to update my website right now! I must enhance how to filter and find genres and topics in my writing to enhance readability and enjoyment. I’ll work with this until it’s after 2 am though I have to get up early tomorrow for work.
I was quite amused earlier today when I wrote down this summary of yesterdays wild, and maybe just a bit exaggerated, mood swing.
But then, upon reflection, I had an important insight. The up-like-a-sun-and-down-like-a-pancake of this journey is exactly how my life has always been, though usually extended over days, weeks or months.
Now I could, thanks to my medication, correlate these well known feelings with the exact timing of the ups and downs in my dopamine levels. This made me realize the full extent of how much our feelings are caused by and dependent on our body chemicals – in this case dopamine.
This is a bit simplified, but: High levels of dopamine makes you want to do things, while low levels tells you that something is bad and not worth doing. Having ADHD is to be in a constant battle with the ebb and flow of dopamine. This is what the medication tries to alleviate.
I try to remember this when I’m hit by the occasional feeling that: “I’m a bad writer and I should stop writing.” Understanding that this feeling is not connected to my actual self-esteem makes it somewhat easier to endure. The experience yesterday made it even more clear to me.
It’s all caused by dysregulated dopamine levels being lower than they normally should be. These incorrectly low levels create a false feeling of negativity and rejection in the brain. This is of course very hard to distinguish from a normal response to something actually bad.
Recognizing patterns in ones own changing mood, combined with trying to observe the circumstances of the present situation, might make it a bit easier to discern the difference. Is there is an actual reason for negative feelings or is it just a chemical imbalance?
To anyone with an ADHD diagnosis I would dare to say that dysregulation of dopamine is probably almost always the reason for all your excessive self-doubt, self-loathing, anxiety and depression.
So whenever you feel bad for something you shouldn’t be feeling that bad for, or at least not for that long, it might very well be your chemicals sending the wrong signals.
It’s not you, it’s your chemicals.
I’m not comfortable with labels. I know they’re a convenient shortcut in lieu of a longer explanation. But they tend to be so god damn sticky. Even when you peel off the paper there often remain an unpleasant patch of glue that you’ll never get rid of. Both metaphorically and actually.
My biggest fan
I don’t claim to be a great writer, but I write stories I would like to read myself, explore topics and themes that interest and inspire me, write in a style that suits my sensibilities and I always perceive the adroit subtleties woven into the text. I am my own biggest fan.
Again, I’m not bragging. I always think my writing could be better and I constantly strive to improve. My point here is to acknowledge that I’m happy with my writing. A hard but important act for me and any other writer struggling with anxiety and rejection sensitivity.
Thinking about stories
Instead of writing any of the novels, short-stories or essays I have planned I spend my entire forenoon sipping on coffee and staring unfocused at the screen while just thinking. I think that thinking is my favorite activity. Maybe I should just stop publishing my writing and just sit and think about my stories. Would avoid a lot of hassle.
The contents of my bookshelf is so good that if it somehow came alive as a person I would totally let it fuck me senseless.
The long-awaited summer holiday – but then you mostly lie staring at the ceiling, hoping to fall asleep to avoid the tears of hopelessness. You turn down social gatherings out of weariness, consume unhealthy foods and swell up like a sugar donuts in a deep fryer.
Nothing is quite real, the body hangs loose as you drag yourself off to shop for food, while the self clings to a tunnel opening that leads into fiction’s seemingly comfortable embrace. There you float in relative safety, forgotten by yourself, for a while, then it begins to fade.
Then you long to taste someone happy, so that you can be happy yourself. But you wish in vain. Actually you just lie there sweating on the damp sheets, actually you just lie there all sticky and staring at the ceiling before you finally sink back into half-sleep.
The vipers wrap themselves ever tighter around the heart.