State of Today

January 22, 2009

Dear Friends and Lovers—

We’ll I’m sitting in my room on a wet San Francisco night finishing a bottle of wine and I figure now’s a good a time as any to finally send an update to those of you who thought I’d gone dead or missing. I’m not and I haven’t.

The first order of business is that in March I’m going to spend my twenty-fifth birthday in Brazil. I’ll be going with coworkers on a volunteering assignment at an orphanage. I look forward to it highly and believe that it’ll be the start of a year that will really test me.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of this year, the myth or truth of parallelism has manifested itself in dozens of ways. I mean the act of thinking upon a thing or a person or a place and then having it referred or referenced or appear suddenly an hour or day or week later. These moments go beyond coincidence, the vilest word ever invented (nothing is happenstance). There are sure signs that the chaos of the universe has an order–it’s only an order we can’t comprehend. I remember in the early days of moving to this city I would find myself walking down the street thinking about a couch, only a couch, where would I find a couch for my new apartment? And voila! : on the street corner would be a passable bulk for our weary bones. Or after walking around starved, literally, for a greater portion of the day (because I couldn’t afford three meals a day, much less two) and finding a ten dollar bill, or a free hot meal from some fine art gallery, and being saved. Or a million other insignificant little details that made life worth living, gave meaning to it, let me wake each day with a fresh breath and pass unconscious with pleasure.

These are the sorts of things that are happening again, since 2009 began, and I truly hope your own lives are taking bigger and better shapes. More and more connections are happening by the day. I wish I could name them all, but the explanation would take longer than their truth.

Excuse me: I have an eye infection: I have to take some medicine every four hours for it. redirect_from:

Last night María and I had the pleasure of hearing Wim Winders speak about himself and his new film, Palermo Shooting. Ever single thing the man said about photography and its place in the digital realm, every single point the movie made about how we try to fake and brush up and correct our lives–existence on a massive scale–was absolutely dead right. This is the sort of film that, stylistically, ought to be mandatory. Nevermind that the plot was ignorantly simple and that probably every critic who sees it will be blown away by its heart-rendering message of redemption and correction.

Wenders told an anecdote of the photographs he used to take as a young child, how he still carried around the negatives because he enjoyed “the verification of mistakes.” How now any effort made at capturing a moment is re-rendered a thousand times, how each moment is erased in favor of a “better” one. Wenders was one of the first to use digital technology for his films–and his critiques point out that he did so. “As if they caught me,” he dryly pointed out. He maintained that he used digital effects for a specific purpose–“We are always trying to shoot the unreal.” Look at Méliès’ film for proof–but that in his real art he kept to analog.

See here this article on the recent capturing of the Obama ceremonies. Seriously, this is something we as a generation need to honestly consider. What is more meaningful here: the couple that an audience member so desperately wants to be a part of, or the proof that an audience member could see the couple? Breton, that fine man, begins: “So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life–real life, I mean–that in the end this belief is lost.” In the scene described, we see real life ignored in favor of the semblance of life, the pretense of participation acted out for a further detached group of friends. It is sickening.

Last, a confession: I have never really been fond of poetry, because most of it has gone over my head. The poets I did admire usually wrote essays, too, or conversely were so brief that I admired their wit. I have finally found a poet whom I can be proud of loving:

when serpents bargain for the right to squirm and the sun strikes to gain a living wage- when thorns regard their roses with alarm and rainbows are insured against old age when every thrush may sing no new moon in if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice -and any wave signs on the dotted line or else an ocean is compelled to close when the oak begs permission of the birch to make an acorn-valleys accuse their mountains of having altitude-and march denounces april as a saboteur then we'll believe in that incredible unanimal mankind(and not until)
one's not half two. It's two are halves of one: which halves reintegrating,shall occur no death and any quantity;but than all numerable mosts the actual more minds ignorant of stern miraculous this every truth-beware of heartless them (given the scalpel,they dissect a kiss; or,sold the reason,they undream a dream) one is the song which fiends and angels sing: all murdering lies by mortals told make two. Let liars wilt,repaying life they're loaned; we(by a gift called dying born)must grow deep in dark least ourselves remembering love only rides his year. All lose,whole find

I highly recommend you read his “Six Nonlectures,” which is what I am doing and where I was introduced to these pieces. A man who can write: “An artist, a man, a failure, MUST PROCEED” is worth an eternity of praise. Our private educations were squandered, my friends.

I leave it to you to find who this poet is.

With love greater than most— Garen