31 Jan 2011

February 1, 2011

I’m sitting here in my living room trying to work on school but not wanting to work on school so typing into this text edit document instead. I’m thinking about how stupid school can be, about how it teaches you to pretend to be an expert when you’re really not an expert at all. I’m supposed to talk about Jane Austen. I’m supposed to write an argument that says “most people think X about Jane Austen, but I think Y.” But the problem is that I have no idea what most people think about Jane Austen because I’ve only read one of her books, and the teacher knows that because we raised our hands on the first day of class. It teaches you to lie. People become characters. They walk into a room, evaluate the cast already at hand, and then slip into a role that hasn’t yet been taken. And once they slip into a role, it’s extremely hard to slip out of it. This stuff in egypt is crazy. I’m a little jealous. Sometimes I wish that American youth could be so wild ass, could actually get riled up about something. Mostly I don’t know what’s happening, though. I had a dream last night that I was arguing with Nietzche; I woke up exhausted. I get headaches almost every weekend. It might snow tomorrow. At this point this is pure procrastination. I don’t listen to nearly as much music as I used to. Now I get stuck on albums and listen to them over and over until I know the exact way the piano strings are going to vibrate. I can be easily threatened. I don’t consider myself an especially happy person, although I think I could if I really wanted to. Which is the thing I guess: I don’t necessarily want to be happy. I’m not sure being happy would make me happy. I’ve long thought that there are certain people in the world who are just made to be happy and they make the world a better place by being happy all the time, and there are certain people in the world who are made to the struggle, and they make the world better by struggling. I think I am a struggler. Like a character from one of my favorite books, I might never be able to be both happy and honest at the same time. I think there is an innate value to reading books; I think they make you a better person. People are scared of ideas with good reason. I try not to take things so seriously. I try to stop in the middle of things, take a breath and remember that hardly anything is all that important. When I was seven my mom made me do the dishes and I remember telling myself that someday it would be over, someday I would be done doing those dishes, so, in a way, it was like I didn’t even have to do them. I remember a sunday school teacher asking me what day I’d gotten saved. I was eight; I said I didn’t remember. He said if I didn’t remember then it didn’t happen. I watched an hour and a half of Apocalypse Now the other night and couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before. I haven’t had a chance to start it again. People like to lend each other books but hardly anyone likes to borrow books. It’s sort of this commitment to borrow a book. Like a school assignment. And you always feel required to love it. I wish I didn’t feel so much obligation. Nietzche talks about a metaphorical dragon called “thou shalt”; his character defeats the dragon. Church is work. I’ve always wanted to draw. I used to carry around sketch books with me all the time and try to sketch things but they’d turn out terrible so I’d tear the page out and try again and tear the page out and by the time I was done with the sketch book it would be empty. Don miller said something other day about life not being about what you produce but about the work you put in, but I really don’t think that’s true. I think that’s just a psychological trick to get people to produce good stuff. Some people try for years at things they have no real ability at. That’s the fear. That’s always been the fear. I’m really not sure what I’m going to say about this Jane Austen book. I’ve already thought about quitting school, so I’ve gotten that out of the way; now I just need to do the work. And I keep checking the school closings to see if I have to go in to work tomorrow.

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