Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Thawing of a Misanthrope

"I'd rather see this on TV. Tones it down." -- I had thought that William S. Burroughs wrote that. He said it during a Laurie Anderson performance. Maybe Laurie wrote it for him.

Whoever the Hell wrote it, I have concurred heartily with the sentiment many times. In fact, when it has come to a lot of things -- everyday things which many people seem to take for granted and find perfectly acceptable, if not downright nice -- I didn't even want to see them on TV, and experiencing them in 3-D for realsies was just not pleasant at all. And it by no means is restricted to things I see. Things I hear give me the heebie-jeebies on a regular basis. Holden Caulfield said something in The Catcher in the Ryeabout how you can sometimes hear someone laughing in the middle of the night in New York City about something that probably isn't funny, and how it can make you feel terribly lonely. I could always relate to that, but lately I'm questioning that attitude -- on my part, and on yours, too, JD, not fer nothin. I hope you're okay. I'd like to emulate you in some things -- for instance, Wiki sez The Catcher in the Rye still sells ca 250,000 copies a year. Sweet -- but in the reclusiveness and hyperirritability and automatically assuming that some stranger you hear laughing is an asshole, maybe not so much. It's getting better -- on my part, that is.

Don't get the impression that I know what's up with JD. I never met the man. This is about me. The fact that I can write about it is a sign that I'm no longer utterly in the grip of a paralysing horror of the world around me in general.

Hells yes I'm trying to change and grow and improve the nature of the interface, to climb the Hell down out of my head and join the human race. You betcha. I've been noticing people much more just lately. I mean in the past couple of weeks. My perceptions have really broadened. I'm used to automatically shutting out all but a very small percentage of the people I see and hear, picking out just a few I find interesting or potentially useful, or with whom I have to interact through no choice of my own, and shutting out the rest. Today I sat in a hallway where crowds of people of all ages, shapes, sizes and life situations streamed past in both directions, and today it wasn't overwhelming or gross, I didn't wish I was experiencing it on TV instead of for real, or not at all. It was just really really interesting -- they were all really, really interesting. And this is new for me. I'm still a long way from what you might call Whitmanesque. I still do recoil a lot, and often, if I can't be with just a select few of you, you general public, I'd rather just be by myself, or with cats. But I'm changing. One thing William S. Burroughs definitely did say, in some interview or other, was that a piece of advice he regularly gave to writers was quite simply for them to keep their eyes open. We tend to walk along with out heads down, lost in thought, and so we miss a lot. I read that interview about 25 years ago, found the advice quite good, and have been struggling to follow it ever since. Lately I've been making a little bit of progress there.

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